A blast of an issue that acts as a microcosm of Harley’s character at its core.

Harley Sinn has finally tracked down Harley Quinn, with Mason and Madam Macabre in tow, forcing a confrontation while Harley’s parents are in town. Worst. Timing. Ever! Can Harley sort all this out in time for dinner?

Well, mostly, but not without several other kinks in the plan happening. Such is life for Harley Quinn. Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti write a fast-paced issue with a lot of moving parts, which is so very welcome after last issue’s plodding pace. This issue packs in several story threads and sets several things in motion–any doubts Harley Quinn was still on the right track after a few so-so issues are laid to rest in this fun as hell story.

In addition to some laugh-out-loud funny dialogue between Harley and Goat Boy, we get our first seriously threatening villain in some time in the form of the mayor, as a bathroom confrontation between he and the chief of police exposes the type of man he really is. Avoiding spoilers, there are two more villains who make their presences known, and we also see the beginnings of Red Tool’s latest scheme. That’s a lot to chew on from one issue in the middle of a story arc. The pacing of this arc has been uneven, to say the least, but as this issue seems to have enough plot development for the whole arc, the ship seems to have been righted.

Another reason this issue was so much fun was the sheer amount of appearances from series mainstays. Again, I don’t want to spoil anything, but there’s something for every fan of Harley Quinn in this issue, and in that way it almost feels like a greatest hits sort of experience.

This is even more impressive considering the fact that the backup story once again takes up about a third of the issue. It’s cute, it’s fun, but it still doesn’t feel wholly necessary at this point. It was a bit more entertaining than the last installment, though, I will give it that.

John Timms’ artwork continues to get the job done. I still contest Linsner’s work on the Devani Kage scenes in previous issues fits the story better, but Timms’ work is by no means bad and his style is growing on me quite a bit. There’s a scene early on where Harley gets a solid uppercut in that looks fantastic (see above), and all the locales in this issue (and there are a lot of varied locations) look great.

Is It Good?

The chief of police says of Harley in this issue: "I think she’s a good person with a lot of issues…or maybe a complete psychopath with a little bit of good in her." That says it all as far as the conceit of this title goes, as it’s a blast to see Harley attempt to balance her propensity for ultimately doing the right thing with her inherent craziness. This issue is a microcosm of that struggle in all the best ways.

Harley Quinn #23
Is it good?
A blast of an issue that acts as a microcosm of Harley's character at its core.
A lot of moving pieces take the story forward in some big ways
A large cast of favorites make this feel like a "greatest hits"
Artwork continues to evolve with the story
Backup still isn't really warranting how much page time it's commanding

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