by Matt Kindt (Writer), Neil Googe (Artist), Wil Quintana (Colorist)
The Story: Harley tells her story while she blows stuff up and kill people.
The Review: As Villain’s month goes on, the readers continue to receive more issues focusing on some of the more popular antagonists of the DC universe. For the better or worse, some of the talented writers do try their very best to give the readers stories that either try to connect with Forever Evil or tell the origins of those characters in the retooled DC universe.
Some do try, to be sure, yet attempting to do something does not necessarily mean success as Matt Kindt tries to tell a story featuring Harley Quinn, a fan-favourite character created by Paul Dini. While Matt Kindt is very much able to write some very good comics, this issue is a poor showcase of his talent, as it never seems to focus on anything in particular.
While it could be a meta-fictional way to put a certain focus on the psychological profile of the character, the story suffers a bit because of it. Turning this story into both a telling of her origin and with her trying to do something after the events of Forever Evil. Even though it is an ambitious challenge, Kindt never seems to connect both tales in a way that enhance the whole.
What we do get is a story that tries to wrap the madness of Harley through a variety of scenes that never seems to have enough time to make a proper point. The parents of Harley never seemed to respect her intelligence? Harley tried to challenge her knowledge of the criminal mind? The Joker kissed her on a whim? Those moments are full of potential, yet they only cover a few panels or at best a single page.
The focus instead seems to be on her madness, yet it is all told in a way that seems normalized. It could be a strong effort, yet nothing much of what the character said shows a certain irony or pinpoints some of the finer points of the imagery. A lot of what is shown do live up to the whole theme of villainy, yet it never amounts to much in the end as it’s unclear what the story tries to tell and where it wants to go. It’s just not very compelling.
It’s a sad thing to state, as the art by Neil Googe is really fitting of the character and the theme of madness. The characters are expressive, the designs rather large and hyperbolized and some of the stylistic choice are in concordance with a lot of the moments depicted in this issue. His Harley in particular is insane, combining fun with a deranged outlook on life with her violence and her actions. Something he also does well are the backgrounds, which are fittingly detailed with a lot of elements, bringing in some large settings for the story to unfold. What is of lesser quality, though, is the panelling which is pretty ordinary. It’s not bad by any mean, but it’s thoroughly unexceptional, although it may be because of the script rather than Neil Googe fault’s here.
Despite the strength of the pencil and inks, the colors is not really great here, as Wil Quintana brings a poor diversity in many pages and panels. If you love the color red, you shall adore this issue, as it is the main color used in many pages. While there are panels without much colors used to create a contrast, those are few and far between, as the monochrome of red seems to invade this issue like a plague.
The Conclusion: This is a case of not having much direction, as this tale of Harley Quinn goes in two directions without having a focus on what’s important: the character and the story. Neil Googe might do his best, yet the mediocre showing of Matt Kindt and Wil Quintana hinders the issue as a whole, creating an unsatisfying reading experience.
Hugo Robberts Larivière