Harley Quinn #14 review

I didn’t have a lot of positive things to say about the last issue of Harley Quinn. Luckily, issue #14 picks up a bit, and we have some more plot to dig into when Batwoman appears on the scene and tries to uncover the mystery of Harley’s latest enemy, Verdict. Meanwhile Harley herself is in Blackgate Prison, and Kevin comes to visit her.

Kevin wants to help Harley by getting her a lawyer, but Harley doesn’t want her friend dragged into this. However, she’s also complaining about how she is going to be set free and why won’t anyone believe her… and yeah. But oh, hallelujah, now that Harley’s in prison, her pink and blue dyed hair is finally GONE! Let me be clear, I don’t have a problem with the pastel, pink and blue, dip-dye hair on it’s own. It’s a very pleasing combination to the eye to be sure. The problem is it totally clashes with Harley’s red and black outfit and has served as an eye-sore for years. I really don’t know why DC has clung to it for so long (probably because of how successful it was amongst cosplayers), but it wasn’t included in the recent Tini Howard Catwoman issue either, so I’m really hoping it’s fading away for good.

Back to the story at hand, the issue gets more interesting when Kevin reveals that he doesn’t fully trust that Harley is innocent. On the one hand, you might think this is just contrived for drama, since Kevin has spent enough time with Harley to trust her. On the other hand, Harley has still proven to be an un-self-aware wildcard, who is continuously having thoughts about the mischievous things she still finds fun. So, as upset as Harley is with Kevin’s distrust, who could really blame him?

The dilemma Kevin has is his good-hearted desire to stand by his friend, but his dimwitted confusion over her guilt makes him the most interesting character in the book once again. He’s your typical foolish but well-meaning supporting character who probably won’t last beyond this run… but he follows a character formula that works. I also like how his apartment is detailed (finally some praise for Rossmo). Little things like the fact that this guy owns a plush unicorn and a Batman blow-up floaty help characterize him a bit more. I also noticed that Rossmo slipped in a Rocky Horror Picture Show poster in the apartment, which is a movie with a lot of different meanings to people. Some see it as an important piece of LGBT art, some people see it as a great musical, and some people see it as an inspiration to be weird. I’m not sure why Rossmo slipped it in– if it was for no reason at all, or if he was trying to say something about the characters with it. I just thought it was interesting that it was there.

Anyway, Kevin talks to his very loving girlfriend, Sam, about helping Harley. His girlfriend doesn’t like Harley though, and she also has an unexplained wound on her arm and… Well, I have some spoilers to discuss… maybe. I have a theory!


Kevin’s girlfriend is Verdict. No, it’s not revealed yet, but it’s just so obvious at this point. She is a too-good-to-be-true girlfriend who dislikes Harley, has a very suspicious wound, and Rossmo draws her with the exact same body shape as Verdict. Maybe she’s just a red-herring, who knows, but the storytelling has been so simplistic and trope-filled, I doubt it.


At least I’m still interested in finding out why Verdict hates Harley… Which… brings me to my biggest problem with the book: Harley. Why is Kevin continuously portrayed as the better, more likable character in Harley’s own book? Believe it or not, I would really enjoy reading a Harley Quinn book that draws me to read it because of Harley. I just continue to find her tiresome, however. Harley constantly acts like a five-year-old, and it feels like she has the depth of one as well. This is supposed to be a character who overcame vicious abuse and “grew” as a person, but it certainly doesn’t feel that way. As we look into her inner monologues, we consistently hear her talk about how “the old days were FUN! Oh, but not really because I’m a super-duper-trying-to-be-good-person now.”  She’s not sympathetic. She’s not funny. She’s not likable. She’s not relatable. And I know I’ve said this before, but it needs to keep being said when it’s a problem with this comic. 

Even if we are saddled with “hero Harley” for now, there are other ways to make her relatable. In one of James Tynion’s Batman issues (issue #105), he is briefly able to do this by having Harley act “normal” for a moment as she explains why she committed her crimes in the past and shows genuine regret and, importantly, self-condemnation. These are all very natural human emotions that the audience is able to empathize with because, for the moment, Tynion allowed the crazy-clown façade to take a back seat for once. It was a short-lived moment, but how I wish we would get more of this, whether Harley is written as a hero or a villain.

Artwork: I’ve taken the time to study Rossmo’s artwork a bit more. I like the way he embellishes some of the scenes. Like when she starts acting like a chatter box, he adds some pink hearts, clubs, and clovers floating from her voice. Ok, a cute choice. Like I said, I also appreciate the detail in which he drew Kevin’s home. I also have grown to appreciate how Rossmo constructs his panel layouts. There’s something that feels cinematic with how he transitions from one scene to the next: we’ll travel from a scene of Blackgate to a panel of an egg cooking to a half-a-page spread of Kevin cooking in his apartment. We’ll get panels revealing suspicious gear owned by Sam, and she talks to Kevin about her wound. It made me think about how crafting comic panels and shooting films are very much alike, which I appreciate as a filmmaker myself.

That said, I haven’t changed my overall opinion of Rossmo’s art. I really don’t like how he draws women’s feet as pointy stubs. I don’t like how Harley’s face looks like it’s comprised of a forehead and one big cheek. I don’t like how Batwoman’s face is three triangles. I don’t like it how every character looks like a goblin. I’ll stand by it that Rossmo is the wrong choice for this book, and DC needs to make a change here, too. 

Recommended if…

  • Kevin is your homeboy. He’s a pretty cool guy.
  • You collect Batwoman.
  • For whatever reason, you like Harley as a five-year-old, delusional, wannabe superhero.


The Verdict storyline picks up in this issue, and I found myself more curious, but it’s not enough to compensate for the core problems of the book. 

Score: 4/10

DC Provided Batman News with a copy of this book for the purpose of this review.