Dangling participle aside, this is the final issue of Harley Quinn featuring the power-couple team of Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner. While issue #34 of the main Harley title is the end of their run on the series, this one-shot feels like the madcap goodbye many may have wanted rather than the more sober sailing into the sunset. If you need any motivation towards picking this one up, here’s the premise: Harley Quinn finds a genie in a bottle. I’m done, right? No more convincing needed? Well, here’s a bit more just in case you need some more motivation.
In a fit of rage about pollution on the Coney Island beach, Harley goes after the offending ships dumping garbage onto the Jersey Shore. As a former resident of the Northeastern United States and a long-time shore goer, Harley sitting on a needle was a callback to the halcyon days of the 1980s when medical waste washed up on shore on a regular basis from Perth Amboy to Cape May. It was gross. Good call back, Palmiotti and Conner, and thank you for all of us who avoided biomedical garbage throughout our childhoods.
Harley, after finding a genie in a bottle reminiscent of I Dream of Genie, makes her way through misworded wish after misworded wish, jumping from place to place and costume to costume, trying out her every wish. Of course, things go hilariously wrong. This is generally a tired formula, but taking it beyond the traditional three wishes to an infinite number means taking things to their illogical conclusion. The addition of artists Chad Hardin, Otto Schmidt, and Ben Caldwell plays to each of their strengths and allows for some really fun scenes throughout.
I know that these last two issues of Palmiotti and Conner’s work with Harley isn’t the end of the character, especially considering her swelling popularity, but it is the end of what I see as the strongest storytelling surrounding a character that many, many adore. I’m sad to see them go, but I’m glad this dual issue release is their swan song. They get to go out, as Sinatra sang, in their own way. I think Harley would approve.