Harley Quinn #72 – Sam Humphries, Writer; Abel, Artist; Hi-Fi, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: It’s been a while since we got an issue of Sam Humphries’ Harley Quinn, and it had the misfortune to leave Harley off in the middle of a pretty complex storyline. Still grappling with the trauma of her mother’s death and her experiences in Heroes in Crisis, Harley went off the grid – which naturally for her, meant becoming a wrestler in Los Angeles. But when her good friend and partner in the ring died mysteriously, Harley found herself thrust into the role of guardian to her daughter and had to solve a murder at the same time. And Booster Gold, her fellow Sanctuary survivor, was here too. How did it all fit together? It really didn’t, but this issue pulls the story together with a great issue that’s equal parts a satire on the many quirks of California and a surprisingly nuanced story about how someone like Harley deals with death. Oh, and did I mention Harley is being chased by the minions of a ganglord who just happens to look like a giant, muscle-bound baby?
That’s a lot, and this issue doesn’t calm down at all. The meat of the story is the interaction between Harley and Booster, and Humphries takes a dynamic that had a lot of unanswered questions and makes it a lot of fun. They’re both chaotic and nuts, but in totally different ways, and Humphries seems interested in dealing in a surprisingly nuanced way with the horrors of Sanctuary. But in between conversations, they have to infiltrate a Scientology-like cult and find surprisingly ties to many of the other dangerous elements they’ve been running from. But as much as this story ties back to a lot of dangling plot threads from Humphries’ run, it’s at its strongest when it pulls back and lets the characters speak for themselves. Grief is all over this issue, as Harley’s lost several people important to her in a very short period. That leads to a surprising sequence of events as the issue closes out, and I’m genuinely worried for Harley for the first time in a while.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.