Harley Quinn #52
Trapped in a future he doesn’t understand, Captain Triumph can’t battle his way out of our modern world, as all his efforts lead to disaster. That causes him to butt heads and trade punches with his would-be protector, Harley Quinn. Can Harley talk her way out of this clash? And more importantly, where’s she getting a time machine so she can send Captain Triumph home?
Harley Quinn is back with the second issue in the ‘Triumph’ arc from writer Sam Humphries. Captain Triumph could have easily been a one-dimensional caricature of superheroes, but instead, he turns out to be a heartfelt character who explores the concept of continuity uniquely well. His origin story was brief but meaningful and even featured a few witches just in time for Halloween. More importantly, though, the issue explores the impact of nostalgia in a remarkable way, even wrapping up with an emotional connection to Harley’s troubled past.
Using classic comic book narratives mixed with a self-aware twist proved to be a great method of exploring Harley’s continuity crushing adventure back in issue #50. Writer Sam Humphries’ ideas on continuity have created a Harley Quinn story that delves into not just her place in the DC Universe, but in our fandom as well. Captain Triumph drives this point home when he bids farewell and states “the only way out is to move forward”. For a character who is often referred to as “the Joker’s girlfriend” or something similar, Harley is no stranger to the lasting impacts of nostalgia. This story touches on these struggles beautifully without feeling forced or contrived in any way.
The artistic direction behind Sam Humphries stories is really what sets this series apart though, and Harley Quinn #52 shows that things can always get better. Everything from Cho’s variants to Dave Sharpe’s letters contribute to the visual quality of the issue. Harley’s ability to convey such a wide range of emotions thanks to artists Sam Basri and Alex Sinclair make stories like this possible, really. Her complexity requires a stunning amount of attention to detail, and the artistic team delivers on every page.
After all of the tears and nostalgia, the issue closes with an introduction of Minor Disaster, someone determines to gain their father’s attention and “go viral”…in more than just one way. There isn’t much to go on, but she certainly has the potential to add some dark whimsy, so it will be interesting to see what happens next.
Despite a particularly high level of wackiness, even for a Harley Quinn comic, the story is able to find its heart through a positive message on continuity as a whole. It’s a fun read that is sure to entertain, but it also has some valuable insight for those willing to look for it. In short, Harley Quinn does it again!
Harley Quinn #52 is full of the action and humor that only she can bring, but it also uses the concept of continuity to explore some interesting questions about our fandom and comic books in general.
Harley Quinn #52: Romanticizing the Past
Writing - 9/109/10
Storyline - 8/108/10
Art - 8/108/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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