Tied to a stake with a Dungeons and Dragons inspired Catwoman, Harley can feel the heat begin to rise as her one-time friend Tina stokes the fire. Will Harley be able to roll a natural 20 on her escape artist skill check to escape the restraints or will her metaphorical chestnuts roast on this open fire? What do you mean she never took that skill? She has experience escaping from Arkham Asylum all of the time! Hopefully, she has more than twelve percent of a plan, because, if she fails, the entire world will be doomed to this renaissance fair madness.
“But Weepeth not, I got somethin’ better than a plan. I got a majestic stratagem.”
One of Harley Quinn #62’s strengths is that it is so incredibly fun to read. Between all of the fantasy-themed iterations of familiar Gotham City denizens and the writer’s witty dialogue, Humphries manages to inject each page with fun. Given that the nature of this trial was to test Harley’s sanity, it would have been so easy for this tale to go down a much darker path. Thankfully, Humphries is able to accomplish the same narrative goals while also maintaining a humorous tone. Even though all of the characters doubt her sanity, Harley is able to convince Catwoman with her knowledge of deeper truths and prove her sanity.
Humphries’ dialogue is always so great that I try to make mention of it in every review. With a character like Harley Quinn, I believe that the tone and her accent are always so important. One of my favorite things about the last issue was how Harley tried to emulate the fantasy speech of the other characters. Thankfully, Humphries incorporates more of these failed attempts into his script with Harley Quinn #62 and the result is just delightful. Now, I have a larger arsenal of phrases to scream the next time I get together with friends to play games.
In addition to the Enchantress’s corruption of the Knights of Gotham, we finally get to see Catwoman’s dragon. What could possibly be more awesome than Killer Croc as a dragon? I submit to you: nothing. Nothing is more awesome than Killer Croc as a dragon rebuking his former love’s actions. My only complaint here is that the Monster Men are given little to do here other than to serve as imposing figures before Killer Croc imposes his fire breath on Enchantress’ face. There is a part of me that wishes that this could become a series so that we could explore more of this world. However, I’m not sure how well this would work without Harley Quinn.
“In the name of airplanes and indoor plumbing and chocolate cookies, I shatter thee!”
Another element of this issue that I truly enjoy is the character growth that we see within Harley. Throughout each of the earlier trials, Harley eventually loses faith in herself and threatens to quit. It is only after a pep talk from Mirand’r that Harley is able to summon the strength to overcome the challenge. Harley Quinn #62 challenges this narrative structure, as the title character demonstrates the strength, and belief in her own sanity, to overcome this trial without the proverbial mound visit from her coach.
I have never been happier about being wrong when speculating about where I think a story is headed than I am with this issue. Originally, I thought that the Enchantress was meddling with the Lords of Order and Chaos’ power and that Princess Joanna was actually Mirand’r. Humphries’ resolution to this issue is so much better than I had anticipated. It is wonderfully fitting that Harley uses what others would describe has her insanity to overcome this trial. Here we see the return of Jonni DC the Continuity Cop as Harley discovers Princess Joanna’s true identity. From here, Jonni is able to prevent the destruction of our world by performing a retcon.
I am curious as to how Harley’s newfound confidence will last now that the doctor has revealed that her mother’s chemotherapy is not working. Mirand’r alludes to the fact that some of Harley’s most difficult trials are yet to come. It is hard not to wonder if one of the next trials will involve the loss of Harley’s mother. Humphries’ use of humor and satire serves him well, it will be interesting to see how Humphries will tackle such a difficult topic. Perhaps this plot development will tie in with DC’s “Year of the Villain.”
“Time fer this twisted fairy tale ta end!”
Otto Schmidt’s artwork is perfect for this issue. He is able to expertly balance the fantasy tone of Enchantress’ new world with Harley’s traditional humor. The exaggerated facial expressions that Schmidt uses add to Humphries’ humorous script. However, he is also able to convey the epic scale of the conflict once Killer Croc is released in his dragon form. Additionally, the use of shattered backgrounds to serve as a metaphor for Harley’s world shattering upon hearing the doctor’s new is so incredibly powerful.
Harley Quinn #62 is just plain fun. Between Humphries’ excellent scripting and Otto Schmidt’s excellent artwork, it is hard not to find something to enjoy about this issue. My only complaint is that I wish there was more.