Harley Quinn #9 – Stephanie Phillips, Writer; Riley Rossmo, Artist; Ivan Plascencia, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: Fear State tie-ins are all over the place, but few have captured the vibe of this event better than Stephanie Phillips’ Harley Quinn. After all, fear is all over the central concept of the series, and an opening flashback drives that point home. As the issue opens, Harley and the Ivy Seed are racing to get to the rendezvous point (that we see this week in Catwoman), and meet with all sorts of opposition along the way. Keepsake shows up, but he frankly feels rather irrelevant and annoying. I think that might be the point—he’s a try-hard and Harley has little time for him. This segment is strong, but it gets so much better towards the end when the two have a heart-to-heart about what Harley’s fears truly are and what she’s running away from. It seems like multiple books are driving home the point that yes, these two are a couple and love each other. Can a wedding miniseries be far behind?
But even better is the Kevin subplot, as the troubled former Joker henchman makes his journey from reformed criminal to hero. Last issue saw him meet a woman he formed a connection with, only to stumble into the destruction of Hugo Strange’s tower and make the decision to throw himself into harm’s way to save the other captives. His morals are soon tested when he finds out that one of the people who needs his help is Lockwood, the sadistic guard who captured him. As he battles against his morals and the elements, a gripping drama plays out in only a few pages. He makes key decisions, is betrayed, finds salvation and then has to pass it on as he gets more character development in only a few pages than some characters get in an entire run. Phillips is coming on and establishing a new status quo after several classic runs, but she’s got the makings of another all-timer for Harley here.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.