Is it just me or has Harley Quinn never been written as well as she has been lately? Maybe it’s the Suicide Squad movie, or maybe I just never gave her a chance! I take a look at the latest Harley book to hit the stands, but is it good?
Harley’s Little Black Book #3 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? DC Comics says:
In this issue of HARLEY’S LITTLE BLACK BOOK, Harley’s new super-friends from England, the London Legion of Superheroes, have come to stay for a slumber party at her place! Just when they are getting comfy, a couple of ghosts from an old Coney-Island attraction decide that her place is their new haunt. Luckily, the charming sorceress Zatanna has just been booked for Big Tony’s cabaret show!
Why does this book matter?
Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti have been writing a solid Harley who’s a tad crazy, but in a fun way. At the same time there’s been a progressive look at the LGBT community too. Can they deliver another good issue considering the zany nature of this issue’s story?
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
As you can see in the image above Harley has some British superheroes stay with her in New York and they’re quite fun. Similar to how Palmiotti introduced Harley’s gang in Harley Quinn and Her Gang Of Harleys #1, we get some fun back story on each here. They’re certainly weird and help punch up the oddness that is this issue. I also dig the overall plot as Harley needs to help some Coney Island ghosts with the help of Zatanna. Zatanna is used effectively and she plays off Harley’s silly nature since she’s so serious most of the time.
The best part of this issue is a flashback sequence that explains how the ghosts were forever chained to a broken down amusement park. It’s a fun story that cleverly works and culminates into a big finish that’s entertaining. This series is largerly successful because it’s an ensemble cast and that makes it okay that the ghosts take up a big chunk of the story with their flashback.
There’s also a few humorous lines throughout the volume most of which involve Harley’s pet beaver who talks to her. Which brings up an interesting element introduced in this issue and that’s how Harley can see and hear ghosts. Maybe it’s because she’s a bit insane? Either way it’s a development that suits her and should be used again in the future.
The art by Joseph Michael Linsner looks great, especially when ghosts and demons are involved. It’s punched up quite a bit with great color by Hi-Fi (how long did it take them to nail down Harley’s white skin?) with nice use of color throughout. One sequence has Harley showing off her ghostbuster paraphernalia and Linsner doesn’t disappoint.
It can’t be perfect can it?
There is a lot of reading in this issue and like the old adage says about movies, “Show don’t tell.” This issue doesn’t do enough showing. It drags at different times and it doesn’t help that, after you get through a heavy page, you turn to see another page with a lot of captions or dialogue (or both!). That drags the pace of the book down quite a bit. That said it does make the read longer and make the $4.99 price tag more reasonable.
I love her skin tone and the bits of pink here and there giving her a bit more color.
There’s a joke that’s set up in the last few pages that falls completely flat mostly because you see it coming a mile away. Really most of the humor in this issue isn’t that funny at all either because it’s more of a smirk induced joke, or because it’s way too obvious. There are moments where you wonder if the book was originally written to be dirtier than it is and I think it might do well if it was, but for the most part this is silly light comic book reading that isn’t for everyone.
Is It Good?
It’s not terrible that’s for sure as the art pops and looks great and the story suits Harley quite well. The comic is never as funny as it wants to be (or should be!) either. There’s entertaining portions throughout this issue, but the heavy use of captions and dialogue drag down the pace.