Jimmy Palmiotti and Frank Tieri are bringing the gang of Harleys toward the conclusion of this tale of kidnap and rescue by bringing us a whole lot closer to perpetrator Harley Sinn. This issue is half flashback of Sinn’s story (what’s brought her to where she is today), and half action with the gang fighting robot versions of Supergirl, Catwoman, and Poison Ivy, and reuniting with Harley Quinn herself, who has plenty of problems of her own.

Last we saw, the gang was making their way up the beach but had encountered some serious opposition in the form of those fun villainous robots. I was really looking forward to seeing how they would outsmart these beasts given they have no real superpowers to speak of, while the bots are super strong, have lasers, and all that jazz.

Well, they do outsmart the bots, but I guess I was hoping for something a little more complex or engaging? On the good side, they end up using the island’s traps against the bots (which is definitely clever). On the bad side, it feels like it’s all over just way too quickly.  Even if the book did have to share half its pages with Sinn’s origin, it would have been cool to see the other half spent fighting these crazy creations. Instead they get scrapped after about one-quarter of the book, and the final quarter goes to meeting up with Harley and doing a similar dispatch job on the evil monster goat things that have run Harley up a tree.

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Baaaaaad company!

Don’t get me wrong: I love these evil goat things. I think they are hilarious and creepy and I was sorry to see them go just as much as the robots. I guess in a limited series like this, we really only can spend so much time on so many wacky ideas and keep pressing the story forward. If the series was longer we might have had a whole issue dedicated just to the robots and another dedicated to the goats and a third just for Sinn’s story. Would have been too much? Probably wiser heads prevailed in keeping this compact, but I do still feel like the issue overall is tonally a bit of a yo-yo.

Which brings us to Sinn’s story.

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A tale of sorrow and woe

Sinn’s father, Brand, is the face of a generation of money mogul dads whose lives are wrapped up in greedy pursuits while “family” is relegated to photo ops. Sinn is the “poor little rich girl” who never got any love. Are we supposed to feel sorry for her? Objectively she’s awful: even as a child she’s portrayed early as a monster who torments her schoolmates and even murders people with glee.

So, no, right? She’s a bad person.

But when she grows up she falls in love and tries to walk a straight path (at least we’re told she does), and when her girlfriend dies tragically, she reverts back into her horrors–and in fact, makes things even worse: choosing her awful Darkness over everything.

Now she’s really and truly a villain, right?

I don’t feel conflicted about Sinn. She really is awful and I think that’s how we’re supposed to feel about her. I’m distracted by the more poignant pieces of her story, however, and I hope this lengthy backfill will figure into the resolution of the overall tale somehow–otherwise, why should we care?

Lots of people proffered their artistic talents to the creation of this book. Unfortunately we get a list of pencilers (Mauricet, Inaki Miranda, and Dawn McTeigue), and a list of inkers (Mauricet, Miranda, Ray McCarthy, and Mike Roslan). What we don’t get is a breakdown on who did what pages, which, with this many names, I’m guessing would be pretty complex. But it’s unfortunate to not be able to tell you who drew the cool evil goats or who made Harlem Harley’s neck giraffe-long in too many panels. I hope this is not going to be the norm with DC putting out books so quick. Not giving artists recognition for their actual contributions has been a peeve of mine since I was a young whippersnapper reading books that didn’t even bother naming the creative teams.

That said, despite all the hands that were in this particular pot, the book reads well–the flashbacks definitely have their own tone, but it’s consistent. As I mentioned before, it gives the book a bit of a yo-yo whiplash feeling: bouncing from Sinn’s dark past to the silliness of the gang’s present predicament, but for the most part it works and I always welcome a bit of the “real world” into Harley’s Wonderland now and then. It’s good to stay grounded.

Lastly, a shout out to Frank Cho and Nei Ruffino for a sweet mermaid surfboard variant! I really like Amanda Conner’s regular cover (with Alex Sinclair on colors as usual), but in this instance, it really is hard to choose the best one–and that’s a problem I don’t mind having!

Recommended If…

  • You like origin stories: the more twisted, the better!
  • “Boob cannon” has long been on your list of things you must have in a comic.
  • +1 for dismembered “boob cannon”, still operational.

Overall

This issue has some great action sequences and a compelling villain backstory. Do the two work well together? It’s hard to know what we’re supposed to feel about Harley Sinn who is mostly a monster of her own making even if there are tragedies that have soured her disposition (to the extreme). I can’t help feeling I would have preferred more of an emphasis on the mindless battle between Harley’s gang and the super-bots, but as a chapter of this 6-issue mini, it works well enough, and gives us lots of grist for the final showdown soon to come in the last issue.

SCORE: 7/10