Hugo Strange has his target locked—and his target is none other than Harley Quinn! The monstrous man behind the Monster Men has sold Gotham a bill of goods, and the next step in his nefarious plan is to nab our Harl. Will he succeed? Read the book and find out, then join me as I tell you what I think of Harley Quinn #3.

Still a good time…

I’ve been enjoying this series, first and foremost because it gives us a more innocent Harley than we’ve seen—something more akin to her roots, you might say. There’s also been some heart, with our hero determined to do good, even if she does it in her own slantwise fashion. Put simply: it’s been fun, humorous, and meaningful, and I could read a book like that for a long time.

What it hasn’t been, however, is especially cerebral, and that suits me just fine. Let me witness the events as they unfold, and keep the narrational philosophizing to a minimum. Phillips breaks with this in #3, doing her best Scott Snydering as she goes on about different types of smiles. I get that Harley was once a psychiatrist, and I know her qualifications are a big part of her own personal plan for redemption, but the multiple sets of observations about smile types doesn’t feel like what would be coming through a mind in her state. It just doesn’t seem to fit. And, at any rate, I’d rather Phillips let us find our way into Harley’s mind than have her put us there.

Bellissirossmo

Credit: Riley Rossmo, Ivan Plascencia, and Deron Bennett

It’s ultimately a minor quibble, however, as the story does manage to march on. Strange’s malfeasance continues to develop, and his plans are on a collision course with Harley. The plot is ultimately pretty predictable, but—for me, at least—it’s a comfortable kind of predictable. I may have a good idea of what’s going to happen, but it’s the details that make it all worthwhile, and I like most of those details.

The details I like the most are the ones brought by Rossmo. The artwork was the main draw for me on this book, and Rossmo hasn’t disappointed yet. His character aesthetic is a fun fit for Harley, but it is one hundred percent perfect for Hugo Strange. And the action? The layouts are fluid and exciting, and end up making the issue feel a lot shorter than it is—even when we’re spending six pages in a support group! I don’t think I could ever get tired of what Rossmo is doing here.

Recommended if…

  • You like getting immersed in the visual storytelling of a comic
  • You dig a more innocent take on Harley
  • You want to have a good time, yet not without purpose

Overall

Harley Quinn #3 isn’t the strongest issue in this series yet, but it’s still a solid entry. Rossmo’s artwork continues to knock it out of the park, and if Phillips can rein in the inner Snyder and let the narrative breathe, this series could have staying power. DC needs more innocence in its line, and Harley Quinn is a good step in that direction.

SCORE: 7/10