For basically the entirety of its run, Harley Quinn: Black + White + Red is a must-read. It offers unique storytelling, impressively different writing angles on Harley Quinn, and is a bargain at 99 cents. We’ve passed the midway point for the 14-part series with issue #8, out today by Daniel Kibblesmith and Marguerite Sauvage. This week it’s the “End Of The Line” for Harley as she attempts to stop a runaway train — a runaway plot!
This issue sets up a rather simplistic plot, but that’s all a facade for a funny and outrageous comic. It opens with Harley on the subway getting annoyed with fellow patrons, soon missing her stop, and then going on a wacky adventure as she has to cut through Subway Pirates, Sourpuss Sluggers, and even ninjas. It’s a reminder that Harley might be outlandish at times, but sometimes the world around her can be even more so.
This series has been able to show how unconventional storytelling really lets artists go nuts, and I mean that in a good way. Just look at Sauvage’s art below:
It seems that forcing creators to use black, white, and red makes for some inventive uses of color. This issue is no different, and Sauvage leans into the attention-grabbing stuff, like the striking lines pointing at Harley in the last page above, or the use of red dots to highlight the red in Harley’s cheeks. She stands out in every panel and that’s important since so many pages stand out in striking ways.
This book is very inventive in how it tells its story. At one point Harley goes into “side scroller” mode (think the 2D Super Mario games) and each page serves as an entire section of the subway train. It follows Harley from left to right similar to the phantom movement we’ve seen in Spider-Man comics. It adds a lot of energy and action to a page. There’s nothing static about this book, drawing your attention with striking punches that zig-zag from top to bottom of a page to a train flying off the rails with the train in solid gray tones and everything behind it in a polarized red, black, and white. It’s tons of fun.
Similar to previous issues of this book (issue #1 and issue #2 are incredible in their own ways), this book is only 20 pages long but reads like it’s far longer. There’s a deep need to linger on pages thanks to the creative ways the story is told. In a lot of ways, this series is an example of how when comic book art isn’t encumbered with continuity and general expectations of the format, it can be a far better experience.
Add Harley Quinn: Black + White + Red #8 to the stack of an already better than expected, totally delightful, and can’t-miss series. Kibblesmith and Sauvage’s Harley Quinn: Black + White + Red is a delight, visually engaging, and awash with energy and personality.