HARLEY QUINN #39 by Frank Tieri, Inaki Miranda, and Alex Sinclair
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
HARLEY QUINN #19 features a few different stories that never really come together. The art and inherent silliness help to keep the reader entertained.
82 %
Silly And Uneven

HARLEY QUINN #39 by Frank Tieri, Inaki Miranda, and Alex Sinclair continues the “Angry Bird” storyline. The issue’s pacing is fine but can’t seem to decide on whether it wants to be fun or serious. The unevenness makes for an amusing, but frustrating issue. The art by Inaki Miranda and Alex Sinclair does make it very pretty to look at, however.

HARLEY QUINN #39
HARLEY QUINN #39 page 2. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Fun With Friends

HARLEY QUINN #39 picks up where the previous issue left off. Harley Quinn has left her friends and is starting a Hero for Hire-style business in New York City. Meanwhile, the Penguin has arrived in NYC with a small army of C and D-List Gotham villains with the intent of taking over. We begin with a turf war building on Conry Island, Harley’s previous home.

King Shark comes to the aquarium to take it over but Killer Croc interrupts him. In the previous issue, we learned that Coney Island is where Croc grew up and now intends on taking it for himself. This battle between King Shark and Killer Croc ends a little too quickly for my tastes. We’ve seen both villains take on major heroes before, so the fact that this is over within two pages is a bit disappointing.

What We Hope to See in the Harley Quinn Spinoff

While this is happening, Harley is fighting off of the invasion of Penguin’s supervillains without realizing what has been happening to her former home. We see her going through a pretty hard week fighting a different villain every day, leading up to a confrontation with Victor Zsasz as the headliner of the book.

All Over The Place With HARLEY QUINN #39

The main problem I have with the issue is that there are several plotlines and different tones that don’t really gel for me. Half of the issue is Harley and Zsasz having a fight in a baseball stadium. It’s the standout of the book and feels like an old fashion standoff. The other half explores several plot points that don’t all come together. First of them is dealing with Penguin and his group taking over Coney Island. Second is Killer Croc wanting Coney Island for himself. The third is the Gang of Harleys trying to protect their home. All of this just makes the book feel a little jumbled. There’s no real reason to get invested in Harley’s gang since I don’t really feel connected to them.

HARLEY QUINN #39
HARLEY QUINN #39 page 2. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Different Tones

I have been a fan of Frank Tieri’s work for some time now. That being said, however, the tone of the book never seems to connect. On one hand, we have both silly and tense situations that don’t work. Harley facing Zsasz should feel very suspenseful since Zsasz is a dangerous killer. However, seeing Tweedledum being eaten by a large mutated penguin several pages earlier undercut any tension the book tries to produce.

The Evolution of Harley Quinn

I would have liked to see more focus on Harley with the D-List villains since this is where Tieri shines. For example, there’s a villain named Condiment King who uses a mustard gun like an actual firearm. That tone reminds me of the Adam West’s BATMAN series and I believe that’s the feel Tieri is trying to accomplish here. The fact that several characters from that show, such as Egghead, King Tut, and False Face, make an appearance is proof of that.

Who’s Who?

Inaki Miranda does a great job on the art for this issue. There are dozens of characters in this book and each of them is uniquely realized and clearly stand out from one another. The facial expressions shine throughout the book.   We get the sense of exhaustion from Harley Quinn or the lewd face Condiment Man makes while using his weapons. Alex Sinclair also makes the book pop by his use of colors. There’s a nice juxtaposition of colors, as half the book takes place at an aquarium and is dark blue while the other takes places at a ballpark where it’s bright green.

HARLEY QUINN #39
HARLEY QUINN #39 page 2. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Final Thoughts

While HARLEY QUINN #39 might be a silly and shallow issue, there can still be some fun in it. With several plot lines going all at once, not everything gels together. Characterization suffers because of that and removes the reader from the story. The different tones seem to contradict each other as the silliness undercuts any drama we should be feeling. The art is incredibly enjoyable to look at and, in this case, that’s more than reason enough to seek it out!

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