Everybody has a boring day, sometimes. Of course, Harley Quinn’s boring days would drive most members of the bomb squad straight to Arkham Asylum out of pure stress. Perhaps the most ordinary aspect of Harley Quinn #14 is that Harley is, in fact, enjoying (if you can call it that) her own day. Neither Power Girl nor Poison Ivy nor any other guest star intrudes on the events of this particular episode, which begins with Harley being awakened by Egghead’s rampaging body and rapidly proceeds to a plumbing emergency.
Strange as it may seem, the plumbing in question is … plumbing. That is, simply the water heater in Harley’s building. The plumber who appears to deal with the crisis is a study in hunkitude, and quickly gets Harley to agree to a dinner meeting. So ends the fun part of Harley’s day.
It turns out that the nursing home where Dr. Quinzel is currently employed is understaffed and under attack. Harley quickly deals with her first patient of the day, an ordinary case of an ancient S&M fanatic with an unreliable bladder, before intervening to save a woman whose ventilator has, quite literally, been stolen out from under her. Now, who would be stealing medical equipment from dying elders? My money is on Harley’s charming, helpful, handsome co-worker who’s in love with her. Even in Harley Quinn, what appears too good to be true probably is.
Harley then arrives at her roller derby match just in time to ruin her date with the handsome plumber who, it turns out, comes form a wealthy and elegant family. Oh, well.
Chad Hardin’s art and Alex Sinclair’s colors follow what has become the standard template for a Harley Quinn comic. However, the layouts are very unusual and effective. Hardin largely eschews splash pages and even insets for irregular panels that overlap and overlay one another. The effect is rather like a sloppy scrapbook put together by an enthusiastic but not terribly talented or careful artist. I would say it might be the kind of thing that Harley herself would put together, but it lacks the edge one expects from Harley, such as the photos of anamorphic Shakespeare performances, the bits of parrot feather boas, and the intimate x-rays of various special friends.
In truth, though, amusing as all this is, Harley has not had a really amusing adventure since returning from romping with the royal space pug. The book seems to be in a small rut in terms of art, if not sales. One hopes that the story will soon catch up to the popularity once again.
Just a very ordinary day for Harley Quinn. A day that ends with the need, as she says, to harmonificate her life. I doubt much harmonification is coming, but doubtless a great deal of explosification will shortly be in order.