Old Lady Harley #1
After liberating New York City from her now-feral Gang of Harleys, poor Harley wants nothing more than to slip back into retirement in her coastal (and heavily guarded) paradise. But the Laughing Boys Gang has another idea—they’ll follow her to the ends of the Earth, to drag her back to their leader! It can’t actually be...him! Right?! He couldn’t possibly still be alive, could he? After all...Harley killed him herself with her bare hands! Should she turn to President Power Girl for help? Or flee to the 51st state, Atlantis? Step into an insane vision of a future DC Universe we all better hope we don’t live to see!
Old Lady Harley is back in her brand new 5-issue miniseries! Issue #1 picks up where Harley Quinn #42 left off, first building this crazy world by showing instances like President Power Girl and Harley Quinn’s downfall, then throwing readers right into a classic bar fight…with a squid. It’s a story that works well on many different levels, exploring the hypothetical scenario of Harley Quinn in a Mad Max world filled with DC characters and whimsical creatures, and also delving deeper into the implications of Harley’s complicated past.
While the Laughing Boys gang and the Joker’s looming presence sets up a larger story, this issue’s surprise actually comes from the Batfamily. Gotham has seemingly been taken over by the Bat, and with the citizens on curfew, we are introduced to an army of Azrael robots who overpower Harley and Red Tool. This is where we are introduced to none other than Batman Beyond. It was a surprise reveal that the end needed, and as a fan, it was just downright exciting. The twist was unexpected and really changed the whole dynamic of the story.
Writer Frank Tieri manages to capture an interesting concept that the character of Harley Quinn has recently been exploring (thanks in part to Harley Quinn writer Sam Humphries), and that is the notion of continuity and its perceived impact on the DC Universe. Using Harley as a catalyst to explore a broader scope of the DC Universe opens up the possibility to tell a whimsical story that lends itself to the tragic humor of Harley’s character. Though more importantly, it emphasizes her emotional journey so far.
Old Lady Harley #1 succeeds most when it explores the deepest layers of her story and the possible consequences of her actions. The story stumbles slightly in its willingness to feature Red Tool rather than Harley though. He is a supportive character that can be entertaining in the right circumstances, but he seems to take the attention off of Harley in the wrong moments at times.
The creative team behind this miniseries doesn’t fail to deliver one of the most astonishing issues yet, with artist Inaki Miranda’s truly impressive illustrations brought to life by De La Cruz’s colors. Even some of the subtler parts of Harley’s dialogue are executed exceptionally well, like the use of red and blue for her emphasis. Dave Sharpe’s letters help to make this Elseworld style comic feel like a real Harley Quinn book.
Overall, the issue is a spectacle that hits all of the right notes for Harley’s character. What could have easily been a gimmick for the character turns out to be an original and wildly entertaining story that asks some interesting questions about the character. Old Lady Harley #1 brings in fan favorite characters and takes readers into a truly insane future of the DC Universe, but more importantly, it doesn’t forget what makes Harley such a great and timeless character. It has action, emotion, and plenty of jokes…plus you get to see Harley knocking the head off of Azrael with a bat.
What more could you want, really?
Old Lady Harley #1 is a dystopian tale that finds Harley struggling against past demons and futuristic technology, but it also doesn’t forget to just have fun. It’s a whimsical and entertaining story that shows why Harley Quinn is such a valuable character to DC Comics.
Old Lady Harley #1: Clockjerk Orange
Writing - 8/108/10
Storyline - 10/1010/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 9/109/10
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