A new villain version of Harley Quinn sounds nuts considering on off days Harley is a villain herself! The character made their introduction last issue, but this issue really shows us the crazy. Is it good?
Harley Quinn and her Gang of Harleys #2 (DC Comics)
The official DC Comics summary reads:
With Harley missing, the Gang springs into action to find her…but they’re definitely not prepared for the sinister mastermind behind the kidnapping! Who in the world is Harley Sinn?!
Why does this book matter?
Frank Tieri and Jimmy Palmiotti have made the Harley character slapstick, but also heroic even though she’s completely nuts. Extending that to a team seems like a logical new direction and so far it works. Each member is different from one another, but all of them are a bit wacko. The art by Mauricet brings that cartoony vibe so even the more serious stuff isn’t taken too seriously.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Boy, is there some serious stuff in this issue! From a (I think) sexual panel of a ball gag being taken out of Harley’s mouth – complete with a line of drool hanging out – to Harley Sinn bending over in front of Harley to some some rather graphic off panel violence this is about as far as you can go with the T rating. Since the general vibe of the book is “Teen” it makes these moments either shockingly funny or questionable at best. It certainly makes this issue very tantalizing and one you’ll want to discuss with friends.
The main premise of this issue works to introduce the families of the Gang of Harleys members. With Harley kidnapped and Harley Sinn threatening to kill the Gang’s families, the Gang must rush to get them to safety. Palmiotti and Tieri do a good job making these side characters more complex which will pay dividends later.
What the hell is she wearing?
Customary to this series there’s a lot of dialogue and Mauricet draws this book well enough so that it isn’t boring. The off panel violence is done particularly well – and one might argue it’s more disturbing being off panel too – and Harley Sinn and her gang are effective at being the foil to the Gang of Harleys too.
It can’t be perfect can it?
With Harley Sinn calling the shots and Harley herself tied up this entire issue it’s hard to root for the heroes since they aren’t being so heroic. They’re basically running home with their tails between their legs. It doesn’t help that Harley is degraded with the ball gag in her mouth either.
The actual narrative here isn’t very compelling either. Harley Sinn basically gives an order to her team and then takes it back. The premise works to introduce her team and more of the Gang of Harleys, but taking her order to kill back renders the entire issue conflict free. The bad guys – like us – listen in on the Gang of Harley’s interactions with their families which isn’t that compelling. There isn’t much in the way of revealing who Harley Sinn is either. She’s crazy like Harley and maybe more so, but why she cares about inflicting pain on Harley is still up there. That makes this read spin its wheels even further and ultimately a skippable installment.
That’s rather sexual.
Is It Good?
I wanted to like this issue as it has some rather shocking adult themes in play, but it lacks humor, action, and conflict. Come for some Gang of Harley team member backstory, but don’t expect much more.