By Cat Wyatt
In the last issue of Harley Quinn we witnessed Penguin make his next move into Coney Island. Without Harley around to help defend it, things have not been going well for the friends she left behind. Issue #39 of Harley Quinn continues the story of Penguin’s escapades and maneuvers.
DC fans that have been following the media probably have heard a little bit about some of the teasers for this issue; most notably the appearance and fight between two heavy hitting villains (and I do mean it literally about the heavy hitting bit). For years fans have been asking for a fight between King Shark and Killer Croc – so it’s no surprise that the word got out early in this case.
Fans will be happy to know that the infamous fight occurs very early in the actual issue. In previous issues we’ve seen Killer Croc moving in on Coney Island (and with his backstory this makes sense) and having no trouble taking on any past allies to get what he wants. So it’s really not surprising to see him react poorly to King Shark’s appearance (unsurprisingly, King Shark had decided to lay claim to the aquarium).
The fight itself isn’t terribly long, or graphic. Both of these facts surprised me significantly. Due to the lack of anything graphic occurring, I’m not certain of the survival of the loser (my general rule is if I don’t see the character graphically die on the pages then they’re probably alive – and sometimes they’ll still be alive even if that happens).
It’s interesting to me that Croc is making such a move right now. I understand that he was likely egged on by Penguin, and is therefore using him, but it still seems somewhat odd. Regardless, it’s clear that Croc is going to become a problem for whatever Penguin’s plans are. I personally think Penguin is underestimating Croc…which is going to go very poorly for him (also, I know the Penguin’s penguins are awful murderers, but I really don’t want to see Croc eat them).
Speaking of the penguins (again, I mean the large actual penguins being used as muscle) they may or may not have eaten Tweedledum. And by may I mean they absolutely did. Though they did so in one bite, so I suppose he could be alive (anybody having flashbacks to the poor bastard that got stuck inside Killer Croc for a month?), though it seems unlikely. Ah, the life of c-lister villains.
The evasion is going pretty smoothly, all things considered. Penguin’s little army of odd villains seems to be doing the trick. Though one has to wonder why Harley hasn’t heard the news of any of this (it’s not like they’re being quiet), and shown up to take care of things. It’s pretty clear that in this continuity Harley has particularly strong hatred for the Penguin.
As it turns out, Penguin had calculated that into his plans, which isn’t surprising at all. While it appeared that he had sent all his men to Coney, in actuality he sent a good chunk of them Harley’s way to keep her busy. This isn’t a bad tactic, especially when she’s isolated and doesn’t have friends to point out the obvious (that she’s clearly being toyed with and distracted for another person’s master plan).
Speaking of Harley’s distractions, she’s been facing down a lot of villains lately, facing at least six villains (including King Tut and Rat Catcher) within a single week. So it’s no wonder that by the end of the week, with Zsasz showing up and sending away too many injured police officers to count (on the bright side it sounds like they might live? I hope at least) that Harley is nearly too exhausted to stand.
She’s certainly too exhausted to fight functionally. Zsasz may not be on the top of the villain list, but he isn’t exactly on the bottom either. Fighting him at anything other than your best isn’t going to go well. This fight lasted a lot longer than the Shark/Croc fight, which in a way was a bit of a shame (I would have loved another page or two of that one), but it did a good job showing how dulled Harley’s senses have become (again, because of exhaustion).
In all seriousness Harley absolutely would have lost that fight had Red Tool not intervened. I know she’s been demanding to be left alone, but considering how many times we’ve seen him save her bacon in the last few days, you’d think she’d have been just a bit more grateful. Clearly something larger is going on, because this is not our normal Harley.
Meanwhile the mobsters that survived the Penguin’s first demonstration are desperately trying to gain information to help them make one final stand (okay, they don’t actually see it that way, but I do). Luckily for them Scarface happens to want to give them a helping hand, though of course it isn’t from the kindness of his heart.
This plot is definitely building up to a cataclysmic moment. Coney is facing a full on invasion (I know it isn’t his territory per se, but I’m still a bit surprised Batman hasn’t come after all of his villains), Eggy has been kidnapped for a full issue now, and Coach has also gone missing (not that anybody actually knows that yet). I’m guessing the next issue will have some explosive events occurring, because the stage has officially been set thanks to this issue.
I’m not going to lie, the newest design of Harley Quinn is driving me crazy, and not in a good way. S looking more and more like a Bratz doll smashed together with Tank Girl. The rest of the character designs have stayed the same, it’s just Harley they’re changing. I’ll admit the artwork itself it just fine, in fact it’s really well done, it’s just that she no longer looks like the character I love, and that is incredibly frustrating.
Harley Quinn #39