After attending New York Comic Con this year, I suffered from an acute case of Harley fatigue. You couldn’t turn a corner without being bombarded by “Daddy’s Little Monster” shirts, “Property of Joker” bomber jackets or “Rotten” faux tattoos. There’s a reason she’s such a popular character though, and it has very little to do with the lackluster Suicide Squad movie, even if most of the cosplays seen this year were inspired by Margot Robbie’s portrayal. No, Harley endures because she’s unique, she’s funny, and she’s more than a little batshit insane.
Her latest scheme involves creating a punk rock band to infiltrate the scene for information. Is it good?
Harley Quinn #6 (DC Comics)
I was really into the punk scene as a teenager, and on a certain level I still am. My friends and I went through a months long phase of hanging out nearly every Friday night to watch GG Allin’s Hated in a potent combination of ironic amusement and disgust. So when I saw Harley Quinn was masquerading as “GG Harlin,” the frontwoman for a punk band named GG Harlin and the Skull Bags, I was pretty excited. And the issue doesn’t disappoint–the main hook of seeing Harley front a punk band is a hell of a lot of fun. I laughed out loud a few times at the lyrics (“Anarchy in the ‘frigerator / The milk is sour and the meat’s a hater / The eggs are rotten, the cheese used ta be greater / The cake’s turned into a bowel invader / an’ I wanna eat it anyway”)–of course, they sound a little more The Beets than The Clash, but it works. And anyone familiar with GG Allin will enjoy some of the references in the opening scene.
The story actually gets moving quite a bit this issue, and it’s fun to see Harley doing reconaissance work in such a ridiculous situation, all the while making members of the opposing band fall for her (she has a way about her, doesn’t she?). It’s not all about her though, as supporting characters have their moments too–Eggy deadpanning his upbringing was pretty funny, and Deadpool Red Tool had some solid one liners as usual.
There’s a flashback scene involving Harley and The Joker that carries some emotional weight in the middle too, so it’s not all just gags. It’s important to tether Harley to reality and remind us of how she got to be the way she is, and this flashback does so with aplomb.
I thought the art in this issue was great, even better than last issue despite being drawn by the same artist (John Timms). Harley looks great in her punk rock outfit, backgrounds look great, and the line work looks a bit more solid this time around. The Joker flashback is drawn by Jill Thompson, who makes it feel entirely unique to the rest of the issue and really gives it that dreamlike quality.
Is It Good?
Harley Quinn‘s always a blast to read. This issue felt like a step up from the last one, too–just as funny, but with a bit more to chew on and a situation we haven’t seen her in before. I hope Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti write Harley Quinn forever. As long as they do, I’ll keep reading it.