This series has felt very uneven, but dammit I have high hopes it can pull things off with how the last issue ended. So let’s dive in, is it good?
Harley Quinn and Her Gang of Harleys #5 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The DC summary reads:
This is it—the story you’ve been waiting for: the secret origin of comic’s newest, deadliest and most insanest villainess, Harley Sinn! Why is she so obsessed with Harley? How did she manage to become a super-villain? And what is her connection to the Gang of Harleys themselves? Find out this issue! Plus…Harley’s still kidnapped! So there’s that.
Why does this book matter?
Jimmy Palmiotti is pretty much the expert on Harley these days; he’s got his fingers in nearly every major Harley series, plus he’s got writing help from the great Frank Tieri. At the same time, Mauricet is on pencils and inks giving the series the perfect amount of cartoony hijinks.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This is a fun issue because the Harleys actually do something beyond talk and stand around; namely fighting some pretty badass Catwoman, Power Girl, and Poison Ivy robots. They’re attempting to break Harley out of some kind of techno-prison that Harley Sinn lives on and the writing team does well to make this team feel like a team. They work together, have plenty of fight sequence jibber-jabber, and most importantly feel heroic.
It also sheds light on Harley Sinn’s backstory by cutting back and forth between that and the action on the island. Some of the details about Sinn were already known (like how her super rich dad looks like Donald Trump), but we also get a whole lot of tradgedy too. Bottom line is, she’s humanized and made to feel more than a cartoon as she has felt in previous issues. The tone of this entire issue is very different than the previous ones because of this, which makes it feel less overly slapstick and because of that more interesting.
This is the good stuff!
I’m not sure how the art team broke down their work, but there are 3 pencillers and 4 inkers on this book. It’s rather obvious when Mauricet isn’t penciling as the look is much more detailed and darker in tone. He’s joined by Inaki Miranda and Dawn McTeigue on pencils with additional inks by Ray McCarthy and Mark Roslan. The flashbacks are clearly by someone other than Mauricet, which help make it feel more grounded and different than the main storyline.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The number of artists and inkers certainly help dramatically change the tone of this issue. That’s not necessarily a terrible thing, but this issue really does stick out like a sore thumb with all the contrast going on. What was a comical and incredibly silly series has become much darker and realistic right on a dime. This extends to how Harley is drawn too as she’s much more sultry, standing in sometimes strange sexy poses when in previous issues she was cartoony and much more silly. It’s nice to see the series is getting more serious which makes the story more compelling, but it’s a striking contrast from previous issues.
It gets pretty deep.
Is It Good?
Harley Quinn and Her Gang of Harleys #5 finds a meaning in its villain, delivers plenty of fun action, and changes gears for the better!