I’m beginning to run out of things to say about this book.
My disappointment over what this story could have been has worn off, for the most part; after all, there’s nothing inherently wrong with a by-the-books story about two “friends” on a road trip. Honestly, you could argue it’s something the characters needed after the events of Heroes in Crisis. So, while the book doesn’t break new ground in any respect, it’s a nice enough if you want to see more of these characters interacting. Having accepted that, it’s a bit easier to have a good time with this book; it’s rather middle-of-the-road while occasionally providing a few moments of solid comedy (or horror!). The comic has settled into a groove, but I don’t hate it for that: it gives me time to appreciate how Adriana Melo’s artwork has been getting better and better with each issue.
The good news is it does feel like my earlier complaints have been addressed! Ivy is far more active in this issue, and the comic improves as a result: suddenly their interactions are fun and compelling, if a little surface-level, and their charm helps carry the book from beginning to end. It was a good decision to put Ivy back in the game; if the story wasn’t going to tackle her mental health, then one might as well have some fun with her, rather than keeping her the passive character she was in previous issues. She doesn’t seem to be entirely for Harley’s new attempt at heroics, but she’s not against showing some humanity either; the question of how much she’s compromising for Harley’s sake and how good of a person she really is makes for an interesting thought. It’s not front and centre in the issue, but little touches like that help make the story a bit more than just a crazy series of relatively disconnected events.
In keeping with the Batman: The Animated Series tone of previous issues, we see a new, wacky guest character as the antagonist of this issue. While she, like the other villains, eventually takes a backseat to the Floronic Man, she’s funny enough, and her design is suitably kooky to give the book some levity; it’s a fun contrast to see an older woman in a dino outfit covered in blood, even if they don’t do much with the gag.
Really, the star of this issue is Adriana Melo’s consistently improving illustrations. I don’t think it reaches the heights of the previous issue in terms of Ivy’s dynamic action sequence, but I’m really liking her facial work now; often finding a nice medium between comedic and dramatic.
What’s even better is that horror has started to return to the book! My biggest praise of the first issue were the genuinely creepy moments, and that started to make a comeback in this issue. Once again, Hi-Fi’s colours compliment the illustrations, making for a sinister moment that doesn’t need a sound effect to portray the disgusting event barely hiding beyond the panel.
It’s rather clear now that this isn’t the book for it, but I really wouldn’t mind seeing Melo and Houser tackle a horror series; it’s in those moments that the book really shines, and it’s a shame that they’re so rare in this story. Comics aren’t free, and oftentimes not even cheap, so I have to be selective in what I can buy; while I understand that this book isn’t trying to be more than a fun little romp, if it played to its strengths a little more or had another hook, I might feel better about recommending it. As it is, it’s not a bad story for people who like the characters and have money to spare.
- You’ve enjoyed the story thus far!
- Batman: The Animated Series was your jam, and you want more simple adventures from Harley and Ivy in that vein.
- You want to let Adriana Melo and Jodie Houser know that their work would be greatly appreciated on a horror book.
- Older women in dino outfits are your kind of thing. No shame, of course. <3
If you’ve stuck with my reviews so far, you’re either curious about if this story surprises me, or you’ve already committed to buying the comic. It’s an inoffensive book with the occasional genuinely fun moment, but it’s not much more than that; your mileage will vary entirely on how much you want to see these characters interact. I enjoy the two as a pair, even if I’d prefer to see them as a couple, so I’m having a good time with this! I just hope that in the future, Houser and Melo can feel like they can take more risks with books like this. There’s some genuinely good stuff here, and I want to see it shine.
Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.