Review: HARLEY QUINN #14
[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 #14: I’m innocent, I tell ya! I might currently be stuck in Blackgate Penitentiary for multiple homicides thanks to a growing body of evidence that points right to me, Harley Quinn, as the murderer…but for once it was not Harley Quinn in the alley with the baseball bat.
Someone’s obviously tryin’ to frame me, and I gotta figure out who and why if I wanna clear my name before I end up spendin’ the rest of my days behind bars with a buncha ladies who really don’t seem thrilled that I’m here. Not to mention I look terrible in orange…
Harley Quinn begins with guest-star Batwoman investigating a murder committed by Verdict. This leads to skirmish between her and the villainess, but Verdict manages to slip away. Oracle then informs Kate that, “we might have an issue. I started looking at unsolved murders in the last few months with similar patterns… No unsolved murders matching the profile, but… I got a hit on a series of solved murders matching the exact pattern and signature of your crime scene. Only someone has already been arrested for those crimes”. And so Oracle and Batwoman learn that Harley has been framed by Verdict.
The scene cuts to Harley being visited in jail by Kevin. There are a few interesting revelations in their conversation. First we see Harley telling Kevin, Sam, and her other friends to stay away from her. Harley is showing some noble motives in wanting to keep them out of trouble. But as a therapist, she should know the dangers of cutting off her emotional support network.
Also, Kevin brings the bad news that the Bat-Family does not seem to be looking into her situation. She writes this off to them wanting things to proceed through “proper legal channels and all”. But that rings somewhat false, as the Bats do tend to skirt around those channels when they need to – especially to help one of their own. And that’s got to bother Harley, as this implies that they still don’t accept her as part of the family, despite her efforts to reform.
But the worst news comes when Kevin informs her that there is plenty of evidence connecting her to the murders. There’s even video evidence of her apparently committing them. And despite Kevin’s faith in Harley, he cannot deny what he’s seen with his own eyes. This here has got to be the deepest betrayal for Harley.
On top of this, other inmates taunt her, trying to provoke her. Harley resists, but after unfavorable comparisons to Punchline, Harley fights back. However, she learns that the Bat-Family does have her back, as Batwoman shows up to break her out of prison to go after Verdict.
Kevin’s struggle with Harley’s evident guilt is quite interesting. We see him trying to rationalize it, theorizing that she’s blacking out or being mind controlled. He appeals to his girlfriend Sam for help, but she doesn’t seem too enthusiastic about doing so. In fact, Sam seems to be acting a bit suspiciously. I suspect that something sinister is going on. Could she be hiding a life of crime from Kevin?
I have nothing to complain about here. Stephanie Phillips delivers a solid story in this issue. And while Riley Rossmo’s artwork was a bit off-putting at first, it has really grown on me.
As I’ve stated before, I never expected that a Harley Quinn title would be one of my favorite books, but Phillips’ interpretation of the character has got me hooked. And I am quite eager to see where her overall redemption arc leads.