In HARLEY QUINN #48, written by Sam Humphries and illustrated by Alisson Borges, our favorite antiheroine returns home from space to find she may lose her property rights. Hard-pressed to find the money she needs to pay her bills, Harley takes on a mercenary job to kill Lord Death Man.

Cannibal Comedy

Sam Humphries opens the comic with Lord Death Man killing burglars sent by Penguin. The action doesn’t dissipate when the scene switches though; immediately after, Harley arrives home with her new friend, Tina of Apokolips, saving it from the people trying to tear it down. They take out a couple civilians in the process, but that should be expected from a girl like Harley.

HARLEY QUINN #48 page 1. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

One of Harley’s main features is making punchlines between punches, no matter how dark or weird they are. However, even for someone like me with a very broad sense of humor, some of them fell flat. Many of the jokes were simply reiterations of ones I’ve heard too many times.

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At one point, Harley works and gets fired from a bunch of part-time jobs. Unfortunately, I’ve seen that same series of panels in other comics. Other scenes left me confused. While I like cynical dead beavers as much as anyone else, blended up hearts with a cilantro garnish is a little too cannibalistic for me.

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As always, the scenes detail violence incredibly well thanks to Alisson Borges’ defined, bright art style. The attention to the color creates a distinction between the characters, no matter how busy the panel might be. On top of these visuals, the fight scenes are original. It’s refreshing to see Harley use a different weapon every time, even when it’s a mallet clobbering defenseless bystanders. These campy murder methods don’t stop here, and it made for a much more engaging story. 

HARLEY QUINN #48 page 6. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Harley’s misadventures are always comically bizarre, and HARLEY QUINN #48 is no different. I particularly loved the scene of Tina going out to buy dog food. The expressions on her face are some of the exact ones I’ve made in awkward situations, which is another mark of well-crafted art. Not only was it relatable, it humanizes Tina, considering how she’s a purple horned giantess. Her character is a perfect addition to Harley’s world, and I hope we get to see more of her.

Does HARLEY QUINN #48’s Weirdness Work?

Though most of Harley Quinn’s comics don’t have the most linear stories, this one felt especially disorientating. No comic is perfect, and none of them can ever be as long as a reader might like, but there are a couple reasons this installment came off as rushed.

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Each scene felt very brief and doesn’t give enough time for the reader to completely comprehend each moment and what it means for the issue as a whole. I loved the humor, but each joke seemed to get more presence in the comic than anything else. One moment people harass Tina, the next Harley calls her mom, and then someone’s shooting her. While it’s great to fit in a lot of elements, one event seemed to follow right after another without much of a coherent order. It was easy to forget the direction of the plot.

The abruptness kept up until the very end, but the final moment is a cliffhanger. For all the minor issues it caused, this suddenness creates some big suspense. Though Harley will undoubtedly worm her out of yet another sticky situation, the question is how? Will Harley get her million bucks and kill Lord Death Man, or will she be forced to find an alternative?

HARLEY QUINN #48 stayed true to all the classic parts of Harley Quinn’s humor and violent tendencies, without being dull or unimaginative. Despite some flaws, it was more than enjoyable to read and exciting to flip (or scroll) through the pages. I can’t wait to see where the story goes, but I guess I’ll have to.

HARLEY QUINN #48 by Sam Humphries and Alisson Borges
Sam Humphries and Alisson Borges create a wacky story perfect for its protagonist in HARLEY QUINN #48. While some parts feel off-putting, the humor, fighting, and artwork together to craft a comic worth reading.
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