Harley Quinn #54 – Sam Humphries, Writer; Lucas Werneck, Artist; Gabe Eltaeb, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Corrina: Stay Off Social Media, Kids!
Ray: Equal parts social media satire and a surprisingly deep musing on getting out from under a terrible parental figure, Harley Quinn #54 is another strong installment in Sam Humphries’ excellent run. When we last left off, amateur supervillain Minor Disaster had used her power to trick Harley into posting a candid video insulting her audience to her social media channel – seemingly wrecking her newly curated online empire. But although Harley is unable to capture her new self-proclaimed arch-enemy or scrub the video from the internet, her mother tries to talk some sense into her and get her focus back on important things. It doesn’t work. Meanwhile, Minor Disaster contacts her criminal father to try to impress him with the accomplishments of her dial. There’s just one problem – Harley’s “candid video” struck a chord with her fans, who are also complete trainwrecks, and she’s becoming more popular than ever. Whoops.
Major Disaster proves himself one of the worst dads in the DCU – a far cry from his more sympathetic portrayal in Joe Kelly’s Justice League run way back when – and cruelly tells his daughter not to waste his time. This sends Penny off the deep end, but not before a hilarious running gag involving Major Disaster’s obsession with Guy Gardner. Minor Disaster breaks down, and even Harley briefly feels bad for her – until she breaks her dial and causes a massive natural disaster that threatens to sweep Coney Island out to see. The ending features transplanted Apokaliptan warrior Tina heavily, as the former Female Fury goes a long way towards beginning her own heroic career, but Harley’s compassion for the young villain makes an impact. Overall, Humphries’ run continues to impress as a crazy, cosmic take on a wacky character that’s still grounded in a very human take on all its heroes and occasionally villains.
Corrina: Remember how I said, a review or two ago, that Major Disaster featured in a long-forgotten Teen Titans tale (pre-Wolfman/Perez) where he “detached” Manhattan and was “stealing” it?
Minor Disaster thinks smaller but she does something similar to Coney Island this issue. The comic book logic of Coney Island being sucked into a whirlpool makes as little sense in that old story, especially given how Tina tries to “pull” the island away from the whirlpool with a…magical anchor?
However, it is fun and I have a suspicion that Humphries has read that 1970s-era Teen Titans story.
As for the rest? Harley seems to work best when her doses of impulsivity are paired with her compassion and that’s why this story works. Harley and Penny actually talk to each other instead of battling and Harley’s empathy finally wins the day, with an assist from a Penny-created volcano, of course.
It’s hard to write Harley with her essential personality and yet keep her out of the dark side, as an anti-hero. So far, Humphries knows exactly how to walk that line.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.