I’m not going to lie: I was pretty sure that I’d have to make a rather sizable donation to our local SPCA once I saw this month’s cover… but I never expected I’d be even more aghast once I saw first art page!
I’m taking a more brevity-centric approach to my recaps because they always seem to go on way too long and they’re really a boring chore.
So, here’s what happened in HQ #02: Harley meets Madame Macabre, a tenant who curates wax displays of the world’s most famous killers. Harley stumbles upon a mess of dogs and cats who are about to be euthanized. Her adoption request is denied, so she calls up Poison Ivy. Ivy comes to town expecting a girl’s night out, but gets roped into a jailbreak of a veterinarian bent. Zaniness ensues, Ivy terraforms Harley’s loft into home for the cats and dogs. As the issue ends, someone in scrubs is watching Harley from afar, slurping down hospital Jello, and hinting at devious plans for Ms. Quinn.
This issue is a win from jump. How in the world this creative team got DC to sign off on a cover brimming with bloody puppies and kittens, and leaving the Joker tease for the inside, I’d love to know. They literally bypassed one of the biggest cash draws in all of comics for an image that should be insanely distasteful. It doesn’t get much ballsier than that.
And it works beautifully.
It’s a testament to how much Conner and Palmiotti are nailing the character that I gasped when I thought Harley was back with the Joker. Luckily he’s just a wax figure, so I was left chuckling at my own reaction. After two issues that were almost completely devoid of her old Gotham cohorts, we get a shot of Poison Ivy in this issue, and it reminded me of vintage BTAS era Harley and Ivy stories.
The tone of the book continues to run that perfect balance of funny yet grotesque, dark but optimistic in a child-like way, and absurd in a fashion that’s unpredictable and engaging. The art is a perfect match for the character, and Hardin’s depiction of Harley is quickly becoming my favorite. He’s also more than welcome to draw Ivy any time he damned well pleases.
I had high hopes (and stomach churning reservations) for Harley’s new solo series, and Conner & co. are off to a perfect start. If you’re tired of the darkness that’s so abundant in comics, especially DC, these days, please give this book a shot.
Harley Quinn #2:
Reviewed by Benjamin Scott