Harley Quinn #63 – Sam Humphries, Writer; Otto Schmidt, Artist
Ray – 9/10
Corrina: Harley at a Crisis
Ray: So far Sam Humphries’ run on Harley’s flagship title has been one of the funniest and most absurd runs, taking Harley to Apokalips and putting her through cosmic tests, but it’s also had a very human and often painful core as Harley reconnects with her family only to see her mother suffer from a potentially fatal cancer. As Harley Quinn #63 opens, her mother’s condition takes a turn for the worse as the cancer spreads and she and her daughter are urged to prepare for the worst. Harley doesn’t deal with this well, despite her mother maintaining a cool head – and the presence of the grim reaper lurking over this issue to take the life of a D-list hero doesn’t exactly make things any less grim! But this being Harley, things take a genuinely strange turn about halfway through the issue when Harley’s mother urges her to go out and get them something fun to do, and Harley decides to break into a closed video store – where she accidentally topples a display on herself and dies.
That kicks off a bizarre fever dream where Harley is spirited out of the video store and into a cosmic fantasyland populated by her favorite childhood hero – a Sailor Moon pastiche, who pulls her into a world run by Harley’s childhood and teen heroes. It’s obviously a trap, though, as Harley is supposed to fall into a sense of security and follow Death to her end. The resolution of Harley’s ”death” is hilarious – she wasn’t supposed to be reaped, the store was – but it’s pretty clear that all this is a commentary on Harley’s other personal crisis and how she’s having trouble accepting the idea of saying goodbye to her mother. From her “tester”s commentary, it doesn’t sound like things will get any easier from here. The Year of the Villain tie-in this issue is hilariously meta, as Harley gets an offer from Luthor not in the title, but in the book within a book by Meredith Clatterbuck. Will this have any impact in the main book? We’ll see, but this book’s balancing act continues to impress.
Corrina: I was about to be annoyed at panels of Luthor offering something to yet another DC character this week, as indicated by the cover tie-in. Then I had to laugh about what this story does with the offer. It’s pure Harley, and it’s very funny. (I was going to say that Luthor should know Harley’s too much of a wildcard to predict but Luthor’s arrogant, so he probably thinks he can predict the unpredictable.)
The rest of Harley Quinn #65, however, digs deep into the feels. Harley’s mother is dying, they both know it, but Mom refuses to be serious about it because that will just make it all worse, in her mind. Which sends Harley on a trip back to childhood, and a visit with the most polite incarnation of Death I’ve ever read, at least once he’s realized his mistake. Or perhaps he’s not Death at all. I just loved all the anime references and especially Death as an anime character. Thanks, art team!
Can I hope that Harley’s mother’s potential death is part of the last trial? Because that would allow some happy moments here between mother and daughter.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.