No one ruins Harley Quinn’s birthday party. No one.
Some mysterious thugs have committed the most unforgivable of sins against Harley Quinn: they ruined her birthday party! What do these guys want, who sent them, and how does Harley and crew get out of this one?
This issue of Harley Quinn throws the reader into the action right away, following a brief conversation that jumps into a flashback depicting the action that takes place directly after last issue. It’s a pretty brutal, fast paced fight scene that lasts several pages and honestly, it’s pretty awesome. Harley uses one of the goons as a human shield for a round of machine gun fire in a surprisingly gruesome panel. Harley is honestly pretty badass in this issue. Sometimes this series can lean too much on the humor aspect of Harley Quinn’s character, and not enough on the sadistically violent aspect.
The wanton violence and destruction leads to a win for the good guys (though "good" is a matter of perspective with Harley sometimes). The last third of the issue is a sort of debriefing of the mayhem witnessed prior, as Harley, Catwoman, Poison Ivy and city officials try to figure out what just happened.
A group named the "Unconquerable 25" was after Harley, and though she takes them down to what she calls the "Very Conquerable 6," the threat remains. Harley’s next step is revealed in a cliffhanger ending, and it’s a situation that should provide some great entertainment in the issues to come. I don’t want to spoil anything, but it should be a fun change of pace for the series.
The other Harley, Harley Sinn, finds herself on the same page as Quinn this issue, in an "enemy of my enemy" kind of situation. It’s interesting to have this sort of uneasy alliance between the two Harleys right now, and it will be interesting what role, if any, Sinn plays in Quinn’s next scheme. Unfortunately, not many other secondary characters get to do much this issue. It was exciting to see Poison Ivy and Catwoman reappear, but they have been more bit players since then.
I am really glad this series is back down to one artist. The frequent changes in artistic style was jarring, and John Timms being the only artist on the book lends it a sense cohesion that’s been missing. In addition to Alex Sinclair, HiFi joins in on colors, and both do a great job. The issue is very bright despite the near constant gore in the action scene, adding to Harley Quinn’s signature dissonant atmosphere.
Is It Good?
"Surprise, Surprise Part Two" is an incredibly fun issue of Harley Quinn. Much of the issue is a fast paced, violent action scene that is wonderfully written and drawn, and though not every character gets their time to shine, the ones that do are used to great effect. I can’t wait to see where Harley’s next scheme takes her.