Monday, August 29, 2022

Harley Quinn 2022 Annual #1 Review



Written by: Stephanie Phillips
Art by: Simone Buonfantino, Georges Duarte
Colors by: Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Letters by: AndWorld Design
Cover price: $5.99
Release date: August 30, 2022

Harley Quinn 2022 Annual #1 concludes the Task Force XX arc with a last-ditch effort to stop the Element-X alien monster looking for fresh victims at Blackgate Prison. Meanwhile, this annual contains a backup story that kicks off Harley's next arc in Las Vegas.

Is It Good?

It's mediocre. Admittedly, the Task Force XX arc is one of the better arcs in Phillips' run, but it doesn't do much for Harley as a character or the world around her.

When last we left Task force XX, Harley and the gang were left to fight the mind-controlled soldiers sent to arrest Luke Fox with special weapons Luke developed. The fighting works up to a point, but the waves of fighters won't stop until Task Force XX can get to the alien and have Killer Frost absorb its life force. Luke figures out the nearest population of fresh bodies are in Blackgate Prison, so off they go.

The fights are predictable, the dialog is not good but as good as it's going to get, and the resolution is wholly predictable. In short, the arc ends exactly how you think it will end, with nary a surprise, twist, or drop of dramatic tension in sight.

The main criticism of this issue is the same for the entire arc, which is the same for the entire series - Harley barely does anything valuable. She appears to only be present to annoy the people around her, and the plot armor that protects her from all danger and injury is tougher than two-foot thick Adamantium. In short, the worst part of this book is Harley. Harley learns nothing; she doesn't grow or evolve, her contribution to the conflict rises to the level of a side character, and there are no consequences for anyone's actions, including Luke Fox.

The art by Buonfantino and Duarte is good. The alien monster designs are interesting, and the action is energetic. Is nothing else; the new artists are a step up from Rossmo's turn on the main story.

I don't usually cover backup stories, but the backup here (besides filling page space to justify the size of the annual and cover price) serves as a prelude to the main arc. So, Harley and Kevin decide to get away for a little R&R in Las Vegas using the money Harley "earned" from her task force XX mission. Returning from a shopping trip, Harley receives a visit from a gun-happy FBI agent looking for a particular item Harley (doesn't know she) has in her possession.

The art by Baldeon is fine. The plot armor gets six inches thicker as Harley dodges bullets from three feet away, and the special item turns out to be the start of yet another alien story. Will moving Harley and Kevin's tomfoolery to Vegas reinvigorate the series? Place your bets.

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

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Bits and Pieces:

Harley Quinn 2022 Annual #1 is a serviceable-yet-bland end to the Task Force XX arc. The action art is generally good, and the ending feels complete. However, the stakes barely register above 'mild,' everything in the finale is predictable, there are no consequences for anyone's action, and Harley's ability to shake off harm from point-blank attacks has moved well beyond ridiculous.


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