Harley Quinn & the Birds of Prey #2 dropped, and just like the film, it’s a whole lot of Harley Quinn and very little Birds of Prey. But unlike the film, this book doesn’t try to hide that reality, and instead fully embraces it! Is this the right book for you though? That’s the real question…
Let’s be honest, we all know that this book is meant to be a funny, comedic take on Harley and the BoP. With so many standard comics or dark, gritty comics out there, books like this can be a breath of fresh air. Hell, that’s a big reason why Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti’s run on Harley Quinn was so popular! They just had fun with this. So, it’s fair to say that if you enjoyed their run on Harley, then you’ll enjoy this.
Tonally, the book is exactly the same, the only difference is that the creative team doesn’t have to hold back with their vulgarity. In fact, there’s plenty of vulgarity. They go a little further with their innuendos, and there’s plenty of teases of almost-nudity. If you can factor these changes into the general concept and feel that it won’t bother you, then you should be good. But, I know for some of you, these aspects are a turn-off, so keep that in mind when deciding how to spend your money.
Anyway, I was going to devote an entire paragraph or two to recapping the first issue, but Jimmy and Amanda did that for us! So… I’ll let their work speak for itself.
Now that Harley is back in Gotham and has crossed paths with Montoya and the Birds, all she wants to do is exact revenge on the Defo Mortgage Company. Unfortunately, Montoya has plans against them that will be ruined if Harley interferes, so she wants her to head back to Coney Island. Plus, you know, if Harley’s in Gotham, then Joker will undoubtedly involve himself at some point. *Wink, wink* Foreshadowing.
The back and forth between Harley and Montoya does run a little long, but it is mostly enjoyable. You get plenty of Harley’s randomness – including a page of what Harley wants in the world… Which just so happens to include “Nightwing’s ass,” so I got a good laugh out of that. But the two finally land on Harley leaving so that she doesn’t mess anything up. Before Harley hops back on her train though, she needs to poop… And I think we all know where this is going.
Much like the movie, Harley makes her escape by going to the bathroom. The only difference here is that this iteration is a little more explosive!
As you can tell, you’re not in for any high-brow humor here, so you should prepare yourself for plenty of poop, boob, and beaver jokes, as well as an ample amount of sexual innuendos. As I said earlier, you should know whether this style of humor is your thing or not before you buy the book, so if this isn’t your thing, then Harley Quinn & the Birds of Prey probably isn’t the book for you.
As the plot progresses, Palmiotti and Conner’s foreshadowing pays off, and the Joker does appear. He has recruited Sin – who you might remember from the creative team’s monthly Harley Quinn run. This is honestly the part of the book that drags the most for me. If you felt as though the opening scene between Harley and Montoya at the diner ran too long, then you’ll definitely feel that this scene is also long. I, personally, didn’t care for the humor here. While I’m certain some people will find it offensive, I just didn’t find it that funny.
Despite the Joker’s appearance in the book, he never actually interacts with Harley. Instead, Harley gifts Montoya with the location of Joker’s hideouts – her peace-offering after blowing up the bathroom – and that does lead to a number of funny sequences of Joker’s hideouts being raided by the GCPD. The raids result in the Birds and Montoya chasing Joker to an abandoned hanger where an eventual battle ensues.
The action is definitely entertaining and fun, and leads to some great moments between Joker and Cassandra Cain. Which, by the way, if you’re a BoP purist and think, “You can’t have the Birds of Prey without Barbara Gordon,” then you’ll be happy to know that Palmiotti and Conner give us a funny and realistic reason as to why she’s not joining the team. Is it critical to the story? No, but as a said purist, I appreciate the creative team taking us into consideration.
The battle with the Joker eventually ends in the Birds’ favor and leads to one of the funniest moments in the entire book. You’ve got a bare-butt Joker – I know it sounds weird, but trust me, it makes sense when in context – strapped to a gurney in an ambulance, but despite his situation, he continues to torment the city officials… Until he gets a notification that someone has broken into his vault, at which point he really does lose his mind, scaring the cops and paramedics even more… Mainly because they think his notification is a bomb. I literally laughed out loud during these pages!
If you’re wondering what Harley has been up to this entire time, well, you guessed it… She called on an old friend to help her break into the Joker’s vault. Who is this friend? Well, she was called Terra, but now she doesn’t want to go by that name because of Terra from Teen Titans fame. There’s a whole running-gag where her lack of a name pops in and out of scenes, but it’s just ok at best. While the set-up for this also drags, the actual execution and action of the break-in itself is highly entertaining. The entire scenario leads to a Robin Hood scenario – or so Harley claims – but it also sets up a hilarious story between Joker and the other rogues at Arkham Asylum, because he apparently is housing their scores there as well!
Cue the dramatic music and tease the next issue!
Amanda Conner delivers the art for this issue, and as expected, she delivers. There’s just something so pleasant and enjoyable to her work that makes you want to smile, and when paired with the lunacy and humor of the story and script, it’s a winning combination. And there’s something to be said about how violent the book is at times without actually feeling too intense. But, yes, the cheeky nature of Conner’s work really sales this book.
Also, she throws in so many easter eggs into the background that you could probably spend a good portion of your time searching for those! Whether it’s characters in the background (I see you, Red Tool), things written on walls, stalls, or casts, or even character reactions in the background… It’s just incredible work and great storytelling.
- You enjoyed Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn
- You stan Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, and/or their run of Harley Quinn
- You want some low-brow, crude jokes.
Harley Quinn & the Birds of Prey #2 delivers some great, funny moments, but it also has portions where the book really feels as though it drags. Thankfully, the slower moments are earlier in the book, so by the time you reach the half-way point of the issue, all that’s left is a fun, crazy adventure! No, this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but the title doesn’t hide what it is, so it gives you a fair warning before you ever even open the book. Despite some shortcomings, I found this issue to be quite entertaining and funny, and I’m looking forward to the next chapter.