Review: Harley Quinn #4
Harley Quinn started off with a bang with a hysterical #0 issue, but has slowly been dipping in quality since then. #4 continues the aimless feel of the series while jokes fly by without landing.
Harley Quinn #4 is filled with great ideas for a series about Mr. J’s favorite girl. For some reason though, none of them work together to build a cohesive feel for a series. Harley feels like an aimless character that jumps from mini-story to mini-story without any thread pulling them all together. The B-story about Harley running around to take vengeance on the family of a grandmother feels like a filler story to Harley’s continuous problem of assassins chasing her. It has its moments of craziness, but it feels inconsequential to the rest of the issue. Taken apart and developed deeper, we’d have an enjoyable issue. There is plenty of material in Harley being a psychiatrist for normal people, as well as avenging the wronged patients. Also, why hasn’t there been a scene devoted to her roller derby team yet? All of these sub plots feel like spinning plates with Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti realizing a plate is about to fall so they throw a quick hard spin on it.
The fourth wall breaking aspects of the #0 issue need to come back. The humor hasn’t been the same since that first issue. DC seems to be treating Harley Quinn like Deadpool, but it is not working. Take the current volume of Deadpool, which is becoming one of the best runs since Joe Kelly’s run in the 90’s. The humor is built off the story, which adds relevance and thusly funnier than a random joke. In Harley Quinn #4, we just get Harley saying random crazy things. While occasionally funny, it relies on the reader accepting that this is the only humor in the issue. With Deadpool (when written correctly) there is a variety of written and visual jokes. That’s what the #0 issue had. The fourth wall breaking was just one type of humor that Conner and Palmiotti were utilizing. The one scene that had me laughing out loud was the intricate Han vs Greedo homage. I didn’t even notice it was happening right away but was giddy once it clicked in my head.
Stephane Roux takes over from Chad Hardin this month, and the quality shows. Roux is a great fill in artist for this series, and she has the look and feel that Hardin has established, but her pencils seem rushed at points. I want to think that it was a quick notice and Roux did her best to finish the issue with the highest quality possible. While Harley has plenty of energy throughout #4, other characters seem stiff like an action figure. Paul Mounts’ colors are worthy of note though, as he blends the white of Harley’s skin in with the makeup nicely. It’s a believable tint that shows Harley can’t keep her true self completely hidden, no matter how hard she tries.
Harley Quinn #4 gets 2.5/5.
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