Harley Quinn #59 – Sam Humphries, Writer; Sami Basri, Artist; Alex Sinclair, Colorist
Ray – 7.5/10
Corrina: A Very Special (But Sweet) Issue of Harley Quinn
Ray: Sam Humphries has set Harley Quinn off on her biggest quest yet, completing a series of mysterious challenges to attain a cosmic power. Last month we saw her confront her criminal past alongside Batman, and this issue has her dealing with her self-image. The problem with a story centering around a series of tasks like this is that quality can vary wildly between installments, and that’s the case with Harley Quinn #59, a Kafka-inspired issue. After a subplot involving Harley and Tina getting ready to do a charity dunk tank, Harley wakes up the next morning with a giant bug head. She can’t talk, only making strange insect sounds, and anyone who sees her treats her like a hideous monster. She goes on the run, rummaging through garbage for food, until she’s found by Tina and her cosmic taskmaster, teenage Tamaranean Mirand’r. It turns out – not surprisingly – that Harley’s transformation is her second cosmic challenge.
The problem is that this whole plot is rather thin, almost like an after-school special. Harley eventually breaks the curse by overcoming her anxiety about being seen as a monster by doing the charity dunk tank as a bug-woman and enduring the jeers from onlookers. This gives her more awareness of what Tina goes through every day and that was the point of the whole thing. Harley learning to be kind to others as one of her challenges feels very generic, and the whole “Harley dealing with her own monstrous self-image” subtext was also covered with her dealing with her criminal past last issue. There’s still some good stuff in this issue, and Mirand’r is an intriguing addition to the plotline. But overall, this is the thinnest issue of the series and I’m hoping the remaining challenges in Harley’s quest have some more interesting subtext to them. This is a rare weak spot in an excellent run.
Corrina: Yes, this is a straightforward issue, more so than any that has been done with this run. It is also an issue where I noticed the T&A a little bit more. I’m not sure if that’s because there was less to interest me in the story than previously or if there really were more.
Still, I liked the relationship between Tina and Harley, and I always like her hanging around in Coney Island.
The “trials” have been a fun way to have some imaginary stories with Harley, and I expect that to continue after this issue.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.