Harley Quinn, Power Girl and an alien invader from the underworld Strata hell bent on enslaving the planet walk into a diner for a pastrami sandwich and a romantic ice skating outing. Why the hell not, right? Is it good?
Harley Quinn #16 (DC Comics)
We left off last issue with Harley trying to talk Zorcrom, an alien from underground who Harley inadvertently summoned to earth, out of wiping out humanity and claiming Earth as his own. All was going well until the pastrami ran dry…so now it’s up to Power Girl, the new apple of Zorcrom’s eye, to try her hand at sweet talking the big lug.
Interspersed with this main story thread are a cutaway and a flash-forward, which provide some more sinister aspects of this issue in the face of the lighter-hearted main story. Well, as light-hearted as an all powerful alien attempting to destroy civilization can be, anyway. The flash-forward was particularly interesting (and well drawn by Michael Joseph Linsner, as it was last week). I do hope more comes of that in the near future.
The issue is filled with the usual Harley banter, and seeing her riff off of Power Girl is a lot of fun. You’re never going to be starving for funny dialogue in an Amanda Conner/Jimmy Palmiotti comic, however taken as a whole this arc’s story feels a little empty. I know Harley Quinn is not meant to be the most serious series in the world, but instead of being a day-in-the-life funny story or an earth-shattering event, it’s sort of in between, causing it to feel an awful lot like filler.
However, in addition to the aforementioned fun dialogue, the issue is competently drawn as well, especially the flash forward. There are a LOT of butt shots here, so be forewarned (or enticed), but again Quinn has always had its fair share of gratuitous sexual references, so you shouldn’t be remotely surprised. I’m still not a huge fan of Khari Evans’ style in comparison to John Timms’, but it gets the job done and there are some delightful panels. Power Girl looks great here, and her heroism with Zorcrom’s nefariousness juxtaposed with the ridiculous mundanity of their "first date" are a joy to experience (side note: Zorcrom’s feelings on date activities mirror mine. Hmm…).
Is It Good?
Harley Quinn #16 closes out an entertaining, if low stakes arc while planting enticing seeds for future stories. The "Nether Regions" arc may not have amounted to much in the bigger picture, but it wasn’t without its charms.