It’s the final showdown between Harley and the cannibals in "Red Meat Part 3: Sucking the Marrow Out of the Party"–that is if Harley can make it out of the pile of human debris alive, of course.
Writer: Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Conner
Artist: John Timms
Publisher: DC Comics
She does so pretty handily thanks to the disembodied, talking bones of her homeless friend, Skipper (just go with it), allowing her to get revenge on the bad hombres who have eaten thousands of homeless and tried to add Harley to that list. What results is a violent action fest that’s light on development but heavy on gore and one liners. And what a ride it is.
Harley Quinn has been somewhat slow for the most part for the past arc or two, so kicking it into overdrive in this arc finale is a welcome change of pace. Harley kicks all sorts of ass in this issue and looks great doing it, so if that’s why you read this series (and if not, why do you read this series?), you’re going to be plenty satisfied with what writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner have cooked up. She embraces her sadistic side quite a bit here too, so be ready for some truly messed up stuff happening.
While Harley comes out of this looking like a complete badass, not everyone is so lucky. Red Tool has an action sequence all his own, but he ends up looking like a bumbling oaf rather than a suave hero. He’s supposed to be an analogue of Wade Wilson, but here he came off more like Mister Magoo. That’d be fine if that was his character, but up to this point it hasn’t really been. Chalk it up to nerves, I guess.
The artwork depicting all this action is usually quite good; there are a couple panels however where the action is going so fast the artwork does some wonky things to keep up with it, making for some strange looking panels. Other than that, though, the over-the-top gore and violence is really well done here, and without artwork that’s fun to ogle, this action-oriented issue wouldn’t have worked nearly as well. John Timms has really found his stride in recent issues, and the pretty gruesome situations Harley has found herself in have been all the more entertaining because of it.
A pretty sizable portion of this issue is dedicated to part three of the "Harley Loves Joker" backup story that’s been going on the past few issues, written by Paul Dini and Jimmy Palmiotti and illustrated by Bret Blevins. This throwback story has been a ton of fun and this installment is no different, complete with nostalgic nods to the animated series and super cheesy one liners like "Careful, Bats! Candy’s bad for you!" as The Joker bashes a human-sized candy cane over Batman’s head. It’s simple, it’s to the point, and it’s a lot of fun. Part four will come with the next issue, which is good because this backup has become one of the best parts of Harley Quinn lately.
Is It Good?
The "Red Meat" arc appropriately ends in a bloodbath, and it’s one of the most fun I’ve had reading an issue of Harley Quinn in a long time. Harley embraces her sadistic side once again in an issue that provides over-the-top violence, gratuitous gore, and those signature Quinn quips–what’s not to love?