Harley Quinn #30 review

Harley 30

It’s no secret how much I dislike the character of Mason Macabre. I cheered when he was originally written out into the witness protection program, groaned when Harley Sinn caught up to him and his mother in the desert, and have been grinding my teeth ever since.  And now we have a whole book full of him being a charming mama’s boy, oh-so-sincere about his desire for a “real” relationship, and cuddling with Harley in the park in the very picture of romantic bliss. Yes, it’s all been very nausea-inducing, but fortunately I have Dramamine and I have been popping it liberally throughout the whole ordeal.

“Pollsters and Paramours” (Part Three) is still a pretty great comic book and I will tell you why: knowing (and counting on) the twisted mind of Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, and peeking into the crystal ball of DC’s solicits for the coming months, there’s a good chance Mason won’t be around much longer to annoy the pants off of me.

Seriously. I have no pants right now. And that’s just not okay.

Do you think for a moment Scarecrow isn’t going to get what he wants?

Meanwhile, Scarecrow is done pussyfooting around with the mayor.  Aside from a strange costume rendering in his first panel, it’s a fun scene full of the obnoxious posturing we’ve come to expect from Mayor DePerto, and the cool casual violence we likewise would expect from a Jonathan Crane who only has so much patience to waste of these lowlifes.

I’m honestly on the fence about Madison Berkowitz these days: she’s ruthless and hapless in equal measures.  Her total passivity throughout this scene is weirdly admirable to me. We don’t really examine her face up close or hear much from her, so it’s impossible to know what she’s thinking, but I expect she’s been through enough at this point to know when to sideline herself.

While all this going on, Harley has undertaken her latest scheme with the help of all the usual suspects: bringing more green spaces to an urban landscape drowning in concrete and asphalt. The key to this, of course, is Poison Ivy, who provides some “green” magic balloons that Harley’s henchpeople detonate during a press-conference–the result of which, of course, is instant green.  And once again, I pretend not to wonder at the science or logic of any of this. You’re reading Harley Quinn. One of her henchpeople is an egg with cybernetic legs. Let’s not worry about reality too much.

The publicity stunt is meant to garner Harley votes, but of course it backfires, with Ivy’s enthusiastic greening of the city creating chaos everywhere: broken power lines, obstructions, etc. Were shown that chaos at Harley’s election headquarters as calls are pouring in, complaining, but this plot point feels summarily dismissed later on in the book, with Harley’s rankings recovering and increasing to push out the third (and most appropriate) candidate. There really isn’t a strong reason given for this–not a strong enough to actually justify it. But then elections don’t always make any kind of logical sense (we have more than enough proof of that).

Bonding. Oh yuck.

Harley spends much of the book celebrating this victory with Mason and seeming to make potential long-term plans. Foreshadowing, people. Foreshadowing.

And then a bomb drops. No, not a literal bomb, but the book does end on an interesting and mysterious cliffhanger that threatens Harley’s whole operation.

John Timms is on art consistently through in spite of the fact that there’s a Scarecrow sequence (which we would normally expect to be drawn by another artist). Timms’ work is as good as ever (including said sequence, which features some lovely filigree panel borders and a vague whiff of seriously weird borderline torture porn). And even as much as I hate Mason (have I mentioned I hate Mason?), Timms renders his interactions with Harley and his mother with a poignant intimacy. As I’m a sucker for great art, these pages are a joy to read even if I gnashed my teeth while turning them.

Recommended If…

  • You can’t get enough of Scarecrow.
  • You enjoy Poison Ivy doing her thing for the green all over the face of urban America.
  • You need dart board material (so many pages of Mason Macabre in this).

Overall

Harley’s bid for mayor is about to get turned on its ear as she pulls a publicity stunt to try to pull ahead in the polls while simultaneously falling hard for Mason Macabre who I’m really hoping is not long for this world. The book may telegraph too much, but I’m frankly okay with that and am not hoping for some big 11th-hour twist.  This is the second book this week in which I wish Scarecrow was more of a main villain, but his rather theatrical exit from the mayor’s office is well worth wading in.

SCORE: 8.5/10

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