Review: HARLEY QUINN #13
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Stephanie Phillips
Colous: Ivan Plascencia
Letters: AndWorld Design
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Harley Quinn #13: It’s a whole new year of me, Harley Quinn! I’ve learned the ins and outs of Gotham’s lovely sewage system, and I’ve even made some unexpected friends along the way. I mean, except for one very murderous new vigilante roaming the streets, a new homicide detective convinced I’m the killer, and the acclaimed Spice World (1997) film not being on a single streaming platform. Other than that…totally fine. Year two starts here with a new arc…brand new characters…and some all-too-familiar faces from my past who maybe aren’t so happy to see me.
In Harley Quinn #13, new villain Verdict enacts her next plan to rid Gotham City of Harley Quinn. She poses as Harley while killing a mobster and his henchmen. This leads to Harley’s arrest and incarceration in Blackgate Prison.
I find it interesting that Verdict again strikes at Harley indirectly. First, she sicced Keepsake on Harley and now she manipulates the GCPD to go after her. But Verdict seems to have no issues taking care of her victims personally. So, why is she avoiding dealing with Harley directly? Is she afraid of Harley, or is there some other reason?
But Verdict is keeping in line with her modus operandi in her choice of victim. The gangster would have been one of Verdict’s targets anyway. So she’s efficiently dealing with two targets at once by killing one and framing the other for the murder.
Also, I was somewhat surprised by Verdict’s disguise. She dresses in Harley’s original costume, rather than her current one. Also, she wears a full face mask instead of makeup. Furthermore, when the police view the video of the killings, the fact that she’s wearing a mask can be clearly seen. This raises the question of why the GCPD didn’t pick realize it’s not really Harley. Is it incompetence or laziness on the detectives’ part? Or are they deliberately going after Harley, knowing full well she’s innocent of the crime?
I like that Harley again shows her commitment to her reformation when the GCPD confronts her. Instead of fighting or fleeing, she chooses to willingly submit to being arrested. Between this, and not wanting to join Poison Ivy on a crime spree, Harley is proving that she is making a genuine effort to be a force for good in Gotham.
And it looks like Harley isn’t going to have an easy time of it in Blackgate. We can clearly see that the other prisoners don’t look happy to see her. In fact, one of them is shown brandishing a shank, presumably intending to use it on Harley. But the Blackgate inmates may be about to learn that Harley is not locked up with them – they’re locked up with Harley.
And I do wonder how Harley is going to get out of this situation. Is she going to have to escape to go after Verdict? Or will Kevin have to go after the villain on her behalf? Or perhaps some other ally might come to her assistance. It will be interesting to see where this story leads.
Again, I am struck by how appropriate Riley Rossmo’s artwork is for this series. It would be a somewhat out-of-place artistic style for many other titles, but it works beautifully for Harley Quinn. It really gives Harley’s world an off-kilter feel that reflects her psyche.
I have no complaints. Harley, as written by Stephanie Phillips, is my favorite interpretation of the character and the artwork is ideally suited to the title.
While I never disliked the character, I never really expected that a Harley Quinn book would be one of my favorite series. Stephanie Phillips has made me care about the character in a way I never really have before and has me eager to read the latest chapter every month.