Harley’s had a lot to think about lately. Despite a much-needed vacation with Poison Ivy, she’s still frustrated, exhausted and at the end of her rope. She tries to make sense of it all in issue #9, poignantly titled “Butt Maiming and Mind Gaming”–is it good?
Harley Quinn #9 (DC Comics)
Harley’s losing touch with reality–even more so than usual. The issue spends its time oscillating between action scenes and dream sequences. I’ll let Harley’s own words break it down:
“Dizzyin’ dreams, a roller derby rump whuppin’, a nasty noggin floggin’, and all damn day at the doctor’s.”
Harley is trying to gather her thoughts and figure out what they all mean–with Frank Frank, the psychiatrist’s psychiatrist–something most of us can relate to. It’s a little harder to relate to letting off steam in a roller derby league that until recently condoned actual murder, but alas, it’s fun to watch all the same.
Overall this is a fun issue that really hammers home Harley’s tenuous relationship with reality. It also gives us some fun, if not-terribly-meaningful action sequences, and leaves us on one hell of a cliffhanger that makes next issue hard to wait for.
Err…two issues from now. The next issue is a holiday interlude. Issue #11 will get back to business, so we’ll have to wait a month before seeing the outcome to the cliffhanger. This issue however does a good job giving us plenty to chew on until then, and I’m sure the Christmas special will be entertaining in its own right.
I’ll have whatever she must be on, please.
The art for the bulk of the issue, handled this time by Brandon Peterson, ranges from great to iffy throughout the issue. Colors by Alex Sinclair are the highlight of the issue–the dream sequence is vibrant and bright, giving it an otherworldly feel without resorting to the hazy, muted watercolors that flashbacks/dreams are often given. The issue gets downright trippy at points, and the colors help sell that magnificently.
Peterson does a good job with the artwork most times, but a bit too often for comfort facial expressions seem strange or not fully rendered. The roller derby girls had this unnerving, dead look in their eyes when explaining what was going on, for instance–though maybe that was the point.
Michael Kaluta handles the art for the dream sequences, which is a nice way to handle multiple artists in one issue. The dream should feel different from reality, and they do here, in a good way.
Backgrounds are pretty well done, too; there are few panels that don’t have an interesting background. I especially liked the bombs in the second dream sequence representing many different DC heroes.
Is It Good?
Shit’s about to go down in Harley’s world, and this issue does well to set that up. She’s hanging onto reality by a thread and it’s only going to get worse for her, and better for us, the readers.