Harley Quinn #75
At last, it's the star-studded roast of Harley Quinn! Nothing is off-limits, no topic is out of bounds, and no one-and we mean no one!-will escape unscathed. Harley may be the funniest person in the DC Universe, but how well can she take a joke?
Plus, in a backup story illustrated by superstar artist Riley Rossmo tying into "The Joker War," Harley Quinn faces off against Punchline!
The long-running Harley Quinn ongoing series has finally reached its conclusion in issue #75 with Sam Humphries writing and a host of crazy-talented artists pulling off one more spectacular finale. It’s a dive into who the real Harley Quinn is through a predictably zany “star-studded roast” that sure knows how to pack a punch.
It’s no surprise that I am completely bummed out by this series coming to an end. Seventy-five issues is a stellar run, make no mistake, especially in an industry where first issues and reboots are quite literally the norm. Seeing a flagship character like Harley take on one of the most consistent ongoing titles at DC has been uplifting to say the least. While I know Harley certainly won’t be going anywhere anytime soon, that doesn’t stop me from being sad about seeing Humphries, Basri, and so many others exiting the series.
Since the Rebirth initiative, the Harley Quinn ongoing series has taken the framework laid in the New 52 and ran with it, taking the character into wonderful new depths of development and relatable drama. It’s been a series nearly entirely centered around her evolving identity and place within the DC Comics lineup. In Harley Quinn #75, that direction finds new prominence as we look at a multifaceted depiction of Harley and who she has become. It’s meant to be a funny roast with lighthearted humor, tying into Harley’s presence in the greater DC Universe, but it quickly unravels into an introspective look at her relationships and how she’s grown over the years. In this, the issue finds its most important success by delving into the complex identity of Harley Quinn and her own struggles to understand who she is.
With a team of awesome artists, the issue is able to do some uniquely interesting things, namely the utilization of Harley as a member of both the Justice League and the Suicide Squad with even a nod to the Batman Animated Series. This sets up a great contrast in her persona and how versatile she really is. This approach is then substantiated by the resurgence of her Mother and a heartfelt story about Harley’s childhood and fond memory of Pinky. All of these stories help to flesh out the concept of emotional awareness and how fundamental it is to both Harley’s origin and ongoing hardships.
The variation in visuals makes this issue both an incredible feat and something of a mixed bag. Some will undoubtedly love a lot of what we see in this issue, with the Suicide Squad moment being particularly impressive. But the differences are sure to also turn off a few readers as they don’t really mesh as well as they could have. It feels a bit haphazard in its structure. While I appreciate the deep dive into Harley’s identity from even a more meta perspective, I would’ve really enjoyed a cohesive message with a more impactful narrative punch.
The cameos from a huge list of supporting characters (RED TOOL!!) and a strong characterization of Harley herself helps to make this issue truly worthwhile both for new fans and longtime fans alike. It’s a finale that you might not remember for a particularly long time, as it’s too restrained to be as memorable as it had the potential to be, but it’s also one that never loses focus on the important questions the series was asking about the character. That is an admirable trait and absolutely worth even slight praise.
As we look to the future of Harley’s ever evolving identity and her place within the DC Universe, we can always look back on the heartfelt moments and development this series brought. Her mom will always stand as one of the most emotional inclusions to Harley’s upbringing and ideas about herself, and she definitely holds the most significant moment in Harley Quinn #75. It’s sad to see the series come to an end, but the future is still remarkably bright for Harley Quinn. If the ending story by Rossmo is any indication for what comes next for her, it looks like things are just going to get more intense from here.
While it's always sad to see a comic like this come to an end, Harley Quinn #75 sends the ongoing series out with a bang. It's full of wacky humor, tons of cameos and even an introspective look at the ever evolving identity of our heroine. Though we say goodbye to the series here, the future is as bright as ever for Harley Quinn!
Harley Quinn #75: A Little Story About the Real Harley Quinn
- Writing - 8/108/10
- Storyline - 8/108/10
- Art - 8.5/108.5/10
- Color - 9/109/10
- Cover Art - 9.5/109.5/10
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