Harley Quinn #34 – Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Conner, Writers; John Timms, Chad Hardin, Artists; Alex Sinclair, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: Definitive Run
Ray: After five years and one of the longest runs on a DC property in a while, it’s time to say goodbye to Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner’s iconic run on Harley Quinn with Harley Quinn #34. While I wasn’t always the biggest fan of this latest volume, there’s no denying just how important this run has been overall – it gave Harley her own supporting cast, finally separated her from her violent relationship with the Joker, gave her a sweetly supportive (albeit…unconventional) relationship with Poison Ivy, and most importantly, turned her into a genuine headliner who could not only carry her own title, but multiple spinoffs and appearances in other books.
Arguably, no creative team has done more to lift a character long-term since Geoff Johns on Green Lantern. So how do you close up shop after all of that? Well, clearly, by going absolutely nuts. And that’s very much what they do here. This is essentially a road-trip comedy issue, combining a lot of sight gags with some surprisingly emotional moments as Harley, Ivy, Tony, and Queenie head to Florida to meet with Harley’s family.
Harley’s brothers remain one-note dumbasses, but Harley’s parents are some of the nicest surprises in this run – weird, but genuinely interesting characters. Along the way, there’s a bar fight and a surprise visit to jail, as well as a sweetly funny reunion between Harley and her beloved hyenas – who have multiplied since she left them in a sanctuary. There are moments in this issue that show how Harley’s genuinely matured since her original series, and I’m hoping a lot of her development stays with the new creative team.
But what people will be talking about this issue is the hilariously meta ending, where Harley takes out her grievances on the people responsible for all her peril – Palmiotti and Conner. It’s weird, but it’s great, and it ends on the perfect note, with Harley and Ivy sailing off into the sunset, literally. Frank Tieri’s got some big shoes to fill when he comes onto this comic in two weeks.
Corrina: I suspect DC had no idea that Harley Quinn was this popular when they gave the greenlight to Palmiotti and Conner’s definitive run on the character.
Or perhaps they did. But they couldn’t have imagined how crazy this comic would be, with everything from the talking Beaver (dirty pun intentional), Power Girl rescues, sea monsters, an evil (?) version of Harley, and a run for mayor. Not to mention that scratch n’ sniff issue.
But perhaps the best things are character related: Harley has now been firmly separated from the Joker (yay!) and been firmly established as in an open relationship with Poison Ivy. The relationship with Ivy has so much subtext through the years that it was practically text but it took Palmiotti and Conner to put Harley’s bisexuality on the page.
Their Harley is so good that when she appears in Suicide Squad, I wince. Their Harley is so good that I fear Tieri cannot fill their shoes.
But it appears Harley herself is quite happy to see them gone, in the hilarious meta-ending that Ray talks about. Inserting creators into their comics can be tricky but this sequence is terrific.
Going to miss all you guys. :sniff:
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.