Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Harley Quinn #11 Review

Choo-Choo Goes The Cuckoo Train!

Written by: Stephanie Phillips
Art by: Riley Rossmo
Colors by: Ivan Plascencia
Letters by: Deron Bennett
Cover price: $3.99
Release date: January 25, 2022

Harley Quinn #11 gives Harley an impossible choice - save Gotham from a bomb-strapped train or save Kevin from getting turned into roadkill. In between lectures about the percentage of women in STEM fields and the basics of Kantian ethics, Keepsake may finally get his revenge.

Was It Good?

I don't know what Stephanie Phillips is trying to do in Harley Quinn #11. Picking up shortly after the events in issue #10, Harley is still single and Kevin was kidnapped by a faceless stranger after finally coming out of his shell.

Now, we figure out the faceless kidnapper was actually Keepsake who miraculously and almost instantly bounced back from getting gunned down by the river to exact his revenge on the person who did NOT gun him down. How did Keepsake recover so quickly? Nobody knows, and I suspect nobody cares. Why is he going whole hog with a Rube Goldberg-esque revenge plot against Harley when Harley isn't the one who tried to kill him? Nobody knows, and I once again suspect nobody cares.

For reasons that remain a mystery, Keepsake concocts a convoluted concoction of contraptions and clever contrivances to force Harley to choose between Kevin's life and the lives of everyone that may or may not get killed by a bomb. Why does Keepsake create this Kobayashi-Maru scenario for Harley and why does he somehow think this is a form of revenge? Nobody knows, and .... You know what? Never mind. You can guess the rest.

Basic setup and plot aside, Harley picks inopportune moments to opine about the percentages of women in STEM fields, expound on some of the basic philosophical principles of Immanuel Kant, and recollect about the show Robot Wars. Those speeches have little bearing on the situation at hand, but possibly, Phillips was intending Harley to seem educated and well-read to bolster the reader's appreciation for Harley's intellect. If that was the intent, it didn't work.

Of course, no issue of this series would be complete without Harley taking on an entire station full of robotic, armed guards and defeating them all with ridiculously impossible gymnastics and a baseball bat. At some point, you have to wonder if Phillips and Rossmo are throwing everything plus the kitchen sink in this series to elevate Harley as hero material, but they simply wind up making Harley look like a slapstick cartoon character minus charm, wit, or endearing qualities. Imagine the worst stage child from Toddlers & Tiaras with a spastic personality, and that's what Phillips and Rossmo want you to get behind as DC's next hero.

In the end, Harley chooses who to save, and we end with a cliffhanger outcome. If nothing else, at least the cliffhanger was done well enough to stimulate curiosity for the next issue.

Make sure to listen to our Weekly DC Comics Recap and Review Podcast to hear us talk more about this book.  Just look up "Weird Science DC Comics" anywhere you listen to podcasts, and make sure to rate, review, and subscribe!

Bits and Pieces

Harley Quinn #11 loosely picks up after the events of issue #10 to put Harley in a no-win scenario. The setup is ridiculous, Harley's fighting prowess is ridiculous, the dialog is ridiculous, and the art is ridiculous. Purchase at your own peril.


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