Writing for the character Harley Quinn must be one bitch of an assignment. One can’t go too dark and brooding because this is, after all, a comic book. Go too light-hearted and you may irritate some of the fandom that look for a little more daring. And the split continues in the media because Paul Dini and Bruce Timm created Harley Quinn so perfectly in the Batman: The Animated Series run that readers want that comical tone. However, the Harley Quinn Margot Robbie projects so alluringly in the Suicide Squad trailers contains a well crafted blend of maniacal and seductive. Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti spilt it right down the center. Their version of the Joker’s paramour has the screwball (such as the deadly roller skating contest and a cybernetic beaver) and the adult (innuendos and other suggestive elements that may fly over children’s heads while causing adult readers to twit and giggle). Yes, the dynamic duo of writers has made Harley Quinn their own, and they have done so in grand fashion.
The artwork is as outstanding as one would expect from John Timms. My main issue with this issue is the parody of Deadpool, “Red Tool.” While the character has some clever moments and some interesting details such as speech bubbles in the shape of tool, the whole idea to satirize an opposing company’s character, when said character just made big bank on his film adaptation, comes off flat. Had this foil been an original creation and not just an inversion of the ‘Merc with a Mouth, then I would have regaled this comic with a much greater score.
Having a now B-level product (I predict Harley will continue to skyrocket in popularity after Suicide Squad) lock heads with a powerhouse franchise comes off like a kindergartener calling out the eighth-grade bully on the playground. Palmiotti and Conner have the opportunity to make something grand, irreverent, and original with the world of Harley Quinn. The comedic fun of a roller-skating competition is so attuned to the potential that lies in a character like this.
Let’s hope the parody ends quickly so Conner and Palmiotti can get back to making Harley Quinn the sadistic little temptress we all want her to be—minus the sour grapes attempt at jabbing the competition.
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Harley Quinn #27 - “Tool Boxed In” Writer: Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti Artist: John Timms Colorist: Alex Sinclair Publisher: DC Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 4/27/16 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital