Harley Quinn #31 Review

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 “enhancers”, 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.