Last go-round I complained that this title’s wheels were turning but we didn’t seem to be getting any traction. “Isle of Sinn” gives the story the push it really needs at this juncture. We’re past the midway point now and the action/stakes are ramping up nicely.

We open with a bit of a stunner: Hannah Quinn gets shot while on reconnaissance with Sy Borg. We don’t usually see the heroes in these books incur serious injuries and what complicates this one is that they can’t just take her to the hospital because Harley Sinn thinks the gang has been blotted out of existence and revealing themselves now will show their cards too soon.

Big Tony says he knows somebody (of course he does). Big Tony plays a considerable role in this issue, not only helping Hannah and Sy, but also spearheading the assault on Harley Sinn’s Trump-like father, Richard Brand. In a surprise twist, Brand, who starts off hostile, concedes that his menace of a daughter needs to be dealt with and that he hasn’t got the resources to do it in spite of all of his wealth.

Smash cut to Harley, still in Sinn’s clutches, and this time being subjected to some kind of 3D holochamber nightmare torture in which she is being menaced by a Joker shark. Harley fights back, of course (though there’s nothing really there physically to fight against), and she manages to keep her head about her despite Sinn’s attempts to break her psychologically. Then she plots against Sinn’s inept henchmen.

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Mauricet’s Joker is delightfully scary!

Finally, the gang as a whole sets out with the help of Popeye-wannabe Captain Strong (who made his first appearance in Harley Quinn No. 18), by boat to Harley Sinn’s titular isle: a Castle Grayskull-worthy crag replete with a foreboding tower, Vlad the Impaler-inspired skulls on pikes, and all the boobytraps and pitfalls one could imagine.

The gang is forced to swim through Harley Fish-infested waters, fight aggressive seaweed on the beach, and dodge egg-shaped grenades awaiting them, but they finally manage to reach the gate where their fair maiden doesn’t exactly await since she’s enacting an escape of her own.

Mauricet again tackles art duties and I like what he does in this book more than the last one, though I still think his Harley feels weirdly off-model (perhaps it’s the bouffant nature of her pigtails and the little button nose that he gives her). Nonetheless, the holochamber provides him with ample space to play, rendering Harley in a variety of silly costumes (the Swiss Miss is my favorite), and he spares no details in creating the bizarre sharks and fish that plague both Harley and her gang counterparts as well.

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The gang passes three trials: will there be more?

I also appreciate the nice contrast he makes between something so mundane as Brand’s office and the fantasy realm of Sinn’s playland. It gives the book a fun balance of “tones” to look at, and his ability to keep those more conversational moments lively and interesting is a rare skill.

Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti have provided the opportunity for the Gang to continue to shine and while each issue has focused more on one member than the others, there’s definitely a sense of balance developing. What seems like short shrift for the others will likely get addressed along the way as we continue to get to see each member have their moment to shine.

I still feel strongly that this one will read better in a trade–and that ultimately the consequences of this book aren’t very steep (miss it and you might not miss it), but the lack of gravitas also might be just what you’re looking for in a book like this.

One way or another, we’re heading into the big final confrontation on this one–I have a feeling a whole lotta things are going to be going “booom!” Want a little teaser from the end of the book as to what fun thing is coming next?

Spoiler

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That’s right!  Scary super-bots of Poison Ivy, Catwoman, and Powergirl!

Recommended If…

  • You enjoy a Scooby-Doo like adventure story full of brightly colored characters who form a close-knit team.
  • You can’t get enough variants on Harley cosplay options!

Overall

Last month I called this book a “slow burn”. This month it starts to ramp up as Harley’s Gang closes in on the location where Harley Sinn is keeping the Mistress of Mayhem captive. There’s no bottom to the wacky imagination of Conner and Palmiotti as they throw everything (and then some) at Harley’s cohorts in an attempt to keep them from their rescue. A fun cameo from Captain Strong, great input from Big Tony, and an amusing Joker shark that looks vaguely like Jabberjaw are some of the highlights of this whirligig of lunacy!

SCORE: 7.5/10