Review – Future State: Harley Quinn #2 – Behind the Mask

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Future State: Harley Quinn #2 variant cover, via DC Comics.

Future State: Harley Quinn #2 – Stephanie Phillips, Writer; Simone Di Meo, Toni Infante, Artists; Tamra Bonvillain, Colorist

Ray – 8.5/10

Ray: A running problem with Future State is that these two-issue miniseries are rather rushed, which is a shame because this one had a status quo I would love to see explored. Phillips will be giving us more of her unique take on Harley in a solo series later, but this issue has to tie up a lot of stories. As we saw last issue, the main target for Harley and Crane is Roman Sinois, aka the Black Mask. Despite the Magistrate’s anti-mask laws, the crime boss is still conducting business as usual as he ambushes and tortures a local politician for double-crossing him in the opening segment. Harley and Crane investigate the crime scene, but it soon becomes clear there’s trouble in paradise. Harley might have taken the deal to join the Magistrate’s forces, but she’s far on board with the more straight-laced Crane’s approach to fighting crime. It’s an interesting dynamic with a new type of partnership for Harley.

Corruption and poison. Via DC Comics.

Of course, it’s clear from the dialogue that Crane—no matter how much he boasts about being reformed—is far from sane and stable. His inner Scarecrow is coming out again, and Harley is more than willing to help him down that path if it helps her interests. The final showdown with Black Mask delivers some great creepy visuals as two iconic Bat-rogues team up against one of Gotham’s deadliest, but the art switch-ups this issue kind of distract at times—it’s not nearly as smooth as the visuals on the first issue. The ending doesn’t quite resolve the entire storyline, with a lot of subplots involving Crane still hanging, but it’s good enough to feel satisfying. This was really more of a tease than anything for Phillips’ solo run, and I don’t think this two-part flash-forward quite showed off 100% of the potential. But this take on Harley is both new and familiar, and I can’t wait to see it fleshed out long-term by a talented writer like Phillips.

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