Mini Reviews: Harley Quinn and The Sandman!

The Sandman

Sometimes, the staff at Graphic Policy read more comics than we’re able to get reviewed. When that happens you’ll see a weekly feature compiling reviews we just didn’t get a chance to write a full one for.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.

Logan

Harley Quinn S3E4 “A Thief, A Mole, An Orgy”. In yet another hilarious installment of Harley Quinn, writer Tom Hyndman casts his satiric sights on The Court of Owls that has gone from being a legitimate threat to a place of awkward orgies and pinata sacrifices. (There’s a reason the lights stay off.) Harley and Poison Ivy are at the orgy because the sentient, asexual plant Frank has gone missing, and he’s integral to her plan to terraform all of Gotham. But this episode isn’t all Bane with a dildo gags, and Jim Gordon (Christopher Meloni continues to kill it.) failing at campaign fundraising, and it explores the bumpier side of Harley and Ivy’s relationship. Kaley Cuoco finds a softer, less hyper side of Harley Quinn in her voice performance, and Lake Bell shows more of Ivy’s vulnerable side as her avoiding conflict turns into lying. Four episodes in, the writing team of Harley Quinn shows that a committed relationship can be just as interesting as a romantic build-up or break-up. This episode wasn’t as good as last week’s villain award showcase, but there were still some good laughs from Harley Quinn’s take on the Court of Owls and the general existence of Bane plus Hyndman’s nuanced take on Harlivy. Overall: 8.0

Sandman S1E1 “Sleep of the Just”. The Sandman Netflix show kicks off with a very faithful retelling of the first issue of the comics series written by Neil Gaiman. (He co-writes this episode with David Goyer and Allan Heinberg.) Basically, Dream of the Endless (Tom Sturridge) is accidentally captured by a wannabe Aleister Crowley-type named Roderick Burgess (Charles Dance), who wanted his sister Death instead. Roderick’s motivation is sympathetic because he wants his son who died in World War I back from the dead, but ends up being consumed by his desire for power that leads him to abuse his son Alex (Laurie Kynaston) and his mistress Ethel (Joely Richardson). Director Mike Barker does a great job of showing how humans pale in the presence of Dream, who doesn’t speak for most of the episode, except in voiceovers. While looking like he’s made of alabaster, Sturridge exudes utter defeat with glimpses of hope (When his raven almost burns down the Burgess house) and anger. This culminates in an epic, fist pump worthy sequence to show just how powerful the Lord of Dreams is even with his possessions gone and realm in ruin. Along with focusing on the captivity of Dream, “Sleep of the Just” introduces the season’s antagonist, The Corinthian (Boyd Holbrook) showing him as a nightmare that strikes terror in a slow, creeping, yet polite way. Holbrook’s slight Kentucky drawl offsets Tom Sturridge’s more, let’s say, god-like voice. Basically, when Dream speaks, it’s just like the special word balloons Todd Klein made for him in the comic. Overall: 8.7