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Review: Harley Quinn #32

Overview: A somber issue of Harley Quinn dealing with Harley’s revenge after what the Mayor and Madison have done to her boyfriend, Mason.


Synopsis (spoilers ahead): Picking up directly after the events of last issue, Mason has been shot in the head by the Mayor and Harley and Harley Sinn are tied up by the Mayor’s goons. As the torture scene heats up, one of the goons wants to kill Harley with a clean headshot and get it over with – she persuades him to fire the bullet into her neck collar instead, while the other goon starts slapping Harley Sinn around. Surprise, surprise, it turns out the shot through the collar isn’t quite as effective as a shot through the head, and Harley is back up and ready for VENGEANCE! She wastes no time in eliminating the more enthusiastic torturer and her and Harley Sinn quickly go to work on the other goon who coughs up the location of the Mayor and Madison, along with his guard count and the fact that the local cops are in his pocket. Leaving Harley Sinn with the unlucky goon, Harley travels out solo, determined to extract vengeance her way.


On the way there and as she speaks to Ivy back at base, it’s clear Harley is hurting and Ivy tells her to be careful, but Harley isn’t making any promises. Meanwhile, the Mayor has become aware of Harley breaking free of his goons and is headed for his safe room – he ejects Madison and fires her, offering an extra 200K to whoever can deliver Harley’s head to him! Sadly for Madison, ejected from the safe room, it’s her head that is on the chopping block as Harley dispatches the guards and invades the sanctum!


The Mayor himself is lured out in an elaborate ruse involving Redtool and Harley, then, instead of killing him to extract her vengeance, turns him over to Mason’s mother, Madam Macabre, who has a selection of tools she uses for her sculptures in the wax museum, and she won’t be granting a quick demise.


The issue ends with Harley carrying the deceased Mason, walking away from the mansion with Redtool, as the Mayor begins to scream.


Analysis: This was always going to be a more hard hitting issue than usual of Harley Quinn, given that it was the finale of the “Harley for Mayor” arc. Even more so because the death of Mason due to the headshot that took place last issue, is given full screen time and prominence. This is where the multi-faceted aspect of Harley’s character shines through and it’s written skilfully. We see the emotional impact on Harley from this death – the art in the scene where she is driving her car into the sunset, on the way to the violent confrontation with the Mayor is arresting and powerful. But Harley’s ANGER is the dominant emotion in this issue – the book doesn’t shy away from the fact that torture is on the table, both for Harley and Harley Sinn, and then for the Mayor. Nobody gets away clean in this issue. Its blood-drenched and needs to be given the impact of the events it depicts.


The art, as always in the issues, remains consistent and on point – the expressive nature of Harley is allowed full reign in the panels showcasing her anger and as noted, the pages of her car-ride into the sunset are quite beautiful, showing us the sadness that mingles with the anger in Harley’s heart following her loss. Where this all leads for the series is also an interesting question and there is densely a feeling that this book is ready to transition to the next creative team after such a long and successful run under Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti’s excellent stewardship.


Final Thoughts: A violent, sad, angry and emotionally resonant issue of Harley Quinn. Grab this one and the rest of this arc, kids!


Editor’s Note: David Finn is the author of The Asanti Series. Demorn: Blade of Exile, Demorn: City of Innocents and the latest book, Demorn: Soul Fighter are currently available on Amazon here.


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