By Cat Wyatt
Harley Quinn #31 picks up where the last issue left us off, continuing the Vote Harley plot started in issue #28. Everything kicks off with a reminder that Mason has been kidnapped (again) and that Harley must quit her race for Mayor in order to ensure his safety. Now I’ll be the first to admit that Harley probably wouldn’t make the best mayor (bright side: the animal shelters funding would absolutely be increased), but she probably couldn’t do any worse than Mayor DePerpo.
There are the usual number of character cameos for Harley’s comics; Harley Sin, Madame Macabre, Red Tool, Tony, and Ivy, plus the implied presence of the Gang of Harleys. They’re all working on different angles to try and find Mason, because as Madame Macabre pointed out; there’s no reason for the Mayor to allow him to live after everything is said and done (remember: Mason accidentally killed the mayor’s son during a bar fight, so we already know the Mayor has a vendetta against him).
I’m anticipating another arc full of character growth for Harley Quinn in the near future. Even in the beginning of the issues, we’re seeing her willing to let rationality overrule her emotions. While she had every reason to want to beat the stuffing out of the police arresting her (after she went after the Mayor), she chose not to take out her anger on them. Not only did she think they didn’t deserve it, but frankly she knew that would guarantee her loss in the election. I love it when rational Harley wins out.
Another indication of Harley’s character leaning towards a more serious direction; the advice she gives Harley Sin during their car ride together is actually pretty sound. Harvey even leans on her psychological background to reference the Karpman Drama Triangle, stating that their relationship is currently fear-based, where it needs to be shifting using positive boundaries. She also emphasizes her importance of therapy, while insisting she’s not the right counselor in this case. This is the reason why I love Harley so much, she may seem silly most of the time, but she’s a good person deep down, plus she has the knowledge to back her up (at times).
I knew this issue wasn’t going to end in the typical Harley Quinn everything falls together ending the moment Harley started talking about her own mental state. For those that are curious: she lives in a state of Hyperarousal (considering the Harley tends to be heavily sexualized, this term and the jokes that go with it are oddly appropriate), i.e., she’s constantly in a state of increased psychological and physiological tension, meaning she’s constantly anxious and upset, and that tends to make her act crazy or lash out.
Even anticipating something awful happening at the end of issue #32, I can safely say I was not prepared for what actually happened. For some reason I always expect series like Harley Quinn to pull the punch, even when evidence shows that they will not. Despite the tragedy that occurs, I sincerely cannot wait to see what happens next (specifically how Harley handles it).
I love the direction Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti are taking with Harley Quinn. While some authors are content with Haley’s plot running on the sillier side, these two find the balance between the insanity and intensity of it all. They write in a way that allows Harley to overreact (as expect of Harley) but still be within the realm of reasonable. It’s the perfect balance, as Harley can easily be tipped in either direction.
John Timms did the artwork for this issue, and it was spot on. The color palette is bright and cheerful, which fits with the general theme of Harley, while still allowing room for details (such as expressions on the characters faces). Timms masterfully danced around the more graphic scenes, without cutting any impact from what actually occurred (we don’t necessarily need to see them to appreciate them). The best part (in my opinion) is how Timms chose to show us Harley’s psychological state in her makeup; the worse things get, the worse her makeup looks. It’s subtle but brilliant done. I’m still not loving the fact that Harley now looks like the Harley shown in the movies, but I can’t blame Timms for that either (likely he’s following a request).
Harley Quinn #31
Writers: Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti
Artist: John Timms, Hi-Fi
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Publisher: DC Comics