Harley Quinn #39 cover

Review – Harley Quinn #39: Harley Vs Zsasz

Comic Books DC This Week
Harley Quinn #39 variant cover
Making nice with the enemy. Image via DC Comics

Harley Quinn #39 – Frank Tieri, Writer; Inaki Miranda, Artist; Alex Sinclair, Colorist


Ray – 7/10

Corrina: Uneven


Ray: The Penguin’s takeover of Coney Island continues in Harley Quinn #39, as villains from around Gotham invade the shore. Unfortunately, it’s the most violent issue of Tieri’s run yet, with little humor beyond the opening few pages. Those are the best, as Killer Croc and King Shark get into a massive monster fight in the aquarium, while Penguin’s giant mutant penguins eat one of Tweedledee and Tweedledum and break up the band. Condiment King gets in a few funny scenes too, as he takes over the Coney Island hot dog scene by force. Meanwhile, Harley is busy dealing with one villain after another, ranging from mainstays to surprise cameos like King Tut and Ten-Eyed Man. The biggest threat of the issue, though, is Mr. Zsasz, Gotham’s least gimmicky supervillain – his gimmick is murder, and he really likes his gimmick.

Zsasz has never been one of my favorites, and he makes for a pretty poor partner for Harley’s banter. She snarks, he stabs her, and so it goes back and forth for a while until Red Tool shows up and clocks him, ending the fight. I’m not sure Red Tool needed to make the jump to another creative team at all, so him getting to play hero and save an injured Harley is not exactly great. I was more interested in everything involving the villains solo, including Ventriloquist making a power play to take Coney Island back from Penguin, and Coach investigating Harley’s disappearance. That leads her to a surprising suspect – and an even more surprising duo of villains who are either working for Penguin or quite possibly pulling their own con. One of them is subtly Gotham’s most dangerous villain, so his presence could throw this series for a loop. Overall, though, it’s a pretty strong Gotham villains comic (an area Tieri has worked well in before), but I’m not sure it’s a particularly good Harley comic.

Harley Quinn #39 page 2
King Shark is a shark. (But he turns out to be no match for Croc.) Image via DC Comics

Corrina: Generally speaking, the more the merrier in Harley’s comic, meaning the more crazy stuff she has bouncing around in her stories, the more enjoyable they are. But this issue has a few too many blah villains and its tone veers into bleak. For instance, the giant Penguins are absurd and they should be funny but having Tweedledee be eaten seems kinda mean and unfunny.

But Harley fighting King Tut was good and showing Harley in a montage going through the weirdest of the Gotham villains is always fun.

But Killer Croc seems like he’s living in a different, darker story, as do the various double-crosses being planned, and it’s all very uneven.

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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