Review: HARLEY QUINN #3
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Stephane Phillips
Artist: Riley Rossmo
Colours: Ivan Plascencia
Letters: Andworld Design
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Harley Quinn #3: Harley Quinn here, still narrating my solicit text! My war of wellness with Hugo Strange kicks into high gear this issue, and things are gonna get ugly. Hugo is about to send his right-hand man-child Lockwood, Arkham Asylum’s most sadistic guard, after Kevin and me at our first support group meeting. Folks, some things in this world are sacred, and I am not gonna stand for this. Hugo Strange never picked a fight with someone like me before, and he’s not going to like the results. Buy this issue-it’s a real gem!
If Hugo Strange’s agenda didn’t seem sinister enough already, it gets worse in Harley Quinn #3. We see him testing out dangerous drugs on the prisoners put in his care. But when he needs more patients to continue his testing, he decides to supplement the supply himself. So, he sends his minion Lockwood out to bring him Harley Quinn.
It seems that Lockwood and Harley have some bad history. Harley states, “You know… you were my favorite, too, Lockwood… my favorite to imagine beating savagely with various pieces of landscaping equipment”. Their past involvement seems particularly interesting considering that it had undergone a reversal in the power dynamic. As a guard, Lockwood was subordinate to while Harley was a doctor at Arkham, but had authority over her when she became an inmate.
Lockwood doesn’t manage to capture Harley, but he does make off with Kevin and the attendees of her support group for ex-clowns. Her support group was an interesting matter. It gets off to a rough start with Harley’s opening speech. But when the group starts sharing their stories, they start to make a bit of progress. Too bad that this is when Lockwood breaks up the meeting. But it does show that Harley might actually be able to accomplish some good.
Lockwood is particularly dismissive of her efforts, though. He tells Harley that she should leave it to the professionals. Harley responds with “I am a professional… I have a *** **** PhD!” while laying into Lockwood’s goons. This humorous exchange reminds us that Harley is a qualified psychologist. Often this facet of the character gets ignored, but Phillips is making this a core part of this title.
I really think that Riley Rossmo is the perfect artist for a Harley Quinn title. Many artists draw her in a hypersexualized manner. While Rossmo’s Harley is recognizable as an attractive woman, Rossmo’s pictures are not designed to titillate the readers. But the art does clearly show her hyperactive and chaotic energy. His style tends a bit to the abstract, which is great for showing us the world as Harley sees it.
So far, this title is rather unlike any previous Harley Quinn story. That may be a drawback to previous iterations of the title, but I find it a refreshing change that breathes new life into the character. However, I can understand that it might not appeal to some Harley fans.
While I don’t dislike the character, I never expected a Harley Quinn title to be one of my favourite books. I am quite enjoying Phillips’ take on Harley and I look forward to seeing where this story is headed.