Harley Quinn #56
It’s Harley Quinn—crazy cat lady! Seems one of Harley’s tenants used to be a small-time, cat-themed crook, but now is just a lonely retiree hoarding felines in his apartment. Gross! Harley takes it upon herself to find homes for the “cat burglars,” but in trying to get them adopted, she runs afoul of the local pet store, “Men O’Paws.” But who’s gonna feed the kitties while Harley fights this turf war? And more importantly, who’ll clean their litter box?
As a guest creative team takes the lead following Harley Quinn’s previous Christmas special, we are treated with a one-shot story that seems wildly outlandish at first, but quickly delves into real-world analogies exploring the dangers of nostalgia.
Harley Quinn #56 is an excellent example of a story that can keep readers guessing with each new page. Starting with a simple tale of an elderly male cat burglar (in the most literal sense imaginable) in need of rehoming his cats, the issue snowballs into violent and hilarious clashes featuring an organized group of pet dealers determined to “preserve tradition”. It doesn’t take long to begin drawing the parallels to our modern society in the representation of these pet dealers. They don’t believe women are as capable as men, and just want things to return to the way they were for them long ago. These aspects help to frame the story from writer Mark Russell with real-world perspectives, but the sheer whimsy of what is occurring provides a great balance overall.
Where the story succeeds most is in Harley’s reaction to discovering this organization in the pet industry. It is a situation that works well for her as a character, allowing her to essentially throw herself into the mix and just cause complete mayhem. The results are both violent and hilarious, which is always a welcome aspect for any Harley Quinn tale. And with Catwoman joining the fray, the story manages to feel surprisingly substantial despite being confined to just one issue.
The artistic direction features some impressive visuals, but Dave Sharpe’s lettering once again helps to define the overall aesthetic really well. The panel design could arguably be a bit restrictive, but the characters are consistently beautiful throughout the entire issue. There are also a few shocking moments that help to give the visuals a chance to shine, such as flying attack cats and a literal amputation.
Like many Harley Quinn stories, if you can accept the pure absurdity, there is a lot to enjoy in Harley Quinn #56. Quality jokes, violence, and an awesome cameo make this an issue well worth checking out for any fan.
Harley Quinn #56 is a fun one-shot story that is surprisingly substantial. Filled with real-world relevance and whimsy beyond belief, the issue manages to deliver exactly what the series needed after a few less than stellar issues.
Harley Quinn #56: Slangin’ Cats
- Writing - 8.5/108.5/10
- Storyline - 9/109/10
- Art - 9/109/10
- Color - 9/109/10
- Cover Art - 9.5/109.5/10
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