By Cat Wyatt
This issue brings us to the conclusion of the Vote Harley plot, and obviously based on how things ended in issue 31, we know we’re in for a bit of a rough ride (emotionally speaking). It probably goes without saying that Harley doesn’t react well to Mason’s death, add on the fact that DePerto committed the act and tricked her into watching it on TV? Yeah, not so much.
After an expected (but wholly deserved) dialogue of threats from Harley, DePerto exits the screen (literally) with the orders that the two guards must kill Harley Quinn and Sinn (and do all the necessary cleanup as well). I feel like the whole series of events that followed was just outing all the creeps in the room. One goon wants to make it slow (I think he enjoyed the idea a bit too much), the other fast, and naturally Madison wanted to watch the whole thing (ick) but is temporarily overruled by DePerto (who may be evil, but at least he agrees that something is messed up with Madison).
Harley makes one final request of the ‘nice’ goon (AKA the jerk that wants to kill them quickly); that he spares her face (for the sake of her parents) and shoot her in the neck instead. Now I’m sure most Harley fans can tell that she’s up to something here, but our little goon here doesn’t know that, so be obliges (I guess it’s a good thing? It’s a bit difficult to see it that way).
All I can say is it’s a good thing these goons are easily distracted; otherwise, we wouldn’t be getting such iconic images such as the one that follows this whole setup. While ‘nice’ good and ‘torture’ goon (as I so affectionately dubbed them, having not noticed or remembered their actual names) are arguing about what to do with Harley Sinn (I’m sure you can guess who was in favor of what), Harley dramatically rises up behind them, picks up a gun, and does a wonderful job eliminating any concerns about Mr. Torture. I sincerely don’t think words can describe how badass this scene was (even if I confess I thought the whole ‘Harley getting back up after being shot in the neck’ bit was a little much).
For those in the audience wondering how Harley survived (such as Sinn), apparently, Harley had the guy aim for the bomb planted in her neck a la Waller’s orders, which apparently caused the bullet to bounce out before it caused any real damage? I’m less than impressed by this excuse, but it’s also not the worst comic sin I’ve seen, so I’ll let it pass. Now’s probably a good time to mention that Madison did, in fact, turn the TV back on (as if I didn’t dislike her enough already); I’m sure you can safely assume what she saw, and how she would react to it.
I suppose I should have named the ‘nice’ goon ‘squealer’ or something along those lines, as it takes no time at all to get all pertinent intel from him (I suppose it was wise, given the situation and who he’d managed to tick off). That being said, I don’t envy the guy. Being left alone with an angry Harley Sinn? I’m going to take a hard pass on that one.
I love the way we see Harley handle the emotional impact of everything that has happened. She’s clearly devastated but is trying to push her feelings to the side long enough to take control (and revenge) of the situation. All that aside, I’ll admit I was feeling a little wrecked when Harley called Madame Macabre to tell her the awful news. Can you even imagine having to be the one to hand off that sort of information?
In case you’re wondering, yes, Harley’s payback is absolutely glorious. I finally got to see an antagonist I despise (feel free to guess which one) bite the dust, and the other was handed over to the person who had the right, more than anyone else, to have a say in their fate. For a minute I thought they were going to be pulling a Godfather stunt, which was a pretty satisfying thought (until I remembered the whole DePerto owns the local police bit).
I have to say that the cover for this issue is probably one of my favorites; the darker tones and themes blend together to show us the full (and presumably permanent) impacts from what has and will be occurring. Just looking at the cover reminded me of all my hopes for future character development for Harley, courtesy of this plot. I’m still hoping that happens, of course.
Along with a wonderful cover are a few stunning and memorable images inside the issue. One I’ve described in detail above, but there are a handful of others (such as the second page, where Harley has her makeup running and her nose red from crying). The artists do a fantastic job with close-ups, but unfortunately, this art style loses definition in the faces as they get pushed away from the foreground.
Harley Quinn #32