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Review: Harley Quinn #21


harleyHarley battles Deadshot and a variety of randy Californians as she tries to ‘rescue’ her client’s daughter and collect the reward in Harley Quinn #21.

 

Spoiled paradise below….

 

When we last saw Harley she and Deadshot were fighting in a no-tell-mo-tel over who would collect the reward for returning Sparrow Adaro to her mother. They crash through the wall of the room interruptussing a couple’s coitus. After Harley and Deadshot both take some vicious hits Deadshot shoots the floor around Harley sending her into the room below where there are some toughs who try to shoot her. As mad as Deadshot is at Harley he isn’t about to see anyone else mess with her and blows their heads open.

 

It turns out the two are wanted men as was Harley’s friend Cowboy. Deadshot says that the three are worth more than Sparrow Adaro and lets Harley have the wandering daughter. Sadly, Sparrow has flown the coop.

 

Harley heads to the Hollywood Hills to find Sparrow’s boyfriend, actually husband, Nick Stanley. Nick is in financial trouble for keeping Sparrow in the way she had become accustomed. Nick borrowed money from some bad bad people and can’t pay it back. The whole robbery attempt from last issue was staged so he could collect on insurance.

 

Sparrow hatched a plan to tell her Mother she was kidnapped so she could get the ransom money for herself. Harley makes Nick take her to her drug dealer where they expect Sparrow will head to eventually. Luckily Nick has a Batmobile that was used in a movie which Harley predictably enjoys riding in.

 

Sparrow shows up at her drug dealer’s place of legit business, a workout center. She waits in the office of Hannah, the head of the gang. Harley enters the gym and ‘convinces’ the employees to let her speak with Hannah.

 

Nick is waiting outside in the Batmobile when four toughs come up to the vehicle. They are part of the gang he owes money to. Nick tells them that he got their money but the crazy red and black garbed psycho inside the gym has it. They decide to go in to get it from Harley.

 

Harley is searching the gym for Sparrow while the drug queens watch her on the security monitors. Hannah lets Harley into her office and the four toughs follow. Hannah asks all of them to take their problems out into the alleyway behind the gym which they agree to. The toughs go out to the alley but Hannah slams the door shut behind them. They get angry and shoot the doorknob. Sadly for them Hannah has installed a titanium doorknob and the bullets ricochet into three of their heads.

 

Hannah agrees to let Harley have Sparrow if she gets rid of the remaining bad guy. Harley goes into the alleyway and punts him so hard he shoots himself in the head. Harley collects Sparrow and heads back to Hannah’s house for a massage. While Harley is indisposed, Sparrow is tied and gagged to a chair. Sparrow’s mom shows up and the topless Harley gives her some professional advice about how to deal with her troubled daughter. Harley collects her fee.

 

The next day Harley is at Nick’s movie studio. Harley has decided to loan Nick the ransom money so he can get out of debt. In return Nick says he can get her into a movie. Harley heads to the airport where she runs into Deadshot in civilian clothes at the bar. They get drunk together and Harley steals the bounty money he collected and heads out shopping.

 

The End…for now.

 

This issue concludes the Sparrow Adaro story line which began as a subplot of issue #19. This tale was a big improvement over the Captain Strong installment, tightly told and focused. I do have a few plot quibbles, like the silliness of the bullets ricocheting off the doorknob and killing the toughs. It was too random and easy for a main plot point. It is great to see Harley reunited with Deadshot though, they have a good relationship from their Suicide Squad days and it works here.

 

The dialog is full of the standard Harleyisms which are particularly good with the contrast between the people of L.A. and the native New Yawker. I always like her best when I can hear the accent in her dialog and you can here.

 

The art is also interesting in this and the previous issue. John Timms creates a long, angular Harley as opposed to Chad Hardin’s more cartoony version of the character. I like both but change is good in Harley’s case.

 

I also enjoyed the cover. Since it is October DC is running Monsters of the Month variants. The version I got is an Amanda Conner take off on Jack Nicholson’s axe-through-the-door scene in The Shining. The variant cover by Ryan Sook shows Harley as a badly wrapped mummy. Both are interesting.

 

I liked this issue and I also liked the whole storyline so I am going to give it a good rating. I’m a little worried about what is up next for Harley. Will she go back to her reduced Gang or have some more solo adventures? If she goes back to Coney Island they need to get the Gang working better which I’m sure Conner and Palmiotti can figure out. Here’s hoping.

 

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