Let’s suddenly jump into the far-flung future in one of those comics that plays on the “What If” trope, taking Harley down the path of what would have happened if she hadn’t returned to her home and her gang and the bosom of her friends.

“Old Lady Harley” recasts Harley as Mad Max (with the look of Furiosia), in this post-apocalyptic outing that references a whole lot of the classic post-apocalyptic films in our popular culture.  Can you name them all?

Frank Tieri does a good job of cobbling this silliness together, but for me, it comes out of the gate already weakened by the fact that it’s yet another “Future’s End” throwaway: fun for the moment, but bringing nothing otherwise to the series or its current continuity. It reads like a fanfiction Alternate Universe more than anything else.

Pooping car (and people) jokes: the height of class as always!

And yet: it’s an Alternate universe in which we get to see Mad Max, Escape from New York, The Warriors, and more in a mashup that may not completely satisfy a fan of grindhouse culture, but comes seriously close to the edge of that genre. For a book that hasn’t flinched too much in teh gore department over the years, this issue manages to somehow not be a complete bloodbath, even though the plot (thin as it is) is basically begging for it.

So what’s the story, anyway?  Harley left her people and never went back, but now Red Tool is forcibly dragging her to see the world that’s sprung up in her absence. A world of savage goat boys, snarling Pengiun mutants, and the gangs themselves, which have gone completely feral in Harley’s absence (and the subsequent departure of Coach, who might have otherwise held things together).

We also see what’s become of Sy Borg and his wretched Russian lovebird. I’m honestly not sure what’s creepier: that she’s got dead Sy in his scooter and keeps having to put his head back on, or that she herself is still alive (what’s left of her)!

But yeah: plot.  Harley returns to the bosom of her old home, finds it in tatters, restores it to tatters according to her preference in proper Road Warrior style, and then is off on adventures. Or, in this case, off to the next issue in which we’ll be taking a trip into the past to reunite her with her first love: the Joker.

Not even sure how I feel about this. How about you?

From one set of mutant penguins to another!

Mauricet is the sole artist here and handles all the action with aplomb; it’s nice to have a single artist through the whole book given how much it’s so often broken up (and how obvious those breaks can be). Mauricet is also just right for this kind of gritty landscape: everything is hatchy and everyone’s expressions are crude. Though Harley is busting out of her corset as usual, he’s aged her well, generally (and likewise all the gang members ~ there’s a haggardness to everything and everyone).  The wrecked landscape is also lovely in its decay.

And I like the way Gang of Harley’s costumes have evolved into full-blown individual gang themes–almost to the point that you can’t recognize them as Harleys anymore.  That said, not sure how I feel about the Harvey Queens. That one might feel like a pretty cheap joke to some. But to be fair that may be the fault of Tieri, and Mauricet is just drawing as directed.

Recommended If…

  • You like the blighted feast of fallen world stories.
  • Road carnage is your jam!

Overall

In trying to evaluate this book in the spirit that it is intended, I’d say it’s kind of amusing. These speculative pieces are never my favorite explorations, so I’ve already got a bias against it, but I’d say Frank Tieri made this fun and Mauricet brought it to life in a way that kept the pages turning for me, even if I was internally groaning the whole way through. I think it might have finally won me over with the Gang of Harley Furies straight out of The Warriors, as I was finally just able to let go of any preconceptions and enjoy it as one of Harley’s fantasy/dream moments since that’s been a long-running conceit of this book and probably always will be.

SCORE: 6.5/10