Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Harley Quinn #4 Review


What's The Cure For Bat-Envy?

Written By: Stephanie Phillips
Art By: Riley Rossmo, Ivan Plascencia and Andworld Design
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: June 22, 2021

In Harley Quinn #4, Harley receives some introspective guidance from Solomon Grundy. When Harley concludes she just needs to be herself, she suits up with a cape and utility belt to save Kevin from the clutches of Hugo Strange. Can Harley find herself and Kevin at the same time?
Was It Good?

Issue #4 was less ridiculous than issue #3. Whether you consider that a net positive or not is up to you.

Riley Rossmo's art continues to be rubbery silliness, and again, whether you like it or not is up to you. It's reminiscent of a child's cartoon... with more cursing.

Well, what about the story? The story is not anything particularly special because it doesn't move the plot forward in any significant way, but it is consistent in that Harley seemingly has the power to do the impossible. She can scale (or fall) from buildings with a grappling gun. She can beat down an elevator full of orderlies twice her size. And she can infiltrate S.A.F.E headquarters, taking out every guard and orderly along the way, without a scratch.

This Harley Quinn is a ditzy, manic pixie that represents everything that embodies the classical definition of a "Mary Sue" where the only obstacle to getting what she wants is her own feelings.

What's It About?


Picking up almost immediately after the events of issue #3, Harley is hiding out in Gotham's sewers with the verbally limited Solomon Grundy. They're playing chess with discarded bits of trash for game pieces while they talk. Or more precisely, Harley talks, and Grundy occasionally grunts a word or two -- including a bizarre correction to Harley's grammar.

Using Grundy as a sounding board, Harley concludes her greatest strength she can draw on to rescue Kevin and the other clowns from Hugo Strange is to do things the "Harley way." Of course, Harley immediately proceeds to dress up like Batman, complete with a makeshift utility belt and cape.

Harley casts a bat-shadow to frighten away loading bay workers at the back of S.A.F.E. HQ. She manages to move in and out of high-tech, secure labs and hallways without lockpicking devices, and she's able to take out five orderlies twice her size wielding cattle prods inside an enclosed elevator with nothing more than a baseball bat. 

We conclude the issue with Harley emerging from the elevator in front of the waiting Hugo Strange and his goons.

Again, nothing much is learned about Strange's experiments. Harley can seemingly do anything beyond reason. And I have no idea where this series is going.

Bits and Pieces:

Harley Quinn #4 takes a few baby steps in progressing the plot, but the story does little more than trying to validate Harley by coaxing her to accept she is her own person. The art is not going to be everyone's cup of tea, and the central plot has effectively stalled.


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