After last month’s break from the main story, this issue moves back into the present with Harley now living in Los Angeles. Eager to get away from Coney Island and lingering memories of her mom, Harley’s decided to get into professional wrestling!
Harley Quinn is in the wrestling ring and I am 100% on board! As a concept Harley wrestling is something I wouldn’t have put together, it’s wacky, wild, and honestly perfect. I mean, who looks at DC comics and thinks “Let’s look at what wrestling looks like in a world filled with people with superpowers and themed personas?” It’s wonderful and I would read a book all about wrestlers in the DC universe especially if it includes Harley.
Something I enjoyed about Humphries take on Harley and wrestling is that while there is humor in this book, the issue isn’t all about making fun of how fake wrestling is or how wacky intros and outfits can be. The humor is woven into the story, and in a fun twist he’s taken the idea of fake fights and turned it into an actual plot point. I started out reviewing this title wishing there was more balance between the wacky humor and storytelling and with every consecutive issue Humphries puts out I feel like that balance is getting stronger and stronger. He’s really found a nice way to mix the absurd with the heartfelt and it’s made following this series a delight.
While the book is a lot of fun, Humphries also continues with his theme of working Harley through her grief and personal growth as a person. There’s wacky fun, jokes poked at wrestling, and even the re-introduction of Booster Gold whose hiding out in L.A., but Humphries never allows us to forget the larger story at play. Harley might be in a new city, doing new things, but even there she still struggles with moments of forgetting her mother has died, and the sudden loss that comes with that. I really love that even though Harley is starting to move on, we still see moments where she’s dealing with loss. It’s not something that will go away overnight or through burying herself in enough distractions, and showing her in these stark moments of realization that her mom is gone really shows the way grief takes people sometimes.
Added to that, I think Humphries starts things out by posing an interesting question that seems to set the tone for the arc. Harley asks, what happens when we die, which is something very on par with the emotional journey she’s been on over the course of Humphries run and I feel like it’s a natural next step for the character to take as she’s continuing to deal with her mom’s passing. Between the wrestling, new characters, and an eventual murder mystery, Humphries builds an idea of Harley pushing herself a little too much, taking too many hits, and maybe feeling a little survivors guilt. It’s not laid out in bold letters, but the idea is there, especially in the commentary spread through the issue.
Something else that comes up, that’s tied with Harley’s emotional growth is her beginning to realize that she’s at the point where she wants more agency in her life. If anything, I feel like Harley after Joker is all about her agency and taking control of her life, but I think that too can be a healing process. There is moving on from him and then there is her finding her way in the world, and stepping out of who Harley was to find who Harley is now. She’s promised her mom she will keep going and keep taking the world by storm, and this is another step in that. Who is Harley Quinn, and what will she do next? It’s a story I’m eager to see play out.
As for the plot of the issue, it defiantly feels like the start of an arc in that there’s a lot of introduction happening. This is a new city, with new characters, and Harley in a new job and showing all of that takes up the bulk of the book. Still, none of it feels pointless. Harley not just wrestling because it sounded fun, instead she’s using it as a way to exercise some of her anger issues. Her partnership with Alicia is more than just in the ring, they’re close friends and Harley’s even bonded with Alicia’s daughter. They’re so close that Alicia is letting Harley live with them. Each piece of information given helps settle readers into this world and line the pieces up for the eventual murder and mystery that will set the characters off on the rest of this arc.
I also want to talk about Harley and Alicia’s wrestling uniforms. If you’ve watched any wrestling at all with women in the ring you know woman’s uniforms can run the gamut from modest to fairly skimpy. I am so glad that neither woman was shown in anything too revealing. Basri went with a uniform that felt still Harley Quinn and fun, but was also something sensible. On the note of Harley’s outfits, I haven’t praised Basri enough for this, but so far I haven’t come across a single depiction of Harley in these comics under his pen that’s made me go “ugh really?” and I’m honestly so thankful for that. I won’t dive too deeply down the rabbit hole that is female depictions in comics, but how Harley’s been drawn in this series has really added to my enjoyment of it all. She shows skin but she’s never oversexualized and as a female reader looking to enjoy a comic about a female character, I really appreciate that.
Tied in with the uniforms is how Basri designed Alicia. She and Harley both have very distinct character designs and body types. In wrestling and in life you have all kinds of body types and I was really excited to see that Alicia is drawn a little bulkier than Harley is. When you see her and Harley side by side you can tell that she’s not some thin wispy woman, but she’s got muscles and is built in a way different than Harley is. Where Harley’s smaller but bouncier, Alicia is a bit bigger and can hit harder and you can see it not only in their body types, but in the few panels of them fighting in the ring. It’s really cool to see the differences between the two women and how they’re displayed as fighters.
As much fun as I had reading this issue, I’m honestly more excited to see where it goes from here. I think the story going forward has been set up really well. After one issue I’m already invested in the new characters and Harley’s relationship with them. I’m equally as interested to see how the mystery plays out and all the repercussions that could spin out of it. As an issue, this one was good, but I really cannot wait to see where the story goes from here.
- Harley Quinn the Queen of Wrestling? Yes please
- You’re still invested in Harley’s emotional growth
- You enjoy stories that have humor and depth to them
Harley Quinn #70 is a fun start to a new arc. It takes Harley to a new place, with new friends, and adventure, but it continues to play with themes Humphries has been working towards for a while now. Harley is still struggling with grief over losing her mom, but we can see her starting to move past it and into other areas where she is changing and growing as a person. In between all that she’s got to deal with a new mystery and how that will impact the new relationships she’s made. It’s safe to say I’m really excited to see where the rest of this arc is going to go from here!
DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.