Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey #4 – Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, Writers; Amanda Conner, Artist; Alex Sinclair, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: In the chaotic final issue of Palmiotti and Conner’s miniseries, Harley is put through the wringer—before hitting a highly satisfying conclusion. When we last left off—after a significant delay—an Arkham breakout had distracted the Birds of Prey from Joker’s plot against Harley. He’s captured Poison Ivy and lured Harley back into his clutches with the help of Harley Sinn (who is really little more than a butt monkey this issue, and looks even more unnecessary in the aftermath of Punchline). It’s rather uncomfortable to see Harley back in Joker’s clutches, especially as the villain puts Harley through torture that makes him feel more like the Jared Leto version at times. If the creative team intended us to hate him, mission accomplished—this version is absolutely vile—but it maybe goes on a bit too long. By the time Harley and Ivy hit back, it’s well earned and delivers the best action of the issue. But it’s bittersweet, because Harley may be too far gone at this point.
It’s a bit of a spoiler, but it’s also the funniest part of the issue—Harley apparently dies and goes up to the afterlife, where God and the devil proceed to have an absolutely hilarious argument over who has to take her. They ultimately can’t decide and kick her back down to Earth to recover, which is where we get some of the issue’s best moments. An injured Harley essentially spends several weeks bouncing from one friend to another’s driving them nuts, but we also get some really sweet scenes in the process. Her bonding with Cassandra Cain was probably my favorite, somewhat reminiscent of the movie except that this Cass actually feels like the real thing. Even with only a few lines in this series, this is one of the best portrayals of Cass in a while. It’s worth noting that this genuinely does feel like The End when it comes to the Palmiotti/Conner version of Harley, and that makes the last page hit differently. If this is the last act, the legendary creative team definitely delivered.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.