REVIEW: Harley Quinn #4

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Conner and Palmiotti bring us the next installment of their Harley Quinn series. Harley starts her first day on the job as a therapist for a local nursing home. Of course, this can only mean one thing: wanton destruction, hilarious misunderstandings, and unexpected allies.

Harley QuinnCoverHARLEY QUINN #4
Writer: Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti
Artist: Stephane Roux
Colorist: Paul Mounts
Letterer: John J. Hill
Editor: Katie Kubert
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously in Harley Quinn: Harley spent a Valentine’s Day all on her lonesome. After trying out a special love-pheromone-inducing berry left behind by her bud Poison Ivy, she realized that maybe being alone on Valentine’s Day isn’t such a terrible thing after all.


BACK IN THE SADDLE AGAIN

It’s Harley’s first day on the job as a therapist for her local nursing home and, of course, it doesn’t go quite as planned. Taken with an elderly patient’s story of neglect and abandonment, Harley takes it into her own hands to give the woman’s family a what-for. A kidnapping and a quick trip down to the pier later, Harley sees that maybe there was a bit more to the story than she previously thought… and maybe she should do a little reading before she starts jumping to conclusions. Also, she still ducks and dives the occasional assassin, though, four issues in, it’s somewhat old hat by now.

So far, this series has been great as a sort of palate cleanser. If you’ve read something deep recently and need to read something light to unwind and relax with—something that doesn’t require a lot of emotional effort on the part of the reader—this has been a good one. The plot isn’t terribly deep and, really, one could pick up any given issue and not be completely lost. This particularly issue has probably been the deepest thus far, as it deals gently with the issue of how the populace treats the elderly, but, even so, it’s a good quick read if you need something proverbially fast and dirty.

That said, not everyone is looking for “light and airy.” If you want something with a ton of sustenance and hidden meaning, this really isn’t the issue, or the series, to pick up and dive into. Since the series is still getting on it’s feet, it’s likely that Conner and Palmiotti will probably introduce a deeper plot and grander thematic elements later on (and they are capable of doing so as seen by some of their other works together), but, at the moment, it remains relatively carefree and humorous instead of some of the more emotionally heavy DC books out there right now.

SHADES OF GRAY

Stephane Roux takes over for Chad Hardin in this particular issue and does a fairly good job of it. While Roux doesn’t have the hard lining or more realistic feel that Hardin does, his style does seem a little more in step with the Conner and Palmiotti writing style. In particular, his art does feel a bit like Conner’s own artwork and therefore this issue especially does seem to fall in line a little better with the narrative. It’s light and even cartoonish, but still planted in realism firmly enough to not make the art feel like “a kid’s book.”

The only real complaint with the artwork is the colors. Paul Mounts replaces Alex Sinclair in this issue and it doesn’t feel nearly as dynamic as it did. One of the great things about this series so far was the colors and how, despite this being an occasionally violent book, it felt upbeat color wise. In this issue, though, there’s a heavy gray tone to everything and it doesn’t feel as vibrant to look at, something that disjoints it a bit from the pencils and plot. Since this is, by far, the least violent issue of the Harley Quinn series, the gray overtones feel a bit out of place here.

BOTTOMLINE: NICE BREAK FROM THE DARK AND DEPRESSING

As mentioned before, this is a good book to read if you’ve just come off a different “emotionally heavy” book or need something quick to pass the time. It’s a fun book and the art is consistently up to snuff, but it’s not terribly deep or thought provoking. If you’re looking for deep and thought provoking, probably best to look elsewhere. If you’re looking for humorous and light-hearted, however, this could be a fun one to at least leaf through and doesn’t really require one to have read previous issues in order to grasp what’s going on. Overall, I’d give it about 3 out of 5 stars.