Harley Sinn started out life in the pages of Harley Quinn as a nasty also-ran in Harley’s Gang of Harleys who was too violent and too unhinged for that kooky squad. If you missed it somehow, the Gang of Harleys is Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti’s radically diverse homage to the many fans who adopted and adapted Harley’s look in a myriad of cosplay styles.

Their six-issue spin off was more Scooby Doo than Suicide Squad as they turned out to be a generally good-hearted bunch pitted against the vile venom of their jilted Harley-at-arms, Harley Sinn (who took not making the cut so poorly she’s been angling for her revenge ever since).

Now the two come face to face again and this time Harley Sinn has some serious leverage: she’s found Mason Macabre (darn), and his mother, who have been hiding out west under witness protection after turning state’s evidence.

She’s like an upgraded Joker’s Daughter without the stigma attached

As usual, this creative team packs a ton of complications in this story which is currently only filling the front half of the book. Harley’s parents have arrived for a visit and she has to juggle playing normal and reformed for them (surprisingly that manages to go pretty well despite a slight hitch at the beginning).

But now Harley’s got to deal with Sinn and Sinn has a surprise for her that isn’t the Macabres on a platter. Just when you think you know where this is going, Conner and Palmiotti once again flip the stakes and expectations. One of these days I’ll actually start to expect the unexpected.

For the first time in a long while, John Timms handles the art solo throughout the book, and it’s a delight not to flip to a new artist, even though there’s a dream sequence which would usually call for a change of the guard. Sinn looks amazing: she’s come a long way from the shrieking harridan she began as. She was downright unlikable at the outset, then laughable as a “super-villian wanna-be” in the Gang of Harleys offshoot. She’s matured into an interesting, less “put-on” of a character, and Timms renders her style beautifully: full sleeve tattoos, dress-down costume, and creepy facepaint reminiscent of dia de los muertos.

The action here is brutal and thrilling. Neither Harley gives an inch, but let’s see if they don’t end up allies before long!

Harley Loves Joker

Paul Dini and Jimmy Palmiotti resurrect some characters I don’t think I’ve seen since Dustin Nuygen’s Li’l Gotham series: March Harriet and Jenna the Carpenter! The Wonderland Gang is indeed back together as we also catch glimpses of the Tweedles.

This installment continues Harley’s quest to fix up her puddin’s new hideout since she blew the cover of their last one at the start of this series. They’ve found (and taken by force) the ideal warehouse, but it needs renovation, so of course Harley seeks out her pal Jenna.

Yes, it’s a very very mad tea party!

Madcap chaos ensues on almost every page as the gang in in the process of robbing a hotel even as they sit and sip tea.

We also have a new development in the story (which feels like a digression now, but will likely feed into the major storyline–or, even more exciting, might be a promise of long storylines to come!). The new development involves Bruce Wayne, Gordon (!), and a catlike weasel burglar calling herself the Grison. Joker is taking note, so who knows how this is all going to come together, but the writers are weaving an interesting web.

Bret Blevins (pencils) and J. Bone (inks) once again excel at the action. The opening whirlwind of the bank robbery does awesome double duty as Harley starts her negotiations with Jenna about the hideout, simultaneously dodging cops and making their getaway. The Grison looks like catwoman in a winter fur suit, but let’s see if she can do something more interesting than just slink around alam systems (though that was also fun to watch).

Recommended If…

  • It’s always fun to see various Harleys pounding on one another!
  • Two-for one deals are the way you like it on a Wednesday with your comics.
  • The Wonderland gang has been missing from your life!

Overall

The main Harley Quinn line continues on its complicated way, telegraphing a showdown between Harley and the mayor (we all know it’s coming), but the bus ride to that battle is clearly fraught with potholes along the way and the addition of Harley Sinn is the most interesting one yet. This character started out utterly hateable, but seem to be turning an important corner. Meanwhile, Harley still loves the Joker and if you have been missing out on this secondary story, shame on you because it is just fabulous fun and deserves a book of its own! All comics should be this good.

SCORE: 9.5/10