Harley Quinn #44 review

“One of My Turns” concludes its two-part story, with Christopher Sebela wrapping up Harley’s adventures in the underground pitching battles between The Reaper and Professor Pyg.

Next stop for Harley is Apokolips, but she’ll be making that journey without me. This is, I believe, my 98th review of a Harley Quinn book on this site. From the New 52, through the relaunch, and through all of many side series, it’s been an amazing journey. I requested Harley when I came on as a reviewer because I disliked the character and was looking forward to writing scathing condemnations of the book, but Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti adeptly proved that in the right hands, Harley could be feisty, fun and heartfelt without being an offensive oversexed blood-hungry harpy.

Well that ride is over now and so it’s a good time for me to move on rather become cynical, cranky, and too stuck in my ways to allow for the changes that are clearly coming with this character.

Changes we’re already seeing plenty of in this quick romp from Sebela, that pits Harley and her randomly named dollotron Frank against The Reaper’s brainwashed hoard. Or, at least against most of the hoard, as it turns out to not be quite as brainwashed as The Reaper might like.

Sebela plays with some fun tropes here: the villain in the silly costume who takes himself much too seriously, the even scarier villain who cuts right to the chase, the mindless thralls who maybe aren’t so mindless, and, of course, the ubiquitous “hero-gets-a-magic-feather and goes all Dumbo on everyone”.

Not that she ever needs a magic feather

It is perhaps one of the weirdest moments of this book when Harley, psyching herself up to go full-nutjob on this combined crew of kooks, that she splotches her face with not-terribly-dramatic makeup and declares her war in no uncertain terms.  An entire page is devoted to this moment, which mostly left me just shrugging and flipping to the next page. This is not the craziest thing Harley’s ever done and it’s not even particularly resonant, so it feels like a lot of sound and fury signifying not a whole bunch here.

The book is action packed, so there’s plenty of fight candy, which Mirka Andolfo does well. But like with most books that focus a good deal of energy on fisticuffs, the story ends up getting squeezed in between, with dense pages of words trying to convey too much too quickly. To Sebela’s (and Andolfo’s) credit, it all makes sense, but it does end up being pretty straight-forward run of the mill stuff with an overly tidy ending to wrap up every conceivable thread. It’s fun, but fluff–and perhaps that’s what the book needs to be for this brief intersession.

In other words, if you skipped it, you wouldn’t miss it. I doubt anything that occurs between these pages will have very far-reaching impact in the regular on-going series.

A reference to Harley’s missed medication may be an indicator of an increasingly unhinged Harley in the future, so it will be interesting to see if she continues to spiral into darker places in the months to come.

You want bacon? This book’s got that too

Andolfo handles most of the pages in this book, but Max Raynor pinch-hits for five pages.  The change in style is noticeable, but not too distracting. I like Raynor’s work and Harley looks great in his pages. He also manages to make Professor Pyg look sufficiently menacing and The Reaper somewhat respectable so that we can marginally consider them credible threats as villains.

Though I have to be honest: after the Penguin’s gambit, raining villains down on Coney Island like a summer deluge, it’s been hard to take any villains in this book very seriously. If there’s one thing I hope for this book going forward, it’s that the writers can raise the stakes again; even if it means killing off a side-kick or two (or ten).  I like the fun free-wheeling Harley’s been doing okay, but this drifting around since Mason Macabre died has definitely gotten old for me.

It’ll be up to new Harley Quinn writer Sam Humphries, and new Batman-news.com writer Casper Rudolph to take you forward into the next era with our Mistress of Mayhem, so let’s all cross our fingers that issue no. 45 will be a hit!

Recommended If…

  • You enjoy the gross-out weird-fest of Professor Pyg and his dollotrons.
  • Non-stop gang fight action is where it’s at! You like Harley unhinged.
  • What a gorgeous cover from Bilquis Everly and Mat Lopes!


Christopher Sebela finishes one of his own turns by wrapping up this two-part tale in which Harley fights mobs of maniacs and takes on two villains of varying degrees of insanity. The big question is Harley’s own degree of crazy. In the past we’ve seen a balance of the psychiatrist and psychopath, but those scales may be going out of kilter if her behavior in this issue is any indicator!

SCORE: 7/10