Review: Harley Quinn #71
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Sam Humphries
Artist: Sami Barsi
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Reviewer: Tony Farina
Harley Quinn #71 picks up the action as Harley finds herself in California trying to find the killer of one of her besties. She is hardened by the loss of her own mother and pushed by her own madness to solve the case. Convinced, because she spent some time working with the Bat on a few occasions, she is a detective, she sets out on her quest.
Sam Humphries has always been a great at doing dialogue and Harley is always a better character when she has someone snappy doing that for her. The pacing here is great and the fact that Harley seems to think she can be a detective is both hysterical and touching. She has ulterior motives on this case. The crazy genius with a heart of gold works. Humphries did a wonderful job with Jessica Cruz a few years back. He really knows how to tap into the angst and loneliness that comes along with mental illness. He doesn’t pretend things are always great. He doesn’t pretend the mental illness is a joke. He lets jokes build and they land.
Sami Barsi does a great job of capturing the angst that Humphries is portraying. Harley is prone to have mood swings. Those are not always easy to capture. Even if Humphries wasn’t directing us to feel a certain way at a certain time with his voice over commentary, Barsi would let us know. Also, having Hi-Fi do the colors for a Harley Quinn book is a no brainer. She is color personified.
Most of those things that are great about Harley Quinn #71 actually work against it. If we are seeing Harley as an anti-hero with a mental illness, maybe the overt sexualization of her needs to tone down a bit. In the above panel, she has an almost cherubic face. That works for this version of her, but does cherubic equate to overly sexualized? It doesn’t.
I will be honest. I am just jumping on this train at issue 71, so I need to get my sea legs, but I feel like this book is in capable hands. I really do enjoy the way Humphries writes female characters and I think this shows some incredibly growth for the character, post Heroes in Crisis. I mean, she even teams up with Booster in this, so that says a lot.