Harley Quinn 2022 Annual #1 – Stephanie Phillips, Writer; Simone Buonfantino, Georges Duarte, David Baldeon, Artists; Romulo Fajardo Jr, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: This month-long Harley Quinn event has basically been pure silliness from beginning to end. How can you not like a comic where Harley gets blasted into space with a new Suicide Squad to hunt an evil shape-shifting alien that lets Harley lampshade classic sci-fi tropes up one side and down the other? The middle chapters had a little bloat, but last issue brought the antiheroes back to earth and upgraded their powers courtesy of Luke Fox for one last battle against the monster. Unfortunately, the monster has upgraded itself too, and now plans to take over the minds of every prisoner in Blackgate for a final assault.
So as you’d expect, this final issue is chaotic. Not only is there a mob of possessed prisoners to deal with, but the villain has chosen to take Orca as its final host—meaning Task Force XX has a giant whale-monster to deal with. Harley’s odd bonding sessions with her new team have been the highlight here, especially Luke Fox and Killer Frost, who get major starring roles here. I wish a little more had been done with Verdict in this comic, as she’s the biggest player in Harley’s regular title, but overall this run has been a lot of fun and sets up Harley for some future adventures as she heads back to earth.
But the fun isn’t over just yet—David Baldeon illustrates a backup story as Harley heads off to Vegas to decompress with Kevin. The two of them really need a vacation after the last two arcs, but Harley may be looking to make it permanent. Kevin is easily the best addition to this book that Stephanie Phillips has made, giving Harley someone who isn’t quite as zany but is dealing with similar issues to bounce off. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Harley vacation without some action, and she’s stalked by mysterious assassins after a surprising package she’s carrying. We’re definitely set up for a good start to the next arc here.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.