Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Harley Quinn #5 Review


Oh, I Get It Now. This Is The 'Toddlers & Tiaras' Version Of Gotham.

Written By: Stephanie Phillips
Art By: Riley Rossmo
Colors By: Ivan Plascencia
Letters By: Andworld Design
Cover Art By: Riley Rossmo
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: July 27, 2021

Harley and Hugo Strange ponder Strange's potentially latent homoerotic power fantasy about Batman while she enacts her grand plan to escape S.A.F.E. headquarters with all the captured clowns in tow. Meanwhile, the puppetmaster responsible for maneuvering Strange into his position reveals himself.

Was It Good?

"Good" encompasses a number of factors. 

There's the technical execution. Is the art visually appealing? Did the art enhance the story? Did the dialog feel natural and organic? Was the pacing consistent and upbeat? etc. etc. etc.

But there's a little something else - entertainment value. Did I have fun reading this comic? Was the story enjoyable, fun, and memorable? Did it make me feel something?

On the technical side of things, Riley Rossmo's art is a very mixed bag. You either love it or you hate it. There's no in-between. Personally, I don't like the distorted, cartoonish, funhouse mirror style that Rossmo uses in EVERY book he draws, but there's an argument to be made that funhouse mirror art is possibly the best fit for a story about clowns.

And then there's the story and writing...

As the co-hosts of the Weird Science DC Podcast would say, I've cracked the code!

None of the characters in this story are adults. They're children not much older than toddlers dressed up and play-acting as adults. As the Subheading above implies, it's like reading through a comic book version of Toddlers & Tiaras. All the characters are really obnoxious stage kids dressed up like DC characters endlessly flipping, skipping, singing, and running around, begging for your attention.

Nothing makes sense. Nothing has any weight, nuance, or depth. Harley is a child dressed up in a Party City Harley Quinn costume screaming "I'm the smartest. I'm the best. Look at me! Aren't I silly?!? Aren't I fun?!? LOOK AT MEEEE!!!!" It's all silly nonsense that requires the reader to voluntarily donate your attention, as you would to an obnoxious stage child that won't stop calling your name and stomping her feet until you look in her direction and start clapping, rather than getting anything from it.

To be fair, you might like Toddlers & Tiaras, and that's perfectly okay. For everyone else, it may be wiser to simply switch to a different channel.

Bits and Pieces

Harley Quinn #5 is the comic book equivalent of a spoiled child begging for attention. All silliness. Constant noise. No substance.


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