Harley Quinn #48 – Sam Humphries, Writer; Alisson Borges, Artist; Gabe Eltaeb, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: As it begins its second arc, Sam Humphries’ Harley Quinn is easily my favorite Harley run in a few years (including the later years of the defining Palmiotti/Conner run). It’s the perfect combination of over-the-top action, absurdist comedy, and a surprisingly solid take on Harley’s character. Last issue wrapped up Harley’s adventure on Apokalips and she returned home with new friend Tina – and a harsh reminder that the world doesn’t stop turning because you took a vacation to an alien planet. Harley forgot to pay her mortgage and the building is facing demolition, with only her associate Coach to prevent the greedy landlord from smashing it. Harley arrives home, ready to kill the guy – and finds out that his papers are in order and she has forty-eight hours to get the money together to save her building. Of course, Harley is a lot of things, but a responsible and conscientious employee she is not. She probably wouldn’t care so much if it wasn’t for her army of strays. This is the second “Stop the building from being blown up” plots in recent DC comics, and it’s definitely the better one.
A series of hilarious shorts where Harley takes one job after another, only to blow it and get fired in absurd fashion, are some of the issue’s best moments. I also loved the bizarre look at exactly what DC comics look like in the DC universe. I’ve been wondering who this “M. Clatterbuck” who does occasional one-page shorts about “Li’l Harley” in this run was, and it seems they’re a fictional cartoonist who exists in this universe. Is it Humphries writing this, or is there a secret talent at work here? Harley eventually takes a job as a bounty hunter to bring in the obscure Batman villain Lord Death Man. The only problem is, she just took a job to kill an immortal man. The violence here is Harley at its absurdist best, but one of my favorite parts of this issue was Tina’s story. She hangs behind, taking care of errands for Harley while the latter is off to earn money, and I’ve rarely seen a better take on what it’s like for a non-human alien to suddenly show up on Earth. This is a very funny comic, but there’s a real heart behind it at times. Humphries is doing work on the level of his run on Green Lanterns here, and that’s definitely not something I expected from a Harley book.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.