Thursday, June 29, 2023

Harley Quinn #31 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: June 27, 2023

Harley Quinn #31 finds a supportive friend in Captain Carrot as they commiserate over the ups and downs of trying not to screw up.
Is It Good?

Okay, let's give this a go. Harley Quinn #31 isn't the worst comic in the world, but it's a dumb comic. There are seeds of good ideas buried under the bad jokes and weirdly conflicting art, but you're expected to put in way too much effort to find those seeds underneath the muck and mire. If you're willing to put in the work, there may be a few worthwhile nuggets waiting for you.

When last we left the Clown Princess of Crime (yes, she's still a villain), she escaped Backside's forces on Earth-26 to come face-to-face to a beaten and downtrodden Captain Carrot who blames Harley for stealing the magic carp that would have allowed Capt. Carrot to defeat Backside before laying waste to Earth-26.

Now, Harley convinces Captain Carrot that the weapon theft was an accident, and the two become supportive friends. With Carrot's help, Harley returns home to find Ivy waiting, and the two catch up. When Harley resumes her teaching duties, class is disrupted by a vengeful Two-Face forcing Harley to eat a power carrot the Captain gave her as a parting gift. Unfortunately, accepting and using the carrot invoked Lady Quark's wrath.

But before Lady Quark could make good on her threat to wipe out Earth, the whole conflict takes a timeout to deal with the Knight Terrors event.

It's a weird mix of a lot of things going wrong, peppered with a few things that go right.

Starting with the positives, Harley's weirdly cathartic chat with Captain Carrot has some merit. No one is perfect (except yours truly *ahem*), so characters have an opportunity to undergo growth when they exhibit enough self-awareness to invite change, and Harley is badly in need of growth and change. Harley's reunion with Ivy is sweet. And Tini Howard spares a few moments to explain some of the more nonsensical moments in the series rather than letting the nonsense to persist.

Oddly enough, the negatives have just as much to do with the art as the writing.

In terms of writing, the story still lacks setup (how can Harley break the Multiverse?), a clear sense of beginning/middle/ending, and the jokes are painfully bad. The pacing and flow wobble like a broken top, and the transition into Knight Terrors is eye-rolling. In short, the structure of the comic is a broken mess.

In terms of art, Sweeney Boo makes bizarre creative choices that don't match the story. For example, Harley is transported to a "cartoon" Earth where characters, physics, and surroundings look and feel like a cartoon, but Harley is already drawn like a cartoon with exaggerated facial expressions and oversized feet. It would make sense to have a non-cartoon character represented in stark contrast to her surroundings to make the point, but Harley blends in, so you can't really tell what's cartoon and not cartoon.

After Harley resumes teaching, her class is attacked by Two-Face, and the choreography of the fight doesn't make a lick of sense. Boo places characters at random points in the panels, then switches them to different locations in the very next panel without rhyme or reason. The Harley/Two-Face fight is possibly the worst choreographed fight I've ever seen in a DC comic.

Third, when did Ivy turn into an Amazon the size of Big Barda? She practically towers over Harley and outweighs her like a power-lifter after six months of juicing.

In short, bad overall character design and bad choreography.

To be kind, Boo's lines are solid and the coloring looks good for what's intended, but Boo's asleep at the wheel on everything else.

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 #31 is a mess in both the writing and the art. The personal character interactions have seeds of sweetness, but the structure is awful. Likewise, the art looks "pretty," but the design choices and fight choreography are amateurish.


1 comment:

  1. I'm sick to death of Harley and Ivy. Since when did Ivy give a fig about Harley's hyenas?
    I find it hilarious and sad that DC portrays their relationship as perfect domestic bliss instead of the reality that lesbian relationships have the highest rate of domestic abuse.
    It would be an interesting plot thread that Harley meerly subsituted one abusive relationship for another. But DC will never go there because all rainbow relationships must be portrayed as all good and pure.