Harley Quinn #7 Review

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The classic cartoon duo of Harley and Ivy are together again, but it’s not all fun and games, as someone has put out a hit on the former Doctor Quinzel.  What to do now?  Your Major Spoilers review of Harley Quinn #7 awaits!

HarleyQuinn7CoverHARLEY QUINN #7
Writer: Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti
Artist: Chad Hardin
Colorist: Alex Sinclar & Paul Mounts
Letterer: John J. Hill
Editor: Katie Kubert
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
Previously in Harley Quinn:  Once the Joker’s psychiatrist, Doctor Harleen Quinzel was seduced by his demeanor and slid into her own madness, becoming the vigilante Harley Quinn.  Serving as a member of Amanda Waller’s Suicide Squad, Harley has been through a lot, including the revelation that the Joker is no longer the man that she knew.  Having settled in Brooklyn, she has built a new life as an assassin, but has been hampered by the fact that she’s being targeted by other hired killers every night.  Luckily, she even has new friends, and Poison Ivy has assisted her in finding out from where her mysterious antagonist has been posting the price on her head…

The posts are coming from Harley’s own laptop.

NOT HIDING THE SUBTEXT

This issue opens with a fun sequence of Harley and Ivy at the beach, discussing their current situation and they strange position in which they find themselves.  One of the best parts of the Harley/Ivy relationship in the old Batman animated series came in the little hints that they’re more than just fellow criminals, but in fact a couple.  This issue plays into that, with the twosome bonding, torturing a couple of guidos who try to get their attention, and eventually heading home to set a trap for the person who they believe has been breaking into Harley’s apartment.  As they go through their evening, Harley is openly flirting with Poison Ivy, suggesting that the computer login and password might be “Kiss me” and “Now”, all the while hanging out and eating Chinese takeout.  It’s all cute domestic stuff, and when Ivy tries to get Harley to go to bed so the secret hacker can sneak in, we get an extended sequence of Harley bouncing about, unable to relax.  When she actually falls asleep, Ivy slips into the closet to see who arrives, only to have my suspicions confirmed when Harley suddenly rises from her bed, picking up her talking pet beaver, and logging in to up the bounty on her own head, the better to wipe out all her competition.  It’s a goofy plot, one that doesn’t really both with making a big deal of hiding the truth, but things get complicated when two assassins bust through the window with fatal intent…

GRAPHIC MURDEROUS MAYHEM

The second half of the book is a little bit disturbing for me, for a couple of reasons.  First, Amanda Conner has done her usual wonderful job of making our main characters super-cute and tiny bit cartoony, lulling me into a false sense of security about what to expect from this series, so when Harley takes her kitchen knives and begins murdering her would-be assassins, it’s a disturbing moment.  During the (excellently rendered) fracas, Harley’s computer is destroyed, leaving the huge bounty on her head.  Fortunately, they have a lead, which leads to more of the old ultra-violence.  The tongue-in-cheek take on the character with the massive blood loss reminds me more than a little bit of Marvel’s Deadpool, but with enough personality to differentiate her from Wade.  Interestingly, my concern about the violence isn’t that Harley is a female protagonist, but that it feels a bit too much like the grim, murderous New 52 DCU impinging on what seems to want to be a lighter, comedic adventure story.  The artwork also helps on that score, delivering a lot of personality and humor, and I rather enjoy the idea that Harley is (or wants to be) in a romantic relationship with Poison Ivy, a nice subtext to the whole issue.

THE BOTTOM LINE: DEADPOOL WITH PIGTAILS

To be honest, any issue that features a plot point of Harley Quinn in her black-and-red flannel jammies too excited to sleep while Poison Ivy gets her a glass of warm milk is an issue that I’m going to be enamoured with, and this issue fulfills that promise.  Given my worries about how dark and brutal Harley was at the beginning of the New 52 (Suicide Squad was not a book that seems conducive to the silliness of Harley’s character), it’s good to see that our hero is still the character that many of us remember her to be.  Harley Quinn #7 has some issues with balancing funny and bloody, but is mostly a breezy, fun adventure with lovely art, and a few adventure hooks for future stories, earning a very impressive 4 out of 5 stars overall.  I hope Poison Ivy remains in the supporting cast here, because the interactions between these two women really make this issue pop…