Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Harley Quinn #18 Review

  

To the Moon, Harley!

Written by: Stephanie Phillips
Art by: Georges Duarte
Colors by: Romulo Fajardo, Jr.
Letters by: AndWorld Design
Cover art by: Jonboy Meyers
Cover price: $3.99
Release date: August 2, 2022

Harley Quinn #18 shoots Harley to the moon with Task Force X on a mission to stop a mutating sample of Element-X from Apokalips from going ballistic. Make sure to bring some snacks because there are no rest stops in SSSPPPAAACCCEEE!

Is It Good?

Credit is due to Phillips. Harley Quinn #18 is a complete change-up in the art, setting, story, and (almost) all supporting characters. Yet, the writing remains remarkably consistent with the previous seventeen issues.




When last we left Harley, she defeated Verdict in a silly fight at Gotham City Hall, culminating in an apology from Mayor Nakano over Harley's false arrest. Even though Harley is a murderer several times over, the law enforcement officials of Gotham seem content to shake hands and walk away.

Now, Harley is on the run from several members of Task Force X to conscript Harley into their latest mission. Harley narrates the story as if a bomb is already implanted in her head with no explanation for how, when, or where that happened. Harley is in the middle of a chase from other, much more powerful Task Force X members with no setup, explanation, or sense as to how she is easily able to avoid the likes of Killer Frost. And Harley is brought into the team for an Earth-threatening mission with no explanation as to what she brings to the team that makes Luke Fox thinks she's suited for this mission.

The biggest failing with this issue is the same consistent failing that's plagued this entire series. There is no setup and no explanations. Harley is simply dropped into situations that make no sense for her skills, talents, personality, or history.




What is the mission? Task Force X is sent to the moon, where a sample of Element-X is somehow mutating due to the effects of the Dark Multiverse infringing on our universe. Luke Fox's goal is to fly Task Force X to the moon and destroy Element-X before it does something. It's a (very) loose justification based on the Dark Crisis event, but the lack of explanation makes the inciting incident so random that the Dark Crisis tie is practically irrelevant.

What does Element-X do when it "mutates"? Unknown. Why is Element-X in a JL weapons storage facility on the moon? Unknown. Why does Luke Force (current handler for Task Force X?) believe Harley has any experience with space travel, dealing with unstable elements, or can do anything more than crack terrible jokes and swing a bat? Unknown. Again and despite the big changes to the series, the writing is remarkably consistent.

Regarding the art, Rossmo is officially off the book starting with this issue in favor of Duarte taking over art duties. Duarte's style is an improvement and elevates the series with solid linework, decent action, and serviceable facial acting. There are moments in the issue's one action scene where the choreography doesn't make sense, but it's unclear if that's a shortcoming of the art or the writing.


About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of ComicalOpinions.com, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.


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Bits and Pieces:

Harley Quinn #18 jettisons (almost) everything from the previous seventeen issues in favor of an ill-explained and odd mission to send Harley to the moon to destroy an unstable, alien element. Changing the art over from Rossmo to Duarte is a step in the right direction, but the kookiness, lack of setup, and explanation to go with the nonsensical plot are too much for any artist to overcome.

5.5/10

 

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