Writer: Stephanie Phillips
Art: Simone Buonfantino and Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Letters: Andworld Design
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: August 23rd, 2022
In Harley Quinn #21, our (anti) heroes are trapped in space! Luke Fox faces an alien monster on Earth and gets a new identity (bye bye Batwing)! And who’s going to figure out how to use the old Justice League transporter so Harley and her team can get off the f*!#ing Moon already?
Harley Quinn #21 is the penultimate chapter of the “Task Force XX” story, which has had brief fun moments, but seems like a story that could have been told in 2 issues that instead got padded out to 4 issues plus an annual(!). On Earth, Luke faces the alien “big bad” of the storyline. Seeing Luke out of costume and still able to hold his own is great. It’s always interesting when a hero has to handle things without his gizmos and costume/body armor.
The “big bad” is a horrific creature, a variation on the creature in “Alien”, in that it can “impregnate” others and possess them, then either direct them to attack or absorb the people into itself, creating an ever-growing fusion of faces and bodies, with swirling tentacles all about it. Since Luke was accidentally responsible for its creation, not only does he have to battle it, he has to battle his conscience.
We get to see Harley and the team on the Moon, trying to figure out a way to get back to Earth to save Luke. It’s a hilarious scene between Bronze Tiger, Verdict and Killer Frost, as Harley wanders around in the background and accidentally stumbles upon the solution. Killer Frost still seems to be the most savvy of them all. I’ve enjoyed the scenes she’s been in throughout this story.
Luke debuts a new identity this issue as well, with a new costume that looks pretty sleek. He and Harley share a nice moment as Harley temporarily slides back into psychologist mode to help Luke work something out. All in all, this issue was an improvement on the last one, and has a rousing cliffhanger, but I still feel the storyline is going longer than it should.
Simone Buonfantino captures Harley’s mischievousness and expressions perfectly in Harley Quinn #21, at times placing Harley in the background for some gag moments.
Luke is drawn very much like the Luke from the “Batwoman” show, and his newly designed costume is wonderfully sleek and formidable looking.
Harley Quinn #21 delivers some good action, a couple laughs and a closer look into Luke Fox’s character. The story will be continued in an annual, and the team is all together for a final confrontation with the “big bad”, which hopefully will keep the momentum of this issue rolling into a great finale.