Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Harley Quinn #29 Review

Written by: Tini Howard
Art by: Sweeney Boo
Colors by: Sweeney Boo
Letters by: Steve Wands
Cover art by: Sweeney Boo
Cover price: $4.99
Release date: April 25, 2023

Harley Quinn #29 finds Harleen seeking out the help of a friendly magic wielder for a spell that will stop Harley from accidentally damaging the veil between universes. Also, Batman eats a donut.
Is It Good?

It's too early to ask if it's too late to get Stephanie Phillips, but so far, Harley Quinn, under Tini Howard's stewardship, is turning out to be a lateral move at best. Harley Quinn #29 is a tough, tough read.

When last we left Harley Quinn, she was paid a stern visit from Lady Quark because Harley somehow has the ability to create cracks in the membrane between universes. Left unchecked, the multiverse could unravel, and Lady Quark promised to come back to wipe out the entire Earth-0 universe to prevent that unraveling from happening if Harley didn't get her power under control.

Now, Harley pays Zatanna a visit for magical assistance to stop whatever damage her completely unexplained power is doing. Zatanna agrees with the caveat that Harley's protection spell could only be completed with a personal sacrifice. Feeling icky about the prospect of sacrificing someone she cares about (even though she shoots one of Two-Face's henchmen in the back four pages later), Harley summons Batman with the bribe of a coffee and donut for some advice, leading to an unorthodox sacrifice and talking hyenas.

Oy! Everything about the writing in this story is, to be blunt, annoying. Harley's "power" isn't explained or makes sense. Tini Howard writes Zatanna and Batman just inconsistently enough out of character to feel off. And Harley's "sacrifice" (which almost makes sense) results in a bizarre outcome that's downright confusing.

It's as if Tini Howard came up with the most random succession of ideas possible and loosely stitched them together with a "bimbo fetish" vibe that comes off eerily familiar to Marvel's X-slack group. In other words, Tini Howard is writing Harley like one of Marvel's recently reviled X-titles (X-Terminators comes to mind), and it's turning out as badly at DC as it did in Marvel.

Sweeney Boo's art is offensively gaudy, but that's not necessarily a bad point, as the art appears to be presented to match the story. Therefore, bonus points go to Boo for successfully delivering art that matches the script.

All that aside, the major down point of this issue has nothing to do with Tini Howard's script. You'll notice the cover price is $4.99. That's because this issue includes a backup story written by Adam Warren - a backup story that isn't a story, has no point, and is horribly written nonsense from start to finish. In short, we have another issue with an inflated price, justified by page-filling junk.

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 #29 is a mess. Characters (Zatanna, Batman) written out of character, plot developments that come out of nowhere and make no sense, an increasing "bimbo glorification" vibe that feels like a bad transplant from Marvel, and a higher cover price justified with a backup story that's pure nonsense.


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