Harley Quinn #57
There’s been a murder in Gotham City, and all evidence points to just one suspect: Harley Quinn! Batman hunts Harley down on Coney Island, where they come to blows…but did she actually do the crime? Meanwhile, the Trials of Harley Quinn begin! The Lords of Order and Chaos send their harbinger Mirand’r—the ghost of a young, Earth-obsessed Tamaranean—to find a champion to complete their seven trials and become the Lords’ archangel of retribution…and Harley Quinn is their new contender!
Harley Quinn #57 feels like a return to form for the character in the best sense possible. After struggling to pay the bills and dealing with some intense family drama, Harley Quinn is back to whimsical adventures and smacking Bats in the face with her giant hammer!
Sam Humphries has taken Harley through some emotional tribulations in previous issues, delving into more relatable scenarios that have helped to provide substance for the character aside from simply being “the Joker’s girlfriend”. However, as this continues with each new issue, it is nice to know that there is still room for stories that are downright bizarre and connected to her past.
The first issue of ‘The Trials of Harley Quinn’ arc is one that is both unpredictable and rewarding. It uses the emotional toll of the previous arcs to send Harley down a path that seems to have some truly dark possibilities, using a vibrant and cheerful Tamaranean to kick things off. This contrast is where Harley works best in my opinion, and Humphries has found some really unique ways of accomplishing it.
While we are being introduced to the trials, Batman is investigating a new murder in Gotham City that leads him to believe Harley is involved. Their confrontation is a visual spectacle thanks to the artistic direction from John Timms, Alex Sinclair and Dave Sharpe. Seeing Harley swinging her hammer at Bats while mocking him for his wedding was one of the best moments of the series so far.
This action is supported with emotional development that hinges on understanding Harley’s past. Bats is unrelenting in how he treats Harley, and his refusal to believe that she “is a changed gal” sets up a confrontation between the two that just feels tragic. It will be really interesting to see this dynamic play out in the next issue!
The creative team could be onto something brilliant with ‘The Trials of Harley Quinn’. Capitalizing on dozens of issues of character development, Harley Quinn #57 blends whimsy and drama to tell one of her most engaging stories yet.
Harley Quinn #57: Let the Trials Begin!
Writing - 9.5/109.5/10
Storyline - 9.5/109.5/10
Art - 9.5/109.5/10
Color - 10/1010/10
Cover Art - 9.5/109.5/10
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