Harley Quinn #36 – Frank Tieri, Writer; Inaki Miranda, Artist; Alex Sinclair, Colorist
Ray – 7/10
Corrina: Bat-Harley Is Still Harley
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: With Harley Quinn #36, the second issue into the new run, it’s clear that this is going to be a very different take. Tieri did some backup work on Palmiotti and Conner’s run and did a decent job following their style, but now he’s working from his own framework and it’s distinctly darker. Of course, it doesn’t help that Harley has been transformed into a ravenous monster this issue, taking her wisecracks out of play. She’s now one of the many new Man-Bats, created by the evil She-Bat, Francine Langstrom. While the Gang of Harleys tries to keep her under control and stop her destruction of Coney Island, other allies including Egg-Fu, Red Tool, and Coach head to Kirk Langstrom’s lab to try to cure Tony and find the cure for Harley. There’s a lot of action this issue, and Miranda’s depiction of Man-Bats is suitably creepy, but overall it feels very standard, which the last run never did.
The attempts at humor in this issue among the mayhem vary. The Gang of Harleys remains the bright spot, with their casual banter making the opening segment a lot of fun. On the other hand, Red Tool was created as an homage to Deadpool, but his dialogue is so on-the-nose that it at times feels less like a homage and more like an awkward guest appearance. The Mouse can’t be happy. Eventually, Tony and Harley are cured, Francine is captured, and Langstrom is in the wind, but not much is resolved. Harley’s pain and anger over the end of the last run leads her to go on the run, leaving all her friends behind, but solicits indicate this will be temporary. It seems like the main arc villain for the series will be the Penguin, which isn’t a bad choice, but again, it all feels like mostly things we’ve seen before, with less humor and color.
Corrina: Here’s the good aspect of this. The previous run was insane, darkly funny when it landed (which was most of the time) but was sometimes was light on the plotting, moving from one over-the-top Harley set piece to the other. Which was great but when the comic lagged, it tended to be because of a paper-thin plot.
So, Tieri has a solid plot in mind, which if you can’t duplicate Palmiotti/Conner (and who can??) is a good idea. The problem is, as Ray says, that it feels like a basic plot in which all the Bat-villains will eventually attack Harley. There is a fun bit about Harley’s love of Coney Island hot dogs but otherwise, there’s not much surprising here.
And I have to register a complaint about the art. The action is great, the Man-Bats, especially Harley Bat, are wonderfully detailed (those ears!) but the art team seems incapable of drawing breasts smaller than a woman’s head this issue, with one particularly egregious example above. I know, Harley is certainly not above eye candy moment but this is just ridiculous.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.