Harley Quinn #50 – Sam Humphries, Writer; John Timms, Whilce Portacio, Agnes Garbowska, John McCrea, Kelley Jones, Jon Davis-Hunt, Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund, Scott Kolins, Dan Jurgens, Guillem March, Mirka Andolfo, Tom Grummett, Cam Smith, Artists; Alex Sinclair, Gabe Eltaeb, John Kalisz, Michelle Madsen, Andrew Dalhouse, Romulo Fajardo Jr., Colorists
Ray – 9.5/10
Corrina: Hahahaha! 🙂
Ray: DC’s had some big events for the series that have made it to #50 so far, including status quo changes, weddings (or almost weddings), new creative teams, and Rebirth-related reveals. But no one throws an anniversary issue like Harley Quinn, and Harley Quinn #50 is one of the most bizarre and hilarious issues I’ve read from Sam Humphries yet.
Over the last few issues, there have been an odd little detail in the series involving odd comic book pages like “Lil’ Harley”, by a mystery cartoonist named M. Clatterbuck. That turns out to be the crux of this issue, as Harley has become a big fan of the unauthorized comics starring her. The issue opens with Harley on Coney Island with her mother, decompressing after her recent over-the-top adventures. She pulls out one of the Harley comics and is reading it when things go sideways – her mother dissolves in a wave of shiny crystals and Coney Island is suddenly invaded by a wave of alternate heroes from different dimensions. It turns out that these comics have accidentally broken continuity, and the only person who can put it back together is DC Continuity Cop Jonni DC.
And so begins the most bizarre adventure Harley Quinn has ever had.
With the multiverse collapsing around them, Harley and the pint-sized continuity cop catapult from reality to reality, with the art switching for every segment. Whilce Portacio draws a grimmer-and-grittier version of Batman, while Agnes Garbowska does a sweet story of Harley in high school focusing on her relationship with her mother. John McCrae does Pirate DC, while Kelley Jones transforms Harley into famous Vertigo characters. Jon Davis-Hunt has probably my favorite segment in the issue, a random scene reinventing Adam Strange as a 50’s sitcom combined with a horrific war film. Brett Booth and Scott Kolins get to really get absurd – dinosaurs! Game shows! – while Dan Jurgens sends up one of his most iconic storylines, Reign of the Superman with four alternate Harleys. Then there’s Guillem March’s sendup of Death: The High Cost of Living with…Lobo? But this issue wouldn’t work half as well as it did without the sweet reveal about M. Clatterbuck, which almost feels like a pitch for the coming changes to DC’s lineup thanks to the DC Ink and Zoom line. Despite being chaotic, almost overly so, this issue keeps a genuine, human core that makes it maybe my favorite Harley comic.
Corrina: Harley breaks the fourth wall. Harley goes meta. I think there is commentary in there about people complaining of how comics used to be, as well.
Whatever it is, this anniversary issue is a perfect encapsulation of Harley: bizarre, fun, crazy, and seriously enjoyable, especially with all the different art styles.
And, ultimately, the story is about the value of creating stories for everyone.
That M. Clatterbuck is a young Black girl who wants to create her own stories, then is told that she’s destroying the universe, and, then, at the end, instead, she’s validated in her love of creation, is a terrific moral to the story, especially in light of the recent mess with ComicsGate.
*It also has fun, a little bit, with Avengers: Infinity War, I think.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.