Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Harley Quinn #21 Review



Written by: Stephanie Phillips
Art by: Simone Buonfantino
Colors by: Romulo Fajardo Jr
Letters by: AndWorld Design
Cover art by: JonBoy Meyers (cover A)
Cover price $3.99
Release date: August 23, 2022

Harley Quinn #21 brings Harley and the rest of Task Force X back to Earth to hunt down the alien symbiote who believes Luke Fox is its father. Will this Earth-threatening threat force Batwing out of retirement? Well...

Is It Good?

If you're a big-time Batwing fan, Harley Quinn #21 will bring Luke Fox back into the costumed heroics field, but not how may you think. Align your expectations accordingly.

This issue is, honestly, not that bad as long as you approach it as a Luke Fox/Task Force X story where Harley is an incidental character. When last we left the team, the Element-X symbiote teleported to Earth and infected the military guards sent to arrest Luke Fox. The alien wants to connect with its "father," possibly with the intent of taking over the world.

The alien comes across as a true threat. Luke Fox demonstrates surprising emotional conflict over taking responsibility for creating the symbiote and endangering the team while not having the answers about how to do it. And Luke Fox undergoes a status quo change related to his Batwing persona that feels authentic to the struggle he faces.

The odd drawback in this issue is the same drawback as the previous issues in this space adventure. Harley Quinn is almost irrelevant in her own comic. Phillips gives her something to do here by accidentally figuring out how to work the teleporter and by giving Luke Fox a pep talk at a key moment, but in all, Phillips ironically gets the Harley Quinn title moving in a positive direction by pushing Harley to the background.

The art by Buonfantino is solid. By casting off Rossmo's funhouse style in favor of Buonfantino's more traditional comic style, the characters can express themselves more effectively in the serious moments, the action is more engaging, and the overall visual quality is simply better.


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 #21 turns the title in the right direction with a story that forces Luke Fox to confront the mistakes of the past and take up a direction for the future as an alien threat looms large. Ironically, this issue works best if you accept Harley is a side character in a serviceable Task Force X story starring Luke Fox, and maybe that's for the best.



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