Overview: In Harley Quinn #29, Harley searches for answers to her multiversal problems leading her to Zatanna, while the backup features Bud and Lou.
Editor’s Note: Due to the anthology nature of this collection, we will feature a synopsis and analysis for each short story rather than breaking up the synopsis and analysis. Spoilers are sure to be revealed.
Story #1: “Girl in a Crisis” Part 2 by writer Tini Howard and artist Sweeney Boo
Synopsis: As Harley Quinn #29 begins, Tashana, the Lady Quark, returns home to Earth-38. She enjoys time with her family and discusses her plans for Earth-0. Back on that earth, Bud and Lou wake Harley at 05:00. She feeds them and waters with pride the one plant Ivy left in the apartment.
She realizes through a web search that Zatanna can assist her with her multiversal problems. She heads over with a latte, and the girls gab. Harley explains to Zatanna that she’s been experiencing a lot of coincidences that she is now wondering about – might they be connected to her multiversal issues? Zatanna offers to cast a spell of interdimensional protection but warns her that to complete the ward, Harley must sacrifice something alive.
Harley considers the problem of what or whom to sacrifice over the next few days. She alights upon “Two-Face” as the possible answer and goes after him but abandons her intentions mid-effort. She lights the Bat-Signal and sits down for coffee and a donut with the Dark Knight himself. Batman gives Harley insight, and she realizes what she must sacrifice. She smashes her beloved plant. After a few moments, Bud and Lou begin speaking to her in plain English. Harley startles and runs away, but they assure her they mean only to protect her.
Analysis: Although the arc remains weak, it is a relief to note that there are some better moments in part II of the narrative than seen in the last issue. The Bat-Family makes an appearance with the Caped Crusader himself, and the conversation between him and Harley is actually both sweet and authentic. Batman is as gruff and aloof as ever, which makes him believable. Yet he still manages to offer someone as brilliant as Harley real insight, and the moment feels authentic and poignant. Some of Harley’s dialogue is also genuinely funny, which matters because Harley is genuinely funny, so it is important to get this right.
Part II of the story slows down and also tries to fill in some of the blanks. While this helps with explanation, it does not strengthen some of the preposterousness of the story itself, which remains something to be merely tolerated. Sweeney Boo’s art remains the strong suit of the run so far; it’s hard to imagine a style more perfectly suited for our hero.
Story #2: “Hyena Anxiety” by writer and artist Adam Warren
Synopsis: The backup in Harley Quinn #29 sees Bud and Lou start talking to Harley as they reveal they’ve trashed her on social media with a tell-all memoir. Apparently, they are agents of Lord Chaos and then transform into “sexeh, sexeh furries.” The sequence gets even more bizarre until Harley wakes up and confirms that Bud and Lou are incapable of speech. She leaves the room, at which point Bud and Lou do, in fact, converse with each other in plain English.
Analysis: This could be one of the most asinine stories I have ever read in a TBU comic. There is no justification for the Harley Quinn book containing a backup.
Editor’s Note: DC Comics provided TBU with a copy of this comic for review purposes. You can find this comic and help support TBU in the process by purchasing this issue digitally on Comixology through Amazon or a physical copy of the title through Things From Another World.
Harley Quinn #29
The second book in the Tini Howard run is better than the first, but not by much. Come for Sweeney Boo’s art; stay for Sweeney Boo’s art.