See all reviews of Harley Quinn (2016) (31)

Harley’s recently fought off a vigilante from 150 years in the future, escaped being made into dinner at the hands of a cannibal cult and beat an alien with world-conquering ambitions into submission. Her scariest, most daunting task of all is here, though: hosting her parents.

Harley Quinn #22
Writer: Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti
Artist: John Timms
Publisher: DC Comics


Last issue provided a few laughs about Harley’s anxiety about cleaning up for the folks, and an exposition dump to end all exposition dumps to flesh out Red Tool a bit more. It was a pretty solid table dressing issue if nothing else, but I was hoping to get some more action from the next issue. Sadly, that’s not the case here. The issue opens strongly, with a worst case scenario nightmare where Harley’s parents find out every sordid detail about her screwy life, but unfortunately it’s just that–a nightmare. When the issue actually kicks into the main story in the here and now, it’s largely not much more than Harley catching up with her parents, which can be endearing but is mostly, frankly pretty boring.

We’re inching ever closer to blowing the lid off of the Harley Sinn plot line, though, so there’s that. Hopefully by the end of next issue we’ll have a lot more answers about where that’s going, because while it hasn’t been a main focus of the book as of late, it’s about the only thing of note going on right now.

Devani Kage and her time traveling story have been a highlight of Harley Quinn recently, so it was a major disappointment to find she was nowhere to be found this time around. Maybe we won’t see her for a while as she settles into her new surroundings both in time and space, but I hope not. It’s been one of the more compelling story threads in the series, so I’m really hoping it wasn’t put on the back burner.


Must have slipped my mind.

John Timms draws this entire issue, a departure from the usual tag team he’s been doing with Joseph Linsner. It’s a shame, too–anyone who’s read my past reviews of Harley knows that while I respect Timms’ talent and it works fine, I’m a much bigger fan of Linsner’s brighter, more cartoony style for a title like this. Still, the artwork is passable here, even though there isn’t a whole lot for it to depict. Unfortunately, the small bit of action we do get in this comic is rendered with anime style backgrounds–solid color with abstract lines showing movement. The artwork doesn’t actively detract from this issue, but it doesn’t necessarily bump it up a notch, either. Much like the issue on the whole, it’s just sort of there.

I think I’m officially checked out of the retro backups in Harley Quinn. They have gone from charming to pointless in a hurry, and continue to eat up valuable page time that could be better spent telling the main story. The crawling pace the comic has had as of late is thanks in no small part to a third of its pages being taken away. This time, there are some chuckles to be had (and some feelings of nostalgia if you were a fan of the cartoons) as always, but you’re ultimately left wondering what the point was.

Is It Good?

What was once a staple of my pull list has been going through a bit of a slow patch lately. The pace has slowed from bonkers, beginning-to-end entertainment to downright plodding, and the most interesting story threads are nowhere to be found in this issue. Even hardcore Harley heads can skip this one and not miss much of anything.

Harley Quinn #22
Is it good?
Missing vital story threads and presenting a plodding issue that feels mostly like filler, Harley Quinn #22 is easily skippable.
There are laughs to be had with how Harley handles her parents coming to visit, especially in her nightmare vision of it
Artwork is technically proficient
The story barely goes anywhere
Devani is nowhere to be found
The backup series has worn out its welcome
5
Average