A new two part story called “Clown for Hire” kicks off today with Sam Humphries writing (read our interview with him while you’re at it) and art by Alisson Borges. Harley is back from her adventure in Apokolips and is ready to join her friends in her usual hijinks, but bills appear to be the real threat to her livelihood.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Being stuck on an alien planet for months has really messed with Harley’s finances–she’s gotta become a working stiff again just to pay off all the bills she racked up while on Apokolips! And not only is the city threatening to demolish her Coney Island apartment building if she doesn’t pay up, she’s helping failed Fury Petite Tina to adjust to life on Earth, which ain’t cheap. Sounds like it’s time for the ramen diet!
Why does this matter?
Sam Humphries is here to stay on the character for a long while so buckle up for a humorous thrill ride. He’s clearly adding new elements to Harley’s crew while developing the character’s zany adventures for those who enjoyed Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner’s run.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue does a lot of good setup to prepare us for a new order in Harley’s house. It opens with two conflicts, one being new villain Lord Death Man, and the other that Harley hasn’t paid her mortgage on time. These two conflicts come together in a funny way that only Harley could be involved in. Why not pay bills and take out new villains killing innocent folks? There’s also the introduction of Tina of Apokolips — is a giant god Harley befriended — which is just insane enough to make sense as part of Harley’s group of friends.
This issue also has a lot of fun breaking the fourth wall, utilizing montages for full comedic effect, and even giving Tina a taste of human life. Humphries is very giving with his scripting here, never dragging things out and always pushing forward. Harley is written in a way that is cooky and insane, but he hasn’t lost touch with the heart of the character either.
Borges keeps up with Humphries and then some drawing in great detail which is a necessity when so much is going on in a single page. There’s a good use of double page layouts too and the size of Tina is never lost in the panels. Colors by Gabe Eltaeb are bright and suit this character and her world quite well.
It can’t be perfect can it?
My only issue with the comic is what Harley does with Lord Death Man’s, ahem, heart in the final scenes. I’ll say no more to avoid spoilers, but is she really this sadistic? Maybe she knows it’s all a farce? I dunno man, it is weird.
Is it good?
A highly enjoyable first issue that has a good handle on the characters and an even better handle on the breakneck pace required of a comedic superhero book like this. It’s wacky, it’s fresh, and it’s so Harley.
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