Harley Quinn #53
Harley and failed Female Fury Petite Tina go road-tripping! With their lives a roaring dumpster fire, Harley and Tina decide to get out of town for a mini-vacay, and wind up driving each other crazy instead. An unplanned detour leads them to run afoul of a new baddie called Minor Disaster, whose so-called “Disaster Dial” only causes small calamities such as texting your ex and pooping your pants. Harley and Tina must now put their differences aside to stop Minor Disaster before she spells disaster for them both!
Following her confrontation with a Golden Age superhero after a continuity crushing adventure, Harley finds herself back to square one in the first issue of the ‘Minor Disasters’ arc. This is a concept writer Sam Humphries has used multiple times now to explore a more grounded Harley Quinn with relatable problems, but this story offers an interesting twist that questions the fan’s perceptions of the character. With Harley forced into making online videos to maintain stardom for money, we see her struggling with the pressures of wild expectations. This makes for a unique comparison to readers and their demands for a crazier and crazier Harley Quinn.
While the issue primarily explores Harley’s disastrous attempts at online popularity, it plays off of the consequences from previous issues and expands on her story in an enjoyable way. While these issues can often be seen as just the insane hijinks of Harley Quinn, writer Sam Humphries has managed to continue her story with each new issue in an interesting way that incorporates a more relatable sense of character development overall.
Unfortunately, this issue just misses the mark in excitement. Harley is a character that can absolutely hold her own in heavy dialogue sequences, but the ones found primarily in this issue feel cumbersome. The message of Harley being forced to always deliver new and crazy stories to maintain viewership is an interesting exploration into some core aspects of the character, but that message seems to have come at a cost of the issue’s general entertainment value. This fact is somewhat emphasized by the new villain Minor Disaster, who contributes to the seemingly inconsequential nature of the issue with mundane events gone wrong.
With Lucas Werneck providing excellent illustrations, Harley Quinn #53 remains one of DC Comics more impressive ongoing titles visually. Alex Sinclair’s colors have helped to define the character throughout the various interconnected stories, and though this issue doesn’t have many action heavy scenes, there are plenty of beautifully presented panels to keep reader’s attention.
It may be a terrible thing to say, but the issue about Harley trying and ultimately failing to please everyone just doesn’t offer enough excitement. There are a few solid jokes and a more revealing message than anyone would expect about the character herself, but hopefully things start to pick up with the next issue.
Harley Quinn #53 explores the expectations surrounding such a whimsical character, but doesn’t offer anything particularly exciting or consequential for readers…aside from seeing Harley try to jump the Coney Island pier on a motorcycle while blinded from cutting onions, of course.
Harley Quinn #53: I Cuddle With Danger!
Writing - 7/107/10
Storyline - 6/106/10
Art - 8/108/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 8/108/10
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