She’s on the streets and off her meds, and the cartoon characters of the multiverse better watch their step! Your Major Spoilers review of Convergence: Harley Quinn #2 awaits!
CONVERGENCE: HARLEY QUINN #2
Writer: Steve Pugh
Penciler: Phil Winslade
Inker: John Dell
Colorist: Chris Chuckry
Letterer: John J. Hill
Editor: Marie Javins
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in Convergence: Harley Quinn: For a year, Doctor Harleen Quinzel has been a mostly-stable, productive member of society under the Gotham City dome. Now, she’s back in black (and red, with a whole checkboardy thing going on), and has been chosen to battle the champion of an alternate world full of cartoon characters…
Okay, full of OTHER cartoon characters.
DID… DID SHE JUST MURDER THAT PIG?
Issue #1 of this book gave me issues as a reader, not the least of which came from the question of sensitivity to mental health issues in the portrayal of Harley. This issue opens with her seemingly killing Pig-Iron of the Zoo Crew, and using his (conveniently black) blood to paint a message on the wall for her opponent: “
Wabbit Rabbit Season!” It’s… not really all that funny, though I suppose mileage may vary. The actual combat portion of the issue is one of clever versus powerful, as Harley uses her knowledge of the turf (specifically, the amusement park) to give the illusion of many different super-powers, throwing Captain Carrot off his game. The story as presented has some structural issues, with the beginning apparently being a flash-forward to a point later in the story, but the presentation of it is awkward and confusing. (I’m on my third pass through the book, and just now noticed the transition, in the form of a caption box, that explains how it all shakes down.) The Zoo Crew tries to provide backup for their leader, but only complicates issues, while Harley’s year-long boyfriend has to deal with a little trauma at being reminded how his lady-friend is a costumed nutter…
THE DEVIL’S EX-GIRLFRIEND
The actual end of the battle is pretty anti-climactic, as the fight ends neither by combat nor by the skills of either combatant. (Harley Quinn, as always, gets by with a little help from her friends, one of whom is a renegade botanist plant-hybrid woman.) As the story ends, Harley, Ivy and Catwoman drive off into the sunset, leaving their mundane lives (and traumatized boyfriends) behind, and letting the heroes of the various worlds sort it all out. Given that the whole tale ends up being something of a Shaggy Dog story, it’s a frustrating wrap-up for a frustrating story. Harley Quinn’s character comes across as fun (albeit not always FUNNY), painting her as an almost-innocent soul in the midst of a very mean-spirited issue of comics. The art is quite strong (although both of this issue’s covers are weird and unappealing to me) and even the strange anatomy of the alien heroes looks good thanks to Winslade and Dell’s work.
THE BOTTOM LINE: NOT AS MUCH FUN AS IT WANTS TO BE
I am all for a loopy, goofy, goony-cartoony Harley Quinn leaping about and defeating people with dream logic and swift & blinding violence, but this issue never quite balances that expectation of humor with the Convergence conceit of “Everybody fight and not all of you will die.” The use of an actual cartoon doesn’t even get us entirely past that hump, and the mostly happy ending with the Gotham City Sirens hitting the road again isn’t exactly set up by the two issues of story that we got. Still, Convergence: Harley Quinn #2 is a nice looking story, and might work for those who buy into the style of humor, earning 3 out of 5 stars overall.