The finale to the last Harley Quinn arc was an incredibly fun bloodbath. The series has been nailing arc endings recently, but kicking them off has been another story–they can be hit or miss. "Future Kill" starts this week in Harley Quinn #20, where several simmering storylines begin to bubble to a boil.
Writer: Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti
Artist: John Timms, Joseph Michael Linsner
Publisher: DC Comics
DC’s official synopsis reads:
“FUTURE KILL” part one! You’ve seen her story begin to unfold in prior issues…who in the world is Bat-Fan, and why does she think Harley Quinn must die to save existence itself?! And in the backup story “Harley Loves Joker” part four, Harley’s mistakes have forced her to hide out with The Joker in a low-rent motel…unfortunately, they’ve had to bring their entire goon squad—and a pack of very poorly behaved hyenas—along!
Very quickly we pay our respects to the last story arc and get rolling with the next one, which makes major progress in the Harley Sinn and Devani storylines. There are two artists on this issue, but Joseph Michael Linsner’s work gets the lion’s share of the page time. That’s no accident–his work has mostly been based around Devani, and her storyline takes up the bulk of this issue. We’ve been checking in with her in the future for several issues now, so it’s exciting to see her finally make it to the year 2017 and come head to head with Harley. It’s also pretty cool to see Devani exploring the Batcave upon arrival in our time, reminding us that Harley Quinn is a part of Batman’s universe–something that sometimes gets lost in her esoteric adventures.
Harley Sinn appears in the issue as well, though compared to Devani it’s more of a cameo than anything else. Still, she’s playing with some major characters from Harley’s past, so it’s an intriguing thread to follow. We haven’t heard much from the Macabres since the "Joker’s Last Laugh" arc–it’s refreshing to reintegrate them into Harley’s ever-rotating rogues’ gallery.
As mentioned, artwork duties are split by Timms and Linsner. Both produce solid work here, but the two have very different styles and the shift is jarring. Linsner’s work has up until now been used for the Devani flash-forwards, but now that she’s in our time, this style dominates the issue and perhaps will be used for the rest of the arc. Between the two Linsner’s work has a bit more cartoony, otherworldly feel than Timms’, which in an off-the-wall series like Quinn is welcome.
The backup by Palmiotti and Harley Quinn’s co-creator, Paul Dini, with art by Bret Blevins continues to delight. It may be a bit lighter on action than previously, but it’s been fun to see this side of Harley and Joker’s relationship. Really, the main complaint to levy against it is at seven pages, it’s seriously cutting into the main storyline. But when the backup is this fun, who cares?
Is It Good?
Harley Quinn kicks off a new arc in stronger than usual fashion in a story that should finally start to involve some of the more interesting storylines that have been brewing.