Writers have been using Harley Quinn to poke fun at comics and in particular Marvel Comics characters and stories for some time. Case in point: Old Woman Harley basically taking the Old Man Logan story and spinning it with DC Comics characters. The first issue dropped us into the future where Harley is a retired hero, an ex Justice League member, and one of the last heroes still willing to do the right thing. The first issue was wonderfully paced and packed with clever ideas.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
In this dystopian-future tale, Harley’s quest to find out how The Joker could possibly still be alive has taken her back to their old stomping grounds, but Gotham City is very different nowadays! Nobody’s allowed on the streets without the Batman’s permission–but who is this Batman, anyway? Harley’s only choice is to return to Arkham…the Arkham Home for Criminally Insane Retirees, that is! Fancy a round of bingo with the Riddler? Or some pool aerobics with Killer Croc?
Why does this matter?
This is a well written and drawn book that is taking advantage of the many characters in the DC Comics universe. This issue also reveals what Batman is up to as well as a new format for Arkham Asylum.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This second issue does a good job juggling a few different things. The continued reveals as far as the state of the world (zombies are a huge issue), flashbacks Harley has of Joker and his last stand, and finally the interesting twists Tieri keeps spinning on villains and heroes. This second issue continues to jampack content into the slim 20-page book, never dragging or holding back reveals simply to fill the pages. The Batman scenes, in particular, could easily fill an entire issue, but instead, we get a full accounting of where Batman is in this strange future. It all amounts to another satisfying read.
The humor continues to work too. The Arkham Asylum scenes are fun since they show Batman’s rogues gallery in a state that is somewhat sad, but also perfect. It’s basically a running joke of how old people grow disconnected from reality and don’t care. A running theme that continues to work is also how Red Tool and Harley still have a sense of humor in a world where no one is safe and everyone is pretty much in a bad mood.
Inaki Miranda has a lot to draw this issue and continues to impress with this futuristic, rundown world. The color by Eva De La Cruz helps set an atmosphere, especially in the Batman scenes which are cast in a dark blue light. Character designs continue to be fun too and I hope we all get to see Catwoman scooters at the next comic convention.
It can’t be perfect can it?
A major reveal in this issue has been done before. Batman losing his humanity to his obsession with fighting crime is nothing new. In fact, I think we’ve seen him download his brain into the internet to better control his crime-fighting before. It’s a sorry state for him, and the reason for his dropping off the map is interesting, but it didn’t bring the freshness other reveals have had in the series.
Is it good?
I’m liking this series way more than I anticipated. Harley Quinn is somehow the more level-headed in a futuristic DC universe where everything has fallen by the wayside. Tieri and Miranda are clearly having a lot of fun and we’re benefiting from it.