Harley Quinn #42 Review: Old Lady Harley
Harley Quinn returns for one last issue before the ongoing series takes a small hiatus in wake of her upcoming miniseries with The Joker. Frank Tieri helms the script while Mauricet mans the pencils in this far-flung-future tale starring the titular character. On paper, the idea of Harley Quinn set in a dystopian future reminiscent of ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ seems like an interesting enough concept, but Frank Tieri is there to make the reader question this entire decision.
The issue cannot seem to find its tonal direction or its general demographic, as Tieri jumps from adult jokes about sex to the childish poop jokes that don't seem to fit the overall comedic tone of the issue. The poop jokes, seeming to be for a child reader, completely contradict the more adult jokes about sexual organs and the like. If the title is leaning towards a child reader, the sexual jokes are out of taste, and vice versa. As comedy is subjective, this is more of a tonal issue rather than an issue of comedic taste.
Poop jokes aside, the random childish factors makes this title seem to lean more towards a younger reader, causing the sexual jokes to completely lack any sort of taste. Events tend to just occur for no reason, usually met by some outlandish concept like cloned monster Penguins or an army of anthropomorphic goat men. Outside of viewing the ensemble cast of Harley’s friends through a “futuristic” lens, the issue accomplishes very little. Graciously, this is only a stand alone story.
Amanda Conner does a great job displaying Harley as an old woman and tricking the reader into thinking this story will be interesting with her great artwork. Mauricet on the other hand is never given a chance to truly shine throughout this issue, as Tieri adds on one over-the-top moment after another. Mauricet never truly manages to capture the old weathered look the the cover initially brands into the reader's minds, only ever coming off as Harley with yet another dumb haircut. Paul Mounts is another casualty of the issue, as he must succumb to the drab colors of the dystopian desert wasteland, only managing to sneak out small spurts of color within the large cast of characters.
Old Woman Harley attempted to be a much more interesting and fun tale than it actually turned out to be, unfortunately missing the mark. With far too many moments of little to no explanation for the sake of the plot, along with the over the top “randomness”, and the complete disarray of comedic tone, this issue left much to be desired after an intriguing Amanda Conner cover and initial concept. With a Harley Quinn Joker mini series around the corner, there is still hope for the next story, even if this one left much to be desired.