Old Lady Harley #5 – Frank Tieri, Writer; Inaki Miranda, Artist; Tom Derenick, Layouts, Eva De La Cruz, Colorist
Ray – 4/10
Ray: The conclusion of this odd miniseries suffers from bizarre timing – it’s the second book this week to feature a geriatric Joker back for revenge against one of his oldest rivals. In this case that would be Harley, who had a nasty breakup with him decades ago that seemingly ended in is death.
The opening segment of Old Lady Harley #5 (after the bizarre final news brief) shows the days after Harley’s final escape from the Joker, including a brief Poison Ivy cameo. But in the far future, Joker has resurfaced and has sent an army of his goons after her and her motley crew of allies. As the Joker army rampages through Gotham, the aged cyborg Batman summons a giant Bat-robot to join the fight. But in the Joker’s headquarters, Joker has Harley captive, wanting revenge for past sins. He wants Harley to think he’s the original Joker, of course, but Harley figures out who he really is – her son with the Joker who she gave up years ago.
You can guess exactly where this goes from here. She gave him up because she couldn’t raise the Joker’s baby, and now her son blames her for ruining his life. This is the most cliched way to do this plot, and it doesn’t help that this story was also done in Injustice by Tom Taylor. There Harley was eventually reunited with her daughter and it was one of the most affecting parts of the story.
Here her son is essentially a generic psycho villain, and while Harley’s sympathy for him does reflect well on her, it’s also not backed up by any redeeming qualities we see in him. While Batman is largely cast as the villain here, showing up to take Joker Jr. into custody at the last minute, the series doesn’t give us any reason to care about Harley or her allies. It completely failed as an attempt to create a compelling alternate universe, and the last-page cliffhanger did nothing to make me want a sequel.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.