Review: Harley Quinn #11
Harley Quinn #11 is the beginning of the latest DC Universe Rebirth Harley Quinn story arc. There have been hints peppered throughout the last two story arcs, a bar of heart soap here, a sound there but, this time around the moment we’ve all been waiting for (or dreading) is here. The arc is “Joker Loves Harley” and he’s back.
Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti stack a lot of stuff into this issue. We’ve got Mr. J showing up at Harley’s apartment uninvited and letting himself in, there’s Red Tool pulling an overprotective ” boyfriend” and, a mystery side trek to someplace Harley and Tool probably shouldn’t be , where they’ve probably let loose something they shouldn’t have.
This issue started going down a lot of different paths and sometimes it made sense and was fluid, unfortunately at other times it felt a bit messy or out of place. I give the writers kudos for the way that Harley handled the Joker showing up at her place after breaking in. It was honest and I’m glad they didn’t have her falling back into her arms and continuing the cycle of abuse. I was not a fan of Red Tool doing side moves and intervening with Joker on Harley’s behalf without her consent. In general , a woman’s NO should be a NO. A woman’s NO should not have to be amplified or validated by a man stepping up to claim her and I felt like that is what Tools interactions with the Joker was all about. Tool seemed to be putting out all the White Knight vibes and while the Jokers return does warrant reason to worry about Harley, she seems to have things under control and Tools stepping in not only takes away part of Harley’s autonomy and choice but, could make things worse for her.
Outside of the parts of the issue that I found problematic from a feminist perspective, I also was kind of unsure about Harley and Tools little side mission. The exploring to get her mind off of thing I got but, their decisions following discovering what they discovered, didn’t ring true. It seemed unlikely for them to just walk away and , it felt like a cheap trick to propel this arc along or to plant seeds for the next arc.
I also found some of Harley’s dialogue to be a bit silly and not in the fun, cute, clever, savage, sarcastic way she usually talks. There were a few interactions where I felt like she sounded less intelligent than she is. I understand her being rattled by the Joker’s pop up but, there seemed to be little thought placed on her words, which was kind of off putting.
John Timms artwork is beautiful, dark, suggestive and has just the right amount of pop. His style lends itself to the crazy that is Harley’s world and, I love it. Timm’s doesn’t linger on or overlysexualize Harley’s body, in fact we saw more of Tool than of Harley, so kudos for that. His attention to detail and the way he masters the facial expressions that go so well with what Harley is dealing with or feeling in a panel gives depth to the story.
Overall, Issue #11 was just OK and since the first 10 Rebirth issues were so on point and I was loving the direction that Harley was taking, this was kind of a let down. It felt like the writers kind of ran out of steam and went for a place holder style set up issue as opposed to the intro to the arc style they had been using. I’m hoping this arc turns itself around and gives us more of the Harley that we love and a meatier story because, this issue compared to the previous 10, was just meh.
Story: Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti Art: John Timms
Story: 6.5 Art: 8.0 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review