Review: Harley’s Little Black Book #6
In Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti‘s latest Harley’s Little Black Book (Bare Assed & Belligerent) we get another fun romp through the misadventures, dating and otherwise, of the always slightly off Harley Quinn. Harley finds herself onboard a bounty hunters ship and thanks to her original way of thinking she ends up in a semi deserted island, somewhat like a dystopian Garden of Eden, with Lobo. Hijinks, double entendres, mayhem, murder, shenanigans and eventually an escape back to Coney Island are all on tap in this installment and it’s everything you feel guilty about wanting but are super happy you got.
This issue’s disjointed but story relevant art work was done by Simon Bisley. His style was both crisp and chaotic like living in Harley’s mind. Paul Mounts‘ colors provide the perfect visual assist to Bisley’s drawings giving the issue some depth and nuance. I’ve also got to give a shout out to Dave Sharpe for making his lettering work convey tone, intent and giving them life beyond just being words. Every panel, every line, every word was a part of the story, it added something and created this symbiotic story in the face of Harley’s chaos.
I really enjoyed this issue. It’s long but it’s well written. There isn’t a wasted word, unnecessary letter, or groan during fight scenes. Harley is clever, quick witted, and savage with her mouth as always. We also get to see her with a whole lot of agency, being comfortable with her body, dripping with sexuality, acknowledging her past relationship mistakes, kicking ass, and being smart on her feet. Harley is a real women and Palmiotti and Conner portray her as such. She’s a multidimensional woman with her own girls and needs, she’s also not afraid to let those needs be known.
I also love that during the scenes where Harley and Lobo were naked there was more of a female gaze. It isn’t a male driven, let’s ogle Harley and objectify her. It’s more like situations have left them both mostly naked, and lets have them, mostly Harley, talk about the sexual tension. The talk was actually real talk exactly how you would expect Harley to have it and she was objectifying Lobo. I’m not saying anyone should be objectifying anyone but it’s nice to see the tables turn. It’s also nice that the writers didn’t cross any lines. She’s just objectifying enough to put Lobo in what is normally the woman’s place and then the writers double down with their awesomeness. No sex happens, Harley is in charge of her sexuality, she owns that she is a sexual being, she wants to have sex but consent isn’t just sexy, it’s mandatory and she doesn’t have consent, so she doesn’t have sex.
There are so many finely nuanced points made in this issue and none of them were sexist, demeaning, or put Harley, the woman who was smart enough to go to school and med school and become a shrink, into the bimbo bag. Palmiotti and Conner always seem to find moments in each issue they write to remind the reader that Harley isn’t just the Jokers chick or some dumb one dimensional character. She’s a character worthy of her own agency, stories, victories, and life. I’m all in for this wonderful direction they are taking her in and this issue helped keep up that momentum. Well played Conner and Palmiotti, I don’t know where this is heading but, I’m here for it!
Story: Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti Art: Simon Bisley and Paul Mounts
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.4 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review