Art is unbelievably important to a comedic comic book. So often too detailed art, or just art that’s not goofy enough can throw all the comedy off. Artist Elsa Charretier takes over this week on Harley Quinn–is it good?
Harley Quinn #30 (DC Comics)
So what’s this book about? The official DC summary reads:
As Harley’s monthly series comes to an end, the world prepares for twice as much Harley when her new series debuts in August! And you’d better believe Harley’s burning the place down on the way out the door…
Why does this book matter?
We’re going to be seeing a lot of this character now that a movie practically starring her is out in a few weeks. We gotta deal with it, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun! Writers Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti have shown they have the chops to make the character funny, fun, and downright likeable. That’s saying something for a girl who’s basically unhinged.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Feed the beast!
Charretier completely won me over with this issue and it all starts with a fantastic full page spread of Harley and many DCU characters sitting in a theater watching a movie. Batman, Power Girl, Wonder Woman, Superman, and Deadshot are all there with Harley wearing a beer hat and munching on popcorn. The cartoon strip look works quite well and it’s the type of page you can easily sit and stare at for a lengthy period.
Now that’s fun.
The art beyond that is great too, especially some psychedelic weirdness as Harley attempts to make it back into her theater after attempting to refill her popcorn. Later, when Harley is walking about not in make up the emotional resonance of characters in need of help isn’t lost, which is spectacular given the cartoony look. Harley helps an old man find a new friend and Charretier holds on him looking sad, then we see Harley crying, and in another the same old man with his head hung low.
The script ain’t bad either! Palmiotti and Conner infuse the script with their customary just-underneath-the-surface dirty humor (examples include an old man wetting himself while being carried by Harley and whether or not Harley shaves her pubic hair). The opening pages are a lot of fun as Harley’s world literally falls apart and this cleverly reveals yet another good act that Harley undertakes for herself. Overall they do a good job reminding us Harley is all about helping the little guy and her sweetness is infectious. She particularly shows it to a guy who stole a seat on the subway from a pregnant woman. It all wraps up beautifully too with a nice moment for Harley and Poison Ivy.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The story falls apart just a bit around the two thirds mark as a buff muscular dude who I guess is supposed to represent a bully is introduced, but that’s never really hammered home. Instead he just seems like some dude (with a really dumb poop related name) which doesn’t help the reader sympathize with Harley when she takes him out.
Aka Suicide Squad.
Is It Good?
This is like a nice sweet piece of candy. It’s fantastic to start, grows a bit dull in the middle, but when you take the crunch at the end it’s satisfying as hell. And above all else, Harley Quinn is sweet.
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