Writer: Stephanie Phillips
Art: Matteo Lolli and Rain Beredo
Letters: Andworld Design
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: October 25th, 2022
Last issue, Harley started a new life. She bought a tricked-out ferry to live in (complete with the greatest room in history for her friend Kevin), she has a new pet (Parry the parasite alien/cat) and a new attitude, just in time to be shot by a mysterious cloaked figure and killed. Wouldn’t ya know it? But after a dip in The Lazarus Pit complements of Angel Breaker (she was kind of a b*tch about it, but we’ll forgive her this time) Harley’s resurrected and back in action in Harley Quinn #23! What side-effects will Harley have from the Lazarus Pit? Who is the shadowy figure who shot her? And when Damian Wayne shows up, will he put Harley back in a coffin?
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I’m enjoying the “Who Killed Harley Quinn?” story that continues here in Harley Quinn #23 far more than the previous “Task Force XX” storyline, where she went on a mission to the Moon with a Suicide Squad-style team. Maybe it’s because I think Harley works best in street-level stories, not stories where she goes into space or gets involved with super-powered heroes like Green Lantern or Wonder Woman.
There are so many things to love about this issue. I love Harley’s little microcosm in the DC Universe, especially her friend Kevin and the ferry that she calls home. Kevin is such a great supporting character for Harley. He’s not lusting after her, he’s kind of clumsy and awkward but he’s totally devoted to her, and he’s one of the very few people that can tell Harley she’s messing up and not get wiped out for it. At the beginning of this issue, the two have a lovely scene together, very touching, that reaffirms their bond. Harley’s as devoted to Kevin as he is to her.
The bulk of the issue is a great battle between Harley and Damian Wayne, who suddenly appears to interrupt Kevin and Harley’s moment. Damian’s wanting to take out Harley for good because he thinks her exposure to the Lazarus Pit is going to make her even more of a threat.
I didn’t understand Damian’s motivation here. Was he afraid she’d develop super powers (like he did for a while), or was he afraid she’d go even more insane because of the Pit? The fight between them is superb though. I always love seeing Harley in action, she has a lightning-fast acrobatic fighting style that’s devastating to any opponent, and she dishes out the punishment as much as she takes it. Kevin on the other hand? Not so much. He’s a lover, not a fighter. Well actually, he’s not a lover either. Oh well, it’s hilarious how Damian deals with him during the fight.
We also get to see more of the mystery shooter this issue, and they say something VERY interesting as they interrogate/torture someone. Let’s just say this cloaked figure may be operating on a scale much larger than Gotham City. This is another great Harley Quinn issue and I can’t wait to see how the story progresses next issue.
Matteo Lolli and Rain Beredo’s art on Harley Quinn #23 is superb. I hope this team stays on the book a long time. The colors burst vibrantly throughout the book, and the way Matteo Lolli puts details into every panel of the book is wonderful, especially when scenes take place aboard Harley’s ferry, where every corner of it seems to be spray-painted with graffiti or filled with comical pictures of her and Kevin.
The fight choreography shines through in the art. Harley’s acrobatic fight style as she fights Damian is drawn such that she’s nearly somersaulting from one panel to another. There’s a beautiful flow to the action. Also, Harley seems to have 1,356,392 different expressions. I love her expressions throughout the issue, they really reinforce the dialogue and amp up the story. Great work!
Harley Quinn #23 is a perfect issue and a fantastic continuation of the “Who Killed Harley Quinn?” story. It’s got some great moments between Harley and Kevin, a brutal and dynamic fight between Harley and Damian Wayne, more tantalizing clues as to who the mystery shooter is and ends with a great set-up for next issue. If you’re not getting this book, start now! Highly recommended.