Review: HARLEY QUINN #8
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Stephanie Phillips
Artist: Riley Rossmo
Colours: Ivan Plascencia
Letters: Deron Bennett
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Harley Quinn #8: Sorry, Harley’s not here right now, but this is her trusted sidekick Kevin, and I’m happy to be keeping watch over the streets of Gotham. The city’s gone a little crazy with the Magistrate’s forces cracking down. I just hope that Harley’s mission to Alley Town with Catwoman and the Gardener is successful in finding the missing piece of Poison Ivy that could be the very key to saving Gotham. In the meantime, I’ll help put fires out around Gotham…literally…and I might get some unexpected help in the process! Fear State part two continues here!
Harley Quinn #8 continues the Fear State tie-in story from last issue, with Harley, Catwoman, and the Gardener having located the missing piece of Poison Ivy. And parallel to this, we see what Kevin is up to during Fear State.
This Ivy appears to remember Harley better than the version that we have seen so far in Fear State. I am guessing that this part of Ivy is more in touch with her human side, while the other tends toward her plant side. I wonder what will happen when Harley brings the two together. Will they willingly merge into a whole Poison Ivy – or will they fight each other?
But before Harley can reunite them, she has to face off against Keepsake and his Caucus of Corruption. The Caucus is composed of knockoff versions of Batman’s rogues gallery. Like Keepsake, they don’t seem to pose much of a threat – especially considering that Harley has Catwoman, the Gardener, and Ivy fighting alongside her.
Meanwhile, Kevin has come up with a costume to wear while helping Harley. It’s mostly a Hockey uniform altered to look Harley-esque. I wonder if Kevin was a hockey player in his past, that he just happens to have a uniform in his rather large size. Anyway, Kevin set out to pitch in and help during the Fear State panic.
Almost immediately, he meets a mysterious purple-haired woman named Sam. I am wondering if Sam is a new character or some existing DC character that I haven’t recognized. She is quite adept at fighting, so that suggest that she may be a crimefighter or villain who is currently out of costume. I expect that we will be learning more about her in upcoming issues.
Hugo Strange appears to have completely given into his own madness, and is now dressed in a Batman costume. Replacing Batman has been the character’s driving obsession, and he is using the chaos of Fear State to live out his fantasy. He decides to destroy his own headquarters, the S.A.F.E. Tower, while he flees, leaving his underlings to die in the building’s destruction.
Kevin and Sam witness the explosions, and Kevin insists on entering the burning building to save lives over Sam’s objections. Hopefully, Kevin’s newfound streak of heroism won’t lead to his demise. I have to admit that I didn’t really care for the character of Kevin at first, but he has grown on me. Also, I wonder if Sam will follow Kevin into danger, or abandon him to is fate. We don’t really know what her motivations are yet.
Riley Rossmo has been doing some great work on this series. I don’t think his style works for all stories, but it’s a perfect match for Harley’s title. The slightly abstract style ideally shows the off-kilter world view of the mentally unstable Harley.
The events of this issue might be somewhat confusing if you’re not following Fear State. However, I expect that most Harley Quinn readers probably follow the main Batman titles as well. So, it’s probably a small percentage of the readership that will be bothered by this. But it can be annoying having to buy other books you don’t usually read just to figure out what’s going on.
Harley Quinn #8 is another solid issue from Stephanie Phillips and Riley Rossmo. I never expected that a Harley Quinn series would be one of my favourite series, but Phillips has managed to hook me with her interpretation of the character. I look forward to seeing what she has planned for Harley in post-Fear State Gotham.