Harley has just taken on the Penguin and kicked him out of Coney Island… Now she is on a tirade hunting the one hunting her even though everyone seems to believe she is crazy, but she insists she is not crazy so shut up! No, you! You’re the crazy one!
Harley Quinn #43
Writer: Christopher Sebela
Artist: Mirka Andolfo
Cover Artist: John Timms
Colorist: Gabe Eltaeb
Publisher: DC Comics
What You Need to Know:
Penguin arbitrarily decided to set New York in his sights as the base for his new criminal empire. With the Help of Dr. Hugo Strange and False-Face, they trick Harley into moving out of Coney Island and starting her own bounty hunting business called Harley4Hire. After some interference from the Harley Gang, but not really, she finally breaks free of the crime lords control and gathers together her gang and Deadpoo– I mean Red Tool as well as some of her friends such as Catwoman, Poison Ivy, and Powergirl to take on the rest of the Batman Rogues Gallery. After a harrowing, but also a semi uneventful fight involving Giant Penguins vs. a Giant Daisy kaiju battle on the streets of the city, she finally takes the waddling villain and his sidekick, Lark, down. Now with Coney safe and being rebuilt, she says her goodbyes to her gang once again to start her new adventure under the pen of a new writer who, hopefully, has some semblance of a path for her to take that isn’t completely rife with played out antics and silliness.
What You’ll Find Out:
We open the scene with Harley at the “Justice League Watchtower” trying to “save the world” until we see time has run out and she gets fed up smashing through the wall of what turns out to be an Escape Room. After a very short confrontation with the attendant of the place, she runs off into the streets talking to her somehow decomposing taxidermied Beaver about how she feels people and even the world are out to get her. The dead beaver, ironically, is the one telling her all of this is in her head as she’s “seeing” what appears to be wraiths or malevolent spirits all around her.
In her terrorized state, Harley runs across a gourmet deli she apparently loves and reminisces about the owners, Iggy and Nina, allowing her to run up a huge tab and have an open door for her anytime, which is rationalized by Harley as most likely because it’s a 24/7 deli. Before entering, she notices that there is police tape blocking the doorway as they have just been the victims of a robbery.
After ignoring the owner’s pleas that this robbery did not have anything to do with her, Harley insists it did as it is a ploy to get her attention and attack the places she loves to go. She takes it upon herself to look for clues, making an even bigger mess in the meantime and comes across a paper with a boot print and a word written across, “ZERSTORE.” She then decides she needs to head to the university to find someone smart enough to translate the word for her because google translate is apparently too difficult for her to navigate on her smartphone that’s she’s seen carrying around in previous issues. Well, after finding some random nameless professor we will most likely never see again… at least outside of this arc, we find out the word actually means “DESTROY.”
Eventually, Harley is lead to an alleyway where she finds a seemingly homeless man that she names Frank all wrapped up in bandages, including his face. She chases him through a few streets until he decides to jump into a river to “cleanse” himself. Harley deliberates if she really wants to save him, but in the end, does jump in to rescue the drowning hobo. Directly after saving him, we do get a look at his face which is entirely deformed looking. “Frank” explains that is was Professor Pyg who turned him into this and how he does not care about Harley, he just wants to turn the whole city into Dollotrons.
Harley follows “Frank” to look for Professor Pyg so that she might stop him from implementing his plan. He leads her into a sewer when the floor actually cracks and breaks sending them onto the floor below and right in the middle of a meeting of a cult called The Reaper where the issue actually ends. Good thing she brought her giant mallet, I guess.
What Just Happened?
Well, it seems that Harley, having a very severe episode of paranoia has stumbled her way into the schemes of not one, but two different villains this time. Professor Pyg, who we haven’t actually met in the book yet, wants to turn the city into Dollotrons, which are hypnotized surgical pets. The Reaper, a gang who wants to take over the city as well though, what I can only imagine is, fear and violence? Is that really enough to try and take over the city of New York? Have they even met a real New Yorker? We don’t scare easy. Anyway, that’ll be their mistake to make not ours.
As far as Harley’s episode of paranoia is concerned, she seems to very quickly drop that once “Frank” explains about Professor Pyg. The issue is a bit fast paced and I would honestly really love to delve a little deeper about her paranoia, but I’m not really sure there will be actual time to do so in the story arc.
Rating: 6 /10
This is Sebela’s first issue after Tieri’s run and it’s an interesting start. He is using a pretty dark aspect of the Batman mythos in Professor Pyg and while I’m pretty impressed with that, I’m not sure the dark tone of the villain really matches the cartoony and silly feel of the rest of the book I only recently decided to start picking up Harley Quinn and have been a bit disappointed by the fact that it is entirely self-contained and fits solely in its own pocket universe. A character like Harley should be a lot more compelling to read than just as a Deadpool knock off traversing the city of New York causing a bit of chaos in her tread. I wanted to see a bit more psychology in the mix, which we did sorta get with her paranoia, but I doubt it will be delved into more deeply than as a cheap gimmick. All in all, I’m not really sure who the target demographic is, but I don’t quite think I am it. Only time can tell.