Review: HARLEY QUINN #12
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Stephanie Phillips
Artist: Riley Rossmo
Colors: Ivan Plascencia
Letters: AndWorld Design
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Harley Quinn #12: If Superman had to deal with a bomb on a runaway train barreling toward Gotham, he’d just throw the whole thing into outer space like a football. Zatanna would do some cool magic thing. Aquaman would, like, summon an army of bomb-defusing dolphins or something. But I’m Harley Quinn…and I can’t do any of those things. So how am I gonna defuse the bomb, save Kevin, and stop Keepsake from destroying Gotham? Well…I’m workin’ on it, okay? Don’t rush me! But I’ve definitely, certainly, without a doubt got it handled. Probably.
Keepsake has been Harley’s main recurring foe in this title over the past year. Now, in Harley Quinn #12, Harley has her final confrontation with this wannabe supervillain. The story picks up with Harley stuck on a bomb-laden train headed towards Kevin, who is bound to the tracks.
It’s quite fortunate for Harley that she was able to save Kevin. As we saw last issue, Harley chose to send the train towards Kevin instead of a crowded train station. If Kevin had died, Harley would not only feel guilty for failing to save him but would also have carried guilt for directing the train towards him.
Harley and Kevin then return to confront Keepsake, but they discover they aren’t the only ones. Keepsake’s former Caucus of Corruption has come looking for revenge on the villain that had brainwashed them into being ersatz versions of Batman’s rogues’ gallery. And I love that they have rebranded their group s the Caucus of Kicking Keepsake’s ***. Also, Solomon Grundy appears to lend a hand in the fight against Keepsake and his robot army.
Earlier, we saw that a mysterious figure saved Keepsake after Hugo Strange shot him and dumped him off a bridge. In this issue, a flashback shows us that he was rescued by a villain calling herself Verdict; a vigilante that punishes criminals that have evaded punishment by killing them. She seems to have a particular obsession with Harley and saved Keepsake so that he would deal with Harley for her.
Unfortunately for him, he fails this task, so she punishes him. Thus, it appears that this issue really is Harley’s last encounter with Keepsake. On the other hand, death is often a temporary situation in comics. So he might come back at some point. But it looks like he’s out of the picture for now.
However, that means that Verdict will be coming after Harley herself. And it looks like she’s a lot more competent a foe than Keepsake. So, Harley may have quite a battle ahead of her when they come face to face. To be honest, while Keepsake wasn’t a bad villain to pit Harley against, I think he was starting to wear out his welcome. So, a new villain will be a refreshing change of pace.
Riley Rossmo’s art style takes some getting used to. And I don’t think it would be best suited for many of DC’s other titles. But his art perfectly suits Harley Quinn. His offbeat style is perfectly suited to represent Harley’s off-kilter view of the world.
While Harley’s ongoing conflict with Keepsake was starting to get a bit stale, Stephanie Phillips managed to bring it to a fitting conclusion, one that introduces a new villain for Harley to contend with. Overall, I would count Keepsake’s exit from the series as a positive overall.
As one would expect from a Harley Quinn series, this title is tremendous fun. However, there’s also a depth to the series that I didn’t expect at first. I expected to enjoy Stephanie Phillips’ Harley Quinn, but I didn’t expect that it would become one of my favorite titles in the DC lineup. I’m looking forward to seeing what Phillips has planned for the title’s second year.