Overview: In Harley Quinn #30, Harley travels to Earth-26 and returns the vorpal fish, while the backup features Harley in a dream sequence.
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 3 by writer Tini Howard and artist Sweeney Boo
Synopsis: Harley Quinn #30 begins on Earth-26; Captain Carrot is invested with the vorpal fish. He goes off to fight the “Female Furries” who seek the “Panty Lane Equation.” They are led by Backseid. But just as he leaps in to attack, the vorpal fish is missing. The scene switches to Harley’s apartment, where she is being tutored by Bud and Lou. They argue about her responsibility. Eventually, Harley wonders how she can travel to Earth-26.
During office hours, Professor Quinzel keeps a student waiting while she seeks Zatanna’s help. Doctor Fate gives her an idea, and she orders a “Cosmic Treadmill” from the Flash Museum in Central City. Bud and Lou help Harley get to the necessary speed on the treadmill, and off they go. She returns the vorpal fish to Captain Carrot, but Carrot is irate when he finds out Harley had no good reason for procuring the fish to begin with. Carrot kicks her across the room, and Harley pleads to him to let her go.
Back home, Ivy returns and is angry when she sees the broken plant.
Analysis: Here is a sentence: Captain Carrot is angry because Harley stole his vorpal fish, which results in his friends being killed by Backseid’s Female Furries who pursue the Panty Line Equation.
I had fears for what the Harley Quinn book would become under writer Tini Howard, but I underestimated both the rate and the extent of the decline. In Howard’s hands, Harley is an absolute child. It is not just that she behaves childishly from time to time. Rather, the character behaves like a ten-year-old. Gone are all traces of the thoughtful, introspective, moody Harley we saw under the previous writer Stephanie Phillips. This book cannot possibly be intended for adults.
The multiversal storyline makes little sense, and to the extent it does, it feels like forced hilarity that never gets off of the ground. There’s nothing humorous about Captain Carrot. The fact that his prized weapon is a vorpal fish is also not funny. And, yet again, the disrespect shown to teachers and professors in this arc continues, as Harley is depicted as a teacher who cannot be bothered to engage a waiting student who wants only to praise her. The writer here understands almost nothing about higher education, which is no sin in itself, but to use it as a prop and flavor it with strong tones of disdain and carelessness is risible.
Story #2: “Everybody Hates Side Quests” by writer Nicole Maines and artist Mindy Lee
Synopsis: In the backup of Harley Quinn #30, Harley is a literal knight in shining armor. This is a video game, and she is tasked with ridding the pumpkin patch of goblin-bats. Then she is tasked with finding out what is poisoning the well. Then she is tasked with saving the town. She seeks the “Fornicating Tower” where she wakes a sleeping Ivy up with a kiss. Then she awakes in her own bed and is angry at being brought out of her dream.
Analysis: These backups are literally a waste of pages. The Harley Quinn book neither needs nor benefits from a backup, and none of them have been worth reading, including this one. It adds absolutely nothing to the main story which is a shame because the main story could really use the help.
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 #30
DC seems determined to ruin the Harley Quinn book. Sweeney Boo’s art remains fun to look at it, but the book itself is almost unreadable. Perhaps the next arc will be less terrible.