Review: Harley Quinn #3

“Reach for the sky” (Toy Story). Seems like Palmiotti and Conner are living by that quote. This third issue is crazy, not in a good way. Panel after panel of wild outlandish dialogue and story building. It’s understandable that the creative team has to finish the story line that they began with, but three issues of this nonsense is enough. Reading this is almost equivalent to reading a children’s book for the 50th time in a row, it just leaves a bad taste in your mouth, and no that taste is not zombie guts. With this new Rebirth series, expectations have been high for many of the new series, some have risen to those expectations and others have not only fallen short but make us wish we could erase them from our memories completely. It isn’t the characters that is pungent, but rather the overall writing style and the way this whole series is progressing. Repetitive slamming away at poor jokes will not make them any better, no matter how much Palmiotti and Conner want them to be. Granted there are a few moments of exhilaration and joy during this issue. HARLEY Cv3_dsThe material is so cut and dry, the jokes fall short in every which way, Harley’s cleverness and wackiness ceases to exist within this Rebirth series. Seems like it would be hard enough gathering new readers even with excellent storytelling, but it really seems like the creative team is going out of their way to prevent Harley from rising to the anti-hero that she can be and who we all want her to be. Throw in some good dialogue and one-liners and this series could make a turn for better but the damage may already be done. If not for being a free review copy, I guarantee this would not make it into my collection.

Now that the bashing is out of the way, a few things that are actually quite remarkable about the issue comes at the hands of Hardin and Timms. Two exceptionally talented artists, giving everything they have to create a fun entertaining issue that sadly doesn’t have the writing to support it. The art is literally incredible, the amount of detail in each panel and how each scene feels alive. It would be great to see Hardin and Timms work on a project together that has a stronger dialogue. All the blame I am sure can’t be put on just the writers, unless they themselves have full creativity rights to the story. Probably wouldn’t be a bad idea for after this first arc is over, to take a step back and really think about the direction they want to take Harley Quinn, because this path is leading them off a cliff.

Looking into the future is something I don’t do, but if I had to guess as to what is coming with this series, more dry humor, more incredible art, and an overall lack of enthusiasm. Save yourself the heartache and money and just read a spoiler for this issue, unless you in fact are enjoying the series. In that case, enjoy.

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Harley Quinn #3 Writer: Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner Artist: Chad Hardin and John Timms Publisher: DC Comics Price: $2.99 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital


Review: Harley Quinn #2

Picking up right where issue #1 left off, catapulting Red Tool off the top of a building towards the hospital. In case you forgot, there is a zombie outbreak due to tainted meat from an alien. Harley cut off Red Tool’s arm when he was bit by one of the zombies. As Red Tool is flying through the air, Harley decides it is a wise choice to shoot out the windows of the hospital so Red Tool doesn’t smack the window and bounce off. After a successful, Olympic gold medal worthy catapult, Harley wonders if being bit even causes a person to change into a zombie. The plan is to catch a zombie and either someone recently bit or someone who hasn’t been bit along with a zombie. Easiest way to do this of course is to throw a fishing line down and hook an infected. Rather than pulling a zombie up, Harley gets pulled off the roof, manages to survive quite a historic fall, and lands right in the middle of a horde of zombies. After cracking a few jokes, she HARLEY Cv2_dsdecides it’s a good idea to get out of dodge and fight her way to safety. After 15 pages or so of fighting, we find all of our heroes trapped in a bumper car arena with the zombie horde fighting their way in to enjoy the best meal of their undead lives. Our heroes have just about given up when a surprise guest appears and saves the day. I won’t ruin who the surprise guest is but I will say it is one of Harley’s close companions.

This issue was a challenge to read. It just didn’t have the well-timed, witty jokes that the first issue delivered. Every joke seemed forced and out of place. Don’t get me wrong, the whole issue is not like this, but those panels where Harley attempts to make light of the situation just doesn’t resonate like I would expect. I know the writers are very talented and are capable of delivering the goods, but this issue missed the mark by a mile. Harley, as a character, didn’t get much character development this issue. It was mostly her killing zombies. Same with the other characters that tag along with Harley, very little character development. Pretty much all the dialogue was between Harley and, well herself. She attempts to make a bad situation funny, but it just doesn’t work this issue. I hope the future issues don’t rely on Harley Quinn attempting to make the reader laugh, because it will get old and many readers may be deterred from it.

The artwork was solid like the first issue. A lot of vivid colors and textures. The fights were displayed very well with excellent detail. I am not surprised that the art is solid, the entire first was excellent. To me, it is what really gives this issue the interest that would keep a reader interested. The dialogue was dry while the art was exquisite. I am looking forward to seeing what the artists do in the next few issues. If the dialogue matched the art this would be a good contender every other week for one of the better DC issues. Without the consistency in writing, this Harley Quinn series just falls short of being a good read. All in all, I would recommend reading this issue, but I don’t think it is quite worth the $2.99 selling price.

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Harley Quinn #2 Writer: Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner Layouts: Bret Blevins Artist: Chad Hardin and John Timms Publisher: DC Comics Price: $2.99 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital