Harley Quinn #35 – Frank Tieri, Writer; Inaki Miranda, Artist; Jeremiah Skipper, Colorist
Ray – 7.5/10
Corrina: Good Start
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: It’s the debut of a new creative team with Harley Quinn #35, the first time in five years, but in many ways, it’s not really new. Frank Tieri has written many Harley side stories and miniseries during the Palmiotti/Conner run, and that makes him well-equipped to pick up the banner. The supporting cast from the previous run is still present, and in some ways is actually the focus of this issue as Harley is still in semi-seclusion due to her grief and anger over the death of her boyfriend. Taking the opening segment instead is Tony, who wins a head-butting contest at his local bar, fights with a hipster panhandler – and then gets kidnapped by someone or something. Meanwhile, the Gang of Harleys are stalking Harley – badly – trying to make sure she’s okay. She’s pissed at first, but is pulled back into the action when she finds out her friend is missing.
Tieri wastes no time bringing the whole cast back into the fray, with Red Tool coming back to help in the hunt for Tony. There’s a lot of running around beating up unpleasant civilians, but soon the true culprit becomes clear – a Man-Bat-like monster. However, here the Man-Bats are something different – more of a werewolf-like spreading curse, with Tony turning out to be both victim and attacker. And while the Gang of Harleys quickly rules out Kirk Langstrom as a suspect – he’s not in a good place right now – the true villain is revealed. Got to say, impressed that Tieri went back to the five-year-old run of John Layman for his plotting here – that proves he did his research. This issue is a solid start, although I didn’t find the humor to be on the same level as the Palmiotti/Conner run. Still, if you liked that run, you’re going to feel right at home with this one. Harley should be fine to stay one of DC’s most successful characters.
Corrina: It would likely be a mistake for any creative team to attempt to duplicate the tone of Conner and Palmiotti’s run and, smartly, Tieri doesn’t even try in Harley Quinn #35. He keeps Harley’s essential personality–and, as Ray points out, he’s had plenty of experience writing her–and places her into an intriguing plot that’s a bit more coherent and with more mystery than in the previous run.
I’m glad to see more of Tony, who has always been an interesting supporting character. Tieri’s picked an intriguing villain and Harley’s transformation should be both terrifying and fun. About the only element that felt like it hit a sour note was the group’s visit to Arkham Asylum, something that seemed highly unlikely to be approved by the powers that be.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.