Hot on the heels of one of the best issues of Harley Quinn we’ve seen in some time comes issue #14, and the beginning of the “Nether Regions” story arc. Is it good?
Harley Quinn #14 (DC Comics)
Let’s get our bearings and see where we’re at after that doozy of a last arc, shall we? The official solicit reads:
“RED MEAT”! Red Tool lives up to his name and Poison Ivy drops by as Harley investigates what is happening to New York’s disappearing homeless population!
Always caught in a love triangle of some kind, aren’t you Harley? Alas, we open on Harley not dealing with lovers’ quarrels, but with gigantic, sentient praying mantes—you know, just another day in New York. They look like praying mantes to me, anyway, but Harley keeps calling them ants, so who knows. Regardless, they are all sacrificed after Harley accidentally summons their god, Zorcrom, so I guess it doesn’t really matter what they were.
Last issue wrapped up what ended up being a surprisingly emotional, heavy arc for the series, so it was going to be hard for this one to live up to that. Unfortunately, Harley Quinn #14 seems to veer too far in the opposite direction. We’re establishing a new villain, so exposition is necessary—that’s not the problem. The problem is the new villain and story is just, so far, not all that interesting. It feels filler-ific to be perfectly honest. However, this series knocks it out of the park more often than not, so I’m more than willing to give it time to flesh this out some more.
Is that why you’re making that face? Cooties? Phew, I was worried it was gas.
Khari Evans handles most of the artwork (John Timms takes on the beginning and end of the book), and for me it was kind of a mixed bag. Backgrounds are very nice and the use of color is spot-on, but most faces just look sort of…strange, especially for a series such as this. For whatever reason this seems to be a consistent issue in this series no matter the artist, but usually faces will only look off in certain panels. Here, it’s the bulk of the issue. A shame because like I said, other aspects of the art are great, but we’re zeroing in on mugs quite a bit in this one. Evans is clearly a talented artist, but for me Khari’s classic superhero style just doesn’t work as well with a more spastic cartoony series such as Harley Quinn.
Is It Good?
There was basically nowhere to go but down after this issue’s damn near perfect predecessor, but unfortunately this one lacks the action, style or laughs the series is known for. It is setting up a story here though, so let’s give it some time. The arc could turn out interesting yet.