By Cat Wyatt
The Penguin’s diabolical plan continues in Harley Quinn #38, with multiple other villains (of various levels of classification) joining in the fight. Coney Island has become a very chaotic place to live, to say the least. Having to see a certain elderly cyborg in a speedo was certainly not on my list of things I would like to witness, however, I can check it off anyway.
Coney Islands’ first Polar Bear Plunge of the year gets a little bit colder than anticipated (sorry, I had to) when Mr. Freeze shows up to do his thing. I can see how that would ruin those plans! While the Gang of Harleys are more competent than I had originally anticipated at their introduction, there’s no way they’re up for a fight against Mr. Freeze. To say they’re out of their league would be being kind. Based on the fact that none of them were killed or seriously injured I’m inclined to believe that Mr. Freeze decided to go easy on them (though I couldn’t tell you why).
If you thought that fight was an odd one…well, you better get ready for what comes next. Coach (yes, you read that right, Coach who’s not supposed to be combative in any way) and Tony get assaulted by none other than…the Condiment King. I don’t know what hole they pulled him out of (okay, I can hazard a guess or two) or whether or not he’s still got the mind control chip in his head (I would guess yes?) but it really was an odd choice on the Penguin’s part. Unless he really just wants a distraction?
There are plenty of other odd villains running around wreaking havoc as well; Johnny Karaoke, RatCatcher (whom if I recall was one of the more disturbing c lister villains), King Tut, Film Freak, Zebra Man, and Egghead (who unsurprisingly kidnapped Eggy for all of the glorious nature he is). I’m not even going to pretend I remember or recognize all of these guys, with a few obvious exceptions. It’s interesting that the Penguin called in so many different named characters, of all different levels. It’s almost like he doesn’t care what skills or talent they can bring to the table, as long as they can create enough chaos. I wonder what he’s paying them…
Meanwhile Harley is off working on her new business adventure (the..ahem…Harley for Hire business). There’s no doubt she has any idea of what is actually going down on Coney Island, because no matter how much distance she thinks she needs, there’s no way she’d allow Penguin to continue his antics. The current case distracting her? Taking down the Gorilla Gang (again, I don’t know what hole they dragged them out of…). In typical Harley fashion she has managed to run into a dangerous situation with no plan and no backup (that she’s aware of, at least). Sounds about right.
Apparently we’re not done getting introduced to villains invading Coney Island (seriously, how many more Batman villains can this city take?). Killer Moth and Killer Croc (ironic, that is) are also staking out territory. Granted, this whole thing would have gone better for Killer Moth if he hadn’t tried to call dibs on some property over Croc. That just doesn’t sound like the healthiest choice, if you ask me. Especially when one considers that this is Coney Island (I feel like I should be running a counter for how many times I have to say that), and Croc’s origin stories almost always include a bad history with carnies. Need I say more?
While the Gang of Harleys (plus Tony) could probably have handled some of the villains invading, they certainly couldn’t have handled others (Croc would absolutely eat them), and they don’t even remotely stand a chance of all of them combined. I’m hoping Harley gets informed sooner rather than later, and I swear I’m not just saying that so we can move onto the next plot.
This wasn’t a bad issue, but it didn’t really read like a Harley issue either. For one thing she’s only in about half of it (being generous), as most of the time was dedicated to introducing all of the villains swarming the city (which admittedly did have some funny points). I don’t really understand Penguin’s motivation either, but maybe I just missed something.
I have to say I am not a fan of the latest look for Harley. She looks like a Bratz doll (or something similar) with the big eyes and long face. She’s even farther away from her original design than I’ve ever seen her, and that’s really disappointing. I keep hoping to see her go back to her roots at some point, but so far no luck. Other than Harley’s look the artwork was great, especially Killer Croc.
Harley Quinn #38