Harley Quinn #40 – Frank Tieri, Writer; John Timms, Moritat, Artists; Alex Sinclair, Jeremiah Skipper, Colorists
Ray – 7/10
Corrina: TweedleDum Is Back?
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: The battle for Coney Island continues in Harley Quinn #40, as the various villain factions go to war, and a recovering Harley tries to broker peace. There’s some strong elements, some weaker elements, but overall it doesn’t quite coalesce into a cohesive whole as a story. As the issue starts, Coach has been kidnapped by Penguin’s minions and brought to a seedy dungeon where a fellow captive with information is being held. Time is of the essence, as various villains are going to war, and the headline attraction is Killer Croc vs. Mr. Freeze, which has turned Coney’s beach into a frozen wasteland. I’m not sure what Freeze’s motivation is exactly beyond “evil”, but Croc remains the best part of this series, expanding on his backstory and giving him a bit of an anti-hero tinge (not the only comic to do that this week).
Harley, meanwhile, is recovering from her injuries at the hands of Mr. Zsasz, which takes her out of commission for a chunk of the issue, but she bounces back quickly and is able to foil Hugo Strange’s twisted plot to bring her under his control. The unlikely duo of Red Tool and Ventriloquist offer her a way to bring down Penguin, and she’s off to the races. Ventriloquist uses his connections to the villain underworld to help her form a separate faction (and it turns out Tweedledum isn’t actually dead, because why kill someone when you can make a poop joke?). The most bizarre segment of the issue involves Egghead and Egg-fu, but the best by far is Harley and Croc’s reunion, as the Squad teammates have a surprisingly emotional showdown as Harley tries to pull Croc back from his single-minded mission of revenge. More of this, less gross-out humor, although it seems this run will not be an extended one per June solicits.
Corrina: For the second time this week (the first in Bombshells), scenes with Killer Croc were the highlight of a story. If this Croc isn’t quite as sympathetic as his alternate universe counterpart, he’s still a compelling character and his anger at being treated like a freak gains him Harley’s sympathy. But the gut punch was seeing how Coney Island has been destroyed.
I guess it’s good that Harley has been mentally manipulated. It makes her baffling behavior come into full focus. But more baffling is why Freeze wants to take over Coney Island or freeze up all the water or why Penguin thinks this diversion concerning Coney Island will work for him. I get that he wants to run the New York mob but it seems to me that such a smart character could have done it in a quieter and much simpler way.
Of course, then we wouldn’t have Egg-fu and Egghead’s showdown.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.