The penultimate issue of Harley Quinn Black + White + Red is out this week and it’s written by Harley Quinn cartoon writer and producer Patrick Schumacker, with art by Eleonora Carlini. The new issue is all about Harley trying to fit in at the Legion of Doom. Hilarity ensues.
This issue is topical, and laugh-out-loud funny. The issue’s humor comes from the unexpected corporate nature of the Legion of Doom and how they are run. We open with Harley learning she’s joining the Legion of Doom, and she’s so excited. Soon though, she learns the boardroom meetings are boring, focused on optics, and otherwise totally not a fun place to be. Lex Luthor is the boss, and he shakes down the various villains at the table who include Scarecrow, Bane, Joker, and others all of which are used to the shout-fest and say nothing. If you’ve ever sat through a meeting at work you’ll feel for Harley, who is very surprised by the nature of this group.
The hilarity revolves around Lex attempting to get resolutions out of his team, but most of them are quite lame or connected to pop culture understandings. Black Adam, for instance, suggests two-factor identification as a solution and he’s promptly insulted by Lex and takes it. References to Taylor Swift and the like make the book fun and bubbly, and there’s even commentary on Joker’s tattoos from Suicide Squad. This well-timed dialogue continues on with a great scene between Bane and Harley. Once again, your expectations of the evil mastermind of Bane are flipped to make Bane seem quite ordinary and actually approachable. It’s a fun take and you’ll find a bit of joy in a different approach.
What makes this book stand out the most is how Harley wants to fit in, but when disrespected by an authority figure — in this case Lex Luthor — that just won’t stand. She stands up for herself, even when she wants something and it might ruin getting it. It’s also a nice juxtaposition to see how drab and boring other villains are when Harley usually just wants to have some fun.
Art by Carlini is great with cool digital effects like blur and layering drawing your eye. Characters feel almost like cels from an animated movie layered on top of backgrounds. It helps distinguish the character and make them pop. Other elements like lens flares help draw the eye and add texture to the art. The actual figures have a hand-drawn sketchy look that plays well with the effects. Comedy works best with good timing and good reactions all of which play well on each character’s face.
It’s always interesting when we get to see superheroes, or this case villains, living a life similar to ours. How can their lives be as boring as ours? Schumacker and Carlini do a great job capturing the ordinary in the extraordinary backroom dealings of the Legion of Doom. When you think about it, there’s probably nothing more evil than the Legion of Doom as an average corporation hyper-focused on stocks, employees, and how they are perceived by the public. Harley Quinn Black + White + Red #13 is another example of how creative and different the digital-first series can be, maximizing enjoyment in a shorter but still fulfilling package. Patrick Schumacker and Eleonora Carlini have created a funny, relatable, and pop-culture savvy Harley Quinn story. At 99 cents you’d be silly not to add a pop of fun to your day
You can order Harley Quinn Black + White + Red #13 digitally today.