We are just one more issue away from the finale of Harley Quinn and Power Girl. Have you stuck with it so far? If yes, then you’re all set for another fun installment of space zany. If not, you might enjoy picking this up in trade as it’s sure to make a fabulous one-off.
Maybe the best thing about this adventure is how much it deviates from the main series and absolutely can stand alone. Fans of Power Girl don’t have to read Harley Quinn to make sense of this adventure and even though the storyline ties in to Power Girl’s appearance in the regular series, you can absolutely enjoy this independently of the main title.
That gives the writers (Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Conner, and Justin Gray) license to go all sorts of crazy within the pages and they take every opportunity to do so. This book is for everyone who ever complained that comic books take themselves too seriously.
Bats in the Belfry
The story so far has set up a series of obstacles, each bigger and badder than the last, and this issue introduces the “Bighead Space-God”, Harvester of Sorrow who has wiped out whole systems with his special brand of psychological warfare. This guy is so big and so bad that his very pores are pits of bottomless despair.
The Bighead Loometh
Stephane Roux and Flaviano tag-team the art in this one and the book looks great: the break in duties is well-placed so even though the styles are a little different, it’s not jarring at all. Flaviano does Harley justice, and the craziness of what goes on in the Bighead’s big head is well served by some interesting page layouts (one in particular, in which we see the fracture of what Harley’s mental state must be like 24-7). I love, too, how crazy Flaviano depicts Harley as she emerges from the experience: that’s one scary expression! It’s especially a nice contrast to Roux’s renderings, as he tends to emphasize more of what’s comical about Harley’s body language (as opposed to what’s homicidally bonkers). It’s interesting, too, to see this side of Harley here because up until now the book has largely focused on her wackiness rather than her outright psychopathy.
With the baddies all dispatched, one has to wonder what the final issue will be about, but lest you’ve forgotten, Vartox is still smitten with Peej, whom he mistakes for his lover. And so this issue ends on a cliffhanger that ought to lead us to a wedding far more dramatic and high-stakes than anything we saw last week in any other comic book that featured a wedding. Yeah, I’m actually looking forward to this one!
Also, just a quick thumbs up for another great cover from Amanda Conner and Paul Mounts!
A Few Cards Short of the Deck
There’s a weird moment in the book in which Harley comes into contact with her spirit animal, who apparently is the King of Bollywood, actor Shah Rukh Khan, who obliges her with a line from his role in Dilwale Dulhania le Jayenge. At least I believe that’s what we’re looking at here. I was a little thrown by the jacket he’s wearing because it has a patch that says Rahul and then camp something (couldn’t decipher it). I don’t know Bollywood all that well, so I couldn’t tell if Rahul was a reference to another film or character. It’s a funny moment, but I don’t know if it’ll work for everyone. I suspect a lot of people might blink at it and move on.
I feel the writers did a good job of upping the ante on the manner in which Harley manages to take out the Bighead. No spoilers here, but I was much amused to see the invocation of Harley’s most important past playmate. The “science” of it all makes no sense whatsoever, but just roll with it: Harley manages to short-circuit the Harvester using her unique brand of crazy. It’s an interesting moment to say the least and I’m not sure what, if anything, it says about what’s actually in Harley’s head (let alone why or how). And perhaps it’s not to be thought of too deeply, but merely accepted at face value and that works, but some might find it a bit of a stumper.
Artwise, a couple of minor ‘plaints:
The first is the inconsistency of Vartox’s costume. Flaviano isn’t on the same page in terms of what Vartox should be wearing when Harley returns from the depths of Bighead’s head. He’s still got all the slave bling on his chest and arms, which Roux omits at the beginning and ending framework. It’s minor, but noticeable. Doesn’t impact the storytelling in the least except as a bit of a distraction to anyone who pays attention to that sort of thing. To be honest, I didn’t notice it on the first read-through, but there you have it.
The second blip occurs when it comes to the “manscaping” scene in which Harley takes out her frustrations on Vartox’s face. The art in this moment is a little bizarre: we get the sense that she’s literally ripped Vartox’s lip off, but that’s not really what’s drawn in the moment. Would it have been too gruesome? Surely we’ve seen worse in a Harley Quinn comic. The fact that the ‘stache seems to clearly have a backing of raw, bloody skin on it when she flings it at Peej suggests this should have been much more graphic.
Bighead Harvester is about to get schooled in madness
- You want to see the effects of poking into Harley’s brain (not good!)
- You have no love for Vartox’s pornstache (or conversely, you love it so much)!
- Space crazies continues to be a nice change of pace from the gritty streets of Gotham.
While the Harvester of Sorrows turns out to be no match for Harley’s (literally) mind-boggling (and mind-exploding) mental machinations, and while it’s a little bit unclear how exactly Harley’s “infected” brain caused a chain-reaction that could bring down such a monolith, what’s important is that this is funny and fun and both Roux and Flaviano bring their A-game to make all of the characters as large as the life with which they are infused through the writing. Always ridiculous, and always entertaining, the finale next month should be quite the doozy!