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Review: Harley’s Little Black Book #5


Harley Quinn and Superman team up to save Earth from Alien sports fans, but first they must fight each other to earn the title of The Greatest in Harley’s Little Black Book #5.

 

Sparring spoilers…

 

Harley and Big Tony are enjoying a sunny day at the beach on Coney Island. Their relaxation is disturbed by a green skinned member of the Scrubb people who wants to talk to Harley. She punches him in the stomach for ruining her tan. The Scrubb have heard of Harley’s fighting ability and want her to represent Earth in a fight with the Scrubb champion. If she refuses the Scrubb will destroy Earth.

 

In Metropolis, Clark Kent hears a strange noise from space. He runs into a porta-potty to change into his super suit and flies off into space. He finds hundreds of alien gunships circling Earth. There is an energy trail to the surface which he follows.

 

Superman’s search leads him to Coney and he lands on the beach and grabs the Scrubb who orders Staten Island destroyed for laying hands on him. Harley agrees to fight for Earth, but Superman says that he should be the planet’s champion. Since Supes is really from Krypton he really shouldn’t represent Earth. Harley and Superman disagree as to who should be Earth’s fighter.

 

The Scrubb decides that they can disable Superman’s super powers and that he and Harley should fight it out in a boxing match to see who should defend Earth. They are given some time to train. Superman takes Harley to the Fortress of Solitude where he uses one of his glass balls to slow time so they can get more training in. Harley steals some balls while Superman’s back is turned.

 

The pair face each other in the ring. Harley lays a mean punch on Supes which knocks him out cold. Twenty two hours later Supes awakens. They are both teleported to the Scrubb ship which is in a red sun system so Superman’s powers won’t work. There they meet their eventual foe, Hun’ka, a giant hulkish creature.

 

Superman and Harley face off against each other in the ring surrounded by a stadium full of Scrubb. It isn’t long before Harley pummels the de-powered Superman into oblivion. The battered Kryptonian is taken out of the ring on a stretcher. Harley insists that they send Superman back to Earth so the yellow sun can restore him. They agree to send him in a slow ship so he doesn’t come back powered and attack them. The Scrubb put Superman on a ship and send him off. However, Harley has given Superman one of the Kryptonian Power Orbs she stole from the Fortress of Solitude. He uses the yellow sun energy to power up and take over the ship taking him to Earth. He makes the ship captain order the fleet surrounding Earth back to the red sun location.

 

Meanwhile, Harley is battling Hun’ka. She isn’t able to punch hard enough to hurt the brute with the boxing gloves on so she removes them. Even so, the giant creature is too strong for Harley who is knocked to the mat. She takes advantage of her position to pull the brute’s boxing trunks down and while he pulls them back up she punches him so hard he is catapulted out of the ring. The Scrubb leader says that the fight wasn’t won with skill but tricks. However, the crowd disagrees and attacks their leader.

 

Harley and Superman head back home and he forces her to give back his Kryptonian Balls. Those of us who have read Harley’s Little Black Book #4 know that she kept some however. The End.

 

This Harley Quinn story by writers Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti is reminiscent of the 1978 Superman vs. Muhammad Ali comic book by Dennis O’Neil. Ali’s role is played here by our gal Harley. Somehow, defying all logic, the story works. In fact, it is pretty terrific.

 

The Little Black Book series comes out once every two months or so. There is a lot of time taken with the book and it shows. The script has some of the best Harley dialogue we have seen since the last LBB issue. The interplay between Harley and Superman is pretty funny and breezy. They work well together. Since it is a Harley book we can accept that she beats up a de-powered Superman with the sheer will of her craziness.

 

Amazingly, this issue’s art is by Neal Adams who did the ’78 version as well. His work on this title is fantastic. The action is always clear and he has a solid take on Harley Quinn, she looks serious and daffy all at the same time. So many of the pages look great from the opening beach scene to the page of Superman being carried away on a stretcher.

 

The colors are by Paul Mounts who always does a good job, particularly with Harley’s skin. Harley can look a little ghostly sometimes but Mounts makes her glow.

 

As I have said in my past reviews for the Little Black Book series, this is my favorite Harley book out there. The additional month or two the creative team takes with each issues shows in the high quality of every aspect of the issue. The $4.99 cover price might turn some off, but at 38 story pages, it was worth it for me.

 

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