By Cat Wyatt
Every now and then Harley Quinn will release a one shot issue that’s either silly or exploring a new storytelling type. This issue is one of those stories. As you can probably tell from the cover and name of the issue, this is a riff on both Old Man Logan and Mad Max. If you’re not into the random stories Harley Quinn sometimes tells, you could probably get away with skipping this one. Or you could read on and enjoy all of the blatant references and jokes that are made. Your call.
Quick side not: DC has been including a celebratory page in all of their comics this week, as it’s their eightieth anniversary. I think this one is probably my favorite (of the ones I’ve seen so far – by no means have I seen all of them). It has Harley (in the classic Clark Kent pulling back his shirt to reveal the Superman logo pose), Catwoman, Power Girl, and one of Harley’s hyenas (I’m ashamed to say I’m not sure which one it is). It’s simple, it’s cute, and it’s fun. I like it.
This issue starts off in the ‘Jersey Wastelands’ - I’m going to avoid making any of the more obvious cracks about this one (though I can’t promise the same for the creative team behind this issue). Red Tool is doing a classic post-apocalyptic monologue – the sort that’s designed to get us up to speed in what’s going on. Not that Red Tool actually tells us anything useful, I mean it’s Red Tool, what do you expect?
After a little bit of reminiscing (which I suspect is actually happening in the present, because again, it’s Red Tool) the scene cuts to Harley (significantly aged) tied up to the front of a speeding car. Now, I haven’t seen Mad Max (I know, I know I’m an awful human being and I promise I’ll rectify this asap) but this very much feels like something that would happen in that movie; though it probably doesn’t have the dash of Harley humor that is prevalent here.
The mad man behind the wheel? Well…he’s more of a mad goat, and he goes by the name of Mad Maxipad. No, I’m not teasing you, that actually is his name. At least, according to Harley it is. So grain of salt there. Cue Red Tool’s arrival (I knew his rambling was in the present!) and a lot of jokes at the expense of Staten Island. Sorry to anyone that lives there.
What’s the best way to save Harley from a hoard of violent goat people in a messed up world like this? Well naturally the best way is to hop in the car and gun it, with Harley still attached to the hood. Because that is totally safe and in no way, shape, or form would doing something like that tick off Harley. Right…well…at least Red Tool tried?
Driving the car over a broken bridge and doing epic stunts might have pushed things a little far, even for Red Tool. I would have beat the crap out of him. After I finished vomiting, that is. Red Tool’s rescue really only put them into a bit more danger, as he drove straight into another gang’s territory (I thought they were Sy robots at first, because of the shirts they were wearing).
The pace really picks up from here (which is saying it), rapidly introducing the Old Lady Harley version of Big Tony (he’s in a giant mech suit, for those that are curious), and getting us up to state on the state of things. In this world, after the events of the last plot, where Harley beat the snot out of the Penguin (again), she left, leaving the Coach and Gang of Harleys in charge.
They worked well together for a while, but things went south, as they always do. A nasty group called the Brainiac 5 Guys (not going to think about that one too much) showed up, and their attacks forced Coach to do something risky, ultimately frying her brain (ironic). Soon after the Gang of Harleys fell apart, splitting up NYC so everyone got a fair share.
And that’s where things stand more or less today. With one major exception: apparently today’s the day they’re all getting together to fight it out, one last time (I don’t know why they haven’t done this sooner, but that’s okay). Whoever wins the fight wins New York, or something like that.
There’s a few more cameos, like Zena, Sy (sort of) and messed up Penguin descendants (I don’t even want to know). Naturally Harley is going to intervene in the impending fight, and hopefully resolve this mess. I’m not sure if she can clean up New York or not, but it should be something. Actually, now that I think about it, I’m not even sure if the rest of the country looks like this, or if it’s just New York. Has the Gang of Harleys been that rough on the place?
Earlier I said this was a stand-alone issue, but I actually don’t have any proof for that statement. It’s just an assumption (I know, I know). The next issue is titled ‘From the Future to the Past – Harley Loves Joker #1’, so I’m assuming it’s a new plot. So I’m pretty sure my assumption is correct, plus this plot feels pretty wrapped up.
This was okay, but it wasn’t the best short story in the Harley world. The riffs were funny, as were the references, but I’m honestly not sure that was enough to make a whole issue out of. At least they added more to the plot, even if it was somewhat surreal.
The artwork was decent. I have questions about their choices for how to age Harley, but I guess that all comes down to artistic license. I’m not a fan of the gray skin though, especially when coupled with minimal aging seen elsewhere. It feels a bit lazy, on the whole.
Harley Quinn #42