Harley Quinn #66 // Review
A crazy post-psycho clown girl is given vast power. Things might get ugly at first, but it only makes sense that she would end up having tea in a big white void with a couple of cosmic entities. Things get weird in the latest issue of Harley Quinn. One story ends as another begins in another enjoyable issue written by Sam Humphries with art by Sami Basri. The ending of the multi-part, “Trials of Harley Quinn,” story feels almost kinda sorta anti-climactic. That was bound to happen, given the scope of a story. Thanks to clever oddness from Huphries and Basri, it’s still quite a bit of fun anyway.
Order and Chaos grant Harley Quinn the power. She has passed all of the trials and is appointed Angel of Retribution. Taking a moment to thank her newfound friend Mirand’r for allowing her to go through the trials, she promptly attacks Order and Chaos. (The way she sees it, they killed her mom.) Things don’t go well from there, but given the fact that she ends up sitting down to tea with Order, Chaos, and Mirand’r, they don’t exactly go bad in the most predictable way.
Humphries doesn’t quite manage to get a totally satisfying spin on Harley getting cosmic powers, but the deeply emotional nature of Harley coming to terms with the loss of her mother is really, really compelling drama. Active conversations between abstract entities and Harley are contrasted against Harley’s conversations with her late mother. As compelling as it is, though, the ending lacks the deeper finesse of thematic potential in a story which contrasts personal emotions against cosmic power. Humphries saves things a bit in the clever, little perfunctory docking with the Year of the Villain storyline.
Basri makes the most of an opportunity to get really, really heavily into emotional sophistication with very nuanced expressions and body language between Harley, her mother, and Mirand’r. The cosmic level of things feels respectably fleshed-out as well in compelling action panels, which pit a cosmically-powered Harley against two very, very powerful entities. The most impressive bit of design work in the whole issue has to be the tea party in a void of white. There’s real power to the dramatic switchover from a cosmic cataclysm to a nicely-appointed tea table in a sea of white. To his credit, Basri doesn’t over-sell the simplicity of it. There’s a remarkable level of detail to tea time in the blinding white nothingness that feels dazzling in its own way. Yes, it IS essentially borrowing visual momentum from the final scene of Kubrick’s 2001, but it’s still. Really, really breathtaking to see cosmic interaction take on a very mundane form.
The coming changeover in Harley Quinn’s life accompanies a promising development in Quinn’s interaction with the Year of the Villain crossover event. Having fully resolved Harley’s cosmic trials, Humphries and Basri allow Harley to turn her attention to the fourth wall once more. It’s a natural progression into the future of one of the more consistently satisfying comics of the Year.