There’s a decently high body count in this issue and even an on panel decapitation, which I was little surprised to see with Harley’s Teen rating. Not that I’m complaining. I’d love it if DC went all out with this book and made Harley Quinn a mature book, it would be more in keeping with her character, but that’s not likely to happen anytime soon. It’s a Valentine’s Day issue and we see that one of the house warming presents Poison Ivey left was an aphrodisiac which Harley takes before planning on going to a singles’ bar. She never does make it there, as anyone who gets too close to her falls instantly, hopelessly in love.
It’s a bit of played out plot device but it’s spiced up by the inclusion of prison bus full of murders and sex fiends crashing in front of her and the lot of them chasing after her. I don’t think the threat of rape and murder played up for laughs In a Benny Hill style chase worked and not just because it’s a scary situation, but because on the face of it, it just wasn’t funny. You can separate yourself from the terrifying reality of the situation, but even knowing, of course, Harley’s going to put the smack down on them in a few panels, it just doesn’t work for comedy. On top of that, despite the aphrodisiac being labeled as such, Harley seems completely perplexed by what’s happening. She’s supposed a brilliant psychiatrist but her actions are much more in keeping with a semi-sentient houseplant.
We get another nod to the mysterious person who has put a hit out on her, but nothing more than a single, not very impressive assassin who comes and goes in a single page. Again, Harley mentions to herself that she’s got to get on this but makes no effort to do so.
I love this character but she is being very poorly handled in this series. She reads less like a brilliant sociopath than… I don’t even really have a good word for how she comes off because I keep landing on, “white bread,” which is kind of the problem, she’s supposed to be smart but we don’t see that in her plans, actions, or thoughts; she’s supposed to be a villain, but besides killing people who are actively trying to kill her she just goes about her life like any other person, with the addition of a outlandish costume, and in New York that doesn’t exactly make her special.
On top of the flaws with Harley, the story is going for laughs, I see where the jokes are, but they’re just not funny. Cheesy puns are par for the course but that should be an endearing nod to her character’s origin not the sole source of humor in the book.
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