Harley Quinn: Black, White, and Redder #5 review

I am writing this review in a place of despair for DC Comics. Their comics have sunk down to the lowest quality I have ever seen them, EVER. It used to be that you could at least count on the main Batman ongoing to be decent, but after the nonsensical Gotham War event, that is no longer true. Readers aren’t happy. Shops are closing. Sales are so low that neither DC (or Marvel for that matter) will show us actual numbers.

What is the response from the leadership at DC regarding all of this decay?

Green-light more events, and green-light more variant covers.

The actual problems for comics are never actually addressed, and they are certainly never fixed.

The same can be said for Harley, as I am now at a point where I can always count on her comics being terrible, even in this non-canon series. That opening should tell you that I didn’t find many good things in the following comic. Allow me to explain why…

The Harley Spirit by Matheus Lopes and Bilquis Evely

Why, WHOOP-DEE-DOO! If it isn’t another storyline about how Harley FINALLY realizes she should get over the Joker and gets revenge on him! I’ve only seen that story told over and over and over and over again across the past 8 years of DC having “emancipated” Harley from Joker, which only served to be the final kick-off of her becoming a completely motivation-less, purposeless, one-dimensional character. I’m BEYOND tired of DC continuously doubling down on the same story mistakes again and again.

Is there anything good about this individual story of Harley getting revenge on the Joker? Absolutely not! Set in medieval times, Harley’s response to her abuse is to join a coven of witches and practice the occult, turning herself into a demonic figure so that she and the other abused women can take revenge. I think the author was trying to say something about how abuse victims can be shamed for taking necessary retaliation against their abusers. However, it’s in extremely bad taste to compare abuse survivors to literal demons and portray that as a good thing.

The medieval artwork was well-detailed and nice to look at, however. I just wish it wasn’t wasted on this story.


Flight by Justin Halpern and Kath Lobo

To be honest with you all, I don’t understand the fandom around Max’s Harley Quinn show. I’ve never really gotten what is so enticing about listening to DC characters talk about farts and sex (and it would seem that perhaps the Max Harley Quinn fandom has grown tired of it too given the reception around season 4). However, that’s essentially what this next story is about. Written by one of the creators of Harley Quinn, this tale concerns Bane letting out a large fart on a plane as Harley and the other supervillains try to escape. Should I be laughing?

The artwork, once again, is nice enough with the wacky character expressions. The detailing and use of color is used sparingly to give off that cartoon feel. However, I couldn’t find anything that the characters said or did to be funny. No doubt, the writers wrote this with the voice actors of their show in mind, but unless someone has actually watched Max’s Harley Quinn, I imagine they might be a bit confused as to why Bane’s dialogue is written like this. At least this story felt slightly more self-aware of how stupid and gross it was unlike most current Harley Quinn comics.


#Doubletrouble by Speremint

Once again, I found very little to enjoy from this story. Harley discovers someone has been impersonating her on Instagram, so she goes to punish the impersonator. A lot of the story is accompanied by Instagram comments to express the followers’ feelings, and I always find that, whenever a piece of media tries to portray online discourse and comments, it’s never able to feel authentic. Meanwhile, the artwork is inconsistent. When either real Harley or fake Harley are in the jester suit, they look thin and cute. But when they are out of costume, they are drawn much more bulky. It made it so I had a hard time following who was who. Ironically, I found the dialogue from real Harley to be more obnoxious than fake Harley.

The part of the story that really didn’t sit well with me was when Harley hits fake Harley with a mallet, and fake Harley lays there in a spatter of blood. Harley is meant to be a villain, yes, so that’s perfectly in character for her. However, this is a very cartoonish story. It would have fit more with the tone if we just saw tweety birds around fake Harley’s head or something similar. Making her go out in a spatter of blood broke the light-hearted tone and made it feel terrible.


Recommended if…

  • You don’t have enough bad Harley Quinn comics in your possession.


As you can see, even this series has gone downhill for Harley Quinn. I see very little hope for this character in comics, given that comics in general are doing so badly right now and no one seems to making any attempt to fix that. The writers and editorial behind the scenes just keep doubling down on their mistakes. So yea, this comic is a “do not buy,” and I don’t even suspect I’ll be buying this series in trade anymore, as I was originally planning to do.

Score: 4/10

Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News a copy of this comic for the purposes of this review.