Review – Old Lady Harley #1: On The Open Road

Comic Books DC This Week
Old Lady Harley #1 variant cover, via DC Comics.

Old Lady Harley #1 – Frank Tieri, Writer; Inaki Miranda, Artist; Eva De La Cruz, Colorist


Ray – 6/10

Corrina: A Hot Mess

Ray: Spinning out of the one-off future-set issue that wrapped Frank Tieri’s run, Old Lady Harley #1 is a chaotic, action-packed alternate universe take that throws Harley Quinn and her supporting cast into a post-apocalyptic future. The problem is that it feels like a product of the past, not a story of the future. Sam Humphries has expanded Harley’s world and almost made her a weird sort of cosmic hero, so throwing her back into the world of comic ultraviolence feels irrelevant.

Old Lady Harley #1 is definitely a bit more fun than the issue it spins out of, due to being less about body horror and more about comic absurdity. Harley, still traveling across America’s Mad Max-esque backroads, has a new partner in crime – Red Tool, who has a greying mohawk but is otherwise unchanged. That may be a good or bad thing depending on your tolerance for his elaborate Deadpool parody. The first half of the book is just the two of them ping-ponging from one absurd adventure to another. They’re in a diner run by giant squids, and Red Tool may have just sexually harassed one of them! Now bounty hunters are shooting monsters at them!

Yes, a cannon that shoots kaiju. It’s all suitably ridiculous, and Inaki Miranda’s art here is very good. A combination of excellent character work and great creature features. I just wish the writing was up to that level as well. The plot doesn’t really get going until well into the book when Harley finds out that the gangsters stalking them think the Joker’s alive. That sends Harley back to Gotham in search of her evil old boyfriend, but when she gets there she finds something else entirely – an eerily calm city without a criminal inside. She almost immediately finds Azrael, who tries to take her into custody for violating curfew – and he turns out to be one of the hundreds of robots patrolling Gotham, in the name of an aged Batman in a suit of armor. I’m guessing this Batman will have a surprise identity, and I’m kind of intrigued to see this one play out. Overall, though, the concept of Old Lady Harley is a simple gag stretched out to series length. I’m not sure there’s enough here for a full six issues.

Back to the beginning. Via DC Comics.

Corrina: I am kinda baffled that Old Lady Harley is even a thing. For one, despite drawing in a few wrinkles, Harley doesn’t look particularly old this issue and shows no signs of actually being older. Nor is her attitude any different than usual, which makes it read like a weird regular Harley story instead. Red Tool doesn’t help, as Deadpool is already a parody of himself, making Red Tool a parody of a parody and that makes his personality paper thin and, well, uninteresting.

There are gags aplenty. Condiment King wants to sell zombies a fast food version of zombie food. Lex has taken over Mexico, etc., but none of them are particularly funny. It’s also a bit cringe-worthy that this version of Harley went back to Joker for a time. (I suppose that’s why she’s still so messed up?) And, yes, I would guess that the Joker is still around in this Gotham, somehow. But given how much I dislike the Joker and particularly dislike him being used as part of Harley’s current stories, that’s not much enticement for me to continue reading.

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

Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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