Writer Sam Humphries
Artist Otto Schmidt
Letterer Dave Sharpe
Cover Guillem March & Arif Prianto
Variant Cover Frank Cho & Sabine Rich
Sam Humphries really gets how to do this book, I can’t put it any more plainly than that. From the wittiness of the writing and jokes, to the way Harley’s dialogue is written and the in-jokes referencing past books and old jokes. There’s plenty of funny moments and sight-gags all-over the books art and backrounds. On almost every page I’m either cracking-up or cracking a grin. The little lingering doubt that was in the back of my mind about Sam Humphries helmsmanship of this book is totally gone and I found myself simply settling in, letting go of comparisons to Conner and Palmiotti’s excellent run and have some fun reading one of my favorite Comics characters.
This book has been turning out to not to be pure silly zaniness splashed all over the streets of Harley’s Coney Island. The mother of our beloved Harley Quinn is very sick with stage four cancer that’s infected her very bones, there’s not much hope to be had according to her mother’s doctor. I must admit her mother’s levity in the face of such sad news was a great counterpoint to Harley’s sadness and frustration with it.
Getting serious with such a fun and silly book can be a dangerous and hard thing to pull-off successfully for even the best of writers, but again, Humphries delivers. This recent turn towards the grim side of things, and how it’s actually working well, reminds me of how Deadpool’s book got a little serious a few years ago and how the writers managed that quite adroitly.
I thought that the whole issue was going to be a big bummer as Harley left her mother’s side at the hospital to get a movie for the both of them to watch together. When Harley gets to the now closed video store of her youth she’s accidentally killed by an overworked, under appreciated, sometimes laughed at, Grim Reaper, who arrived to put the closed store out of its misery. Somehow, going from the deathwatch of a loved one to the Grim Reaper hilariously screwing up and apologizing, was both sad and then seamlessly right back to funny.
Humphries then managed to pull the same trick again. Harley gets back to the hospital, sans video, has a sad interaction with her mom’s doctor, then proceeds to break the fourth wall by pulling out a copy of her own comic from the real world so as to read it to her comatose mother, ha! Truly great work.
The art was very good as well, though at times a few characters faces looked odd or stretched out from side-views, not a downside, just something I noticed now and again. The colorwork and palette by Otto Schmidt is excellent, this is a pretty book to hold in your hands. I didn’t get the regular cover as featured at the top of this page, I received the variant cover by Frank Cho and Sabine Rich, this is a very good cover and the special card stock paper really made it something special. It makes me wish I knew of a good way to display a book on the wall without the sunshine damaging it over time. If anyone knows a good way to do that feel free to comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I think that if you ever find yourself by the side of a dying loved one you should bring this book and…