Reviewer: Chris Delloiacono
Story Title: Who steals from a thief?
Written by: A.J. Lieberman
Pencilled by: Nathan Fox
Inked by: Nathan Fox
Colored by: Alex Sinclair
Lettered by: Bob Pinaha
Editor: Matt Idelson
Publisher: DC Comics
It’s funny that I would write a review for HARLEY QUINN and HUMAN TORCH in the same week. Both series bear many similarities! Each concerns a character that isn’t a prototypical solo act, both are played fairly light-heartedly, and Karl Kesel recently left HARLEY after a twenty-five-issue run, and is now starting up the new HUMAN TORCH series.
In the past year there has been a lot of turnover in the ranks of the writing corps of the Bat-Books, leading to some disappointing stories. Yet A.J. Lieberman’s has done a great job with HARLEY QUINN. His stories have held true to the earlier work of Karl Kesel, yet broken new ground with Harleen Quinzel.
HARLEY QUINN #31 is the type of story today’s comic writers need to do more often. This all in one-issue story serves as a great introduction to new readers, without a commitment to read a lengthy arc. Long-term stories, whilst great for trade paperbacks, are often a bad thing when looking to pick up an issue out of the blue.
The story follows Harley’s attempt to regain her cache of â€œenhancersâ€, created by Poison Ivy, which increase strength as well as other traits. Lieberman does a fine job capturing Harley’s desperation, building tension with each anxiety packed page.
Of course there has to be a catch. The art was a big disappointment; in fact it seriously decreased my enjoyment of the book. Why do so many artists feel the need to draw nearly incomprehensible heavily shadowed inky pieces? I hate it! To top off the ultra dark drawings, the faces are badly contorted in nearly every picture. Why? Was a bad case of diarrhoea running rampant in the streets of Gotham? Any further comment on the artwork in this issue would be nothing but ranting, so I will cut it short here.