Harley Quinn #28 Review

Writers: Tini Howard and Erica Henderson
Art: Sweeney Boo and Erica Henderson
Letters:  Steve Wands and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $4.99
Release Date: March 28th, 2023

It’s Harley vs. Harvey!   Harley continues fighting for Gotham City instead of against it as she guns for Harvey Dent (AKA Two-Face) in Harley Quinn #28, foiling his latest crime. It starts a vendetta, with Two-Face retaliating against her with everything he’s got.  But that’s only half of the story (no pun intended), because the most unexpected character pops up at the end with HUGE ramifications for Harley!  If you haven’t been picking up this book, start with this issue and get on the ground floor of a fascinating new direction for Harley.

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The Story

Tini Howard and Sweeney Boo take over as the new creative team with Harley Quinn #28 and things start with a blast as the issue kicks off with Harley Quinn and Two-Face battling at a carnival as fireworks go off above them. The two make great adversaries, with the raw physical brutality of Two-Face clashing with Harley’s ability to seriously mess with him on a psychological level. It’s easy to forget that Harley was once a psychiatrist.  She knows all the foibles, weaknesses and obsessions of every member of Batman’s Rogues Gallery, and she masterfully puts Two-Face in mental disarray here by using his obsession with pairs and duos against him.

I enjoyed how previous writer Stephanie Phillips wrote Harley and I was a bit wary when I opened this issue and started reading, because I wasn’t sure how the new creative team would handle her.  But thankfully, like Ms. Phillips, Tini Howard writes Harley as a three-dimensional person, not just a walking joke machine (as she’s unfortunately written in the current mini-series Multiversity: Harley Screws Up the DCU). Harley’s just a simple woman who loves her girlfriend (Poison Ivy) and wants to make Gotham City a better place.  There’s one scene this issue that’s very sweet and lovely, as Harley, in the home she shares with Poison Ivy, soliloquizes to her two hyenas (good old Bud and Lou) how much she loves Ivy and her home.  She truly seems content and not even a vengeful note from Two-Face can change her mood. Amazingly, the Harley/Two-Face war ends up being the most minor thing that happens this issue.  This new creative team is shaking things up!

The war between Harley and Two-Face leads to an interesting major change in Harley’s life (including at least one new supporting cast member) that promises to show another side of Harley that we normally don’t get to see. Also, if all this wasn’t enough, a surprising character (I promise, you’ll never guess who it is) appears in the last few pages, delivering a dire warning to Harley, and their appearance knocked me for a loop.  I wasn’t expecting this and it really sets up an intriguing direction for the series to come. I’m loving these earthquake-sized shakeups to Harley’s status quo.  It’s putting her in fascinating new situations while staying true to her character.  It’s pretty much everything you want from a new creative team. There’s also a cute backup story by Erica Henderson where Harley battles that evil guy Bruce Wayne.  What a jerk that guy is!  Yep, it’s totally told from Harley’s viewpoint, so expect this story to skew things heavily in her favor.  It’s a fun way to end the issue and a good counterpoint to the fairly grim ending of the main story.

The Art

Sweeney Boo’s art on the main story of Harley Quinn #28 is bold and vibrant.  She’s always been one of my favorite artists for Harley, because she captures the many moods of Harley in such a way that even if there were no dialogue, you’d know exactly what Harley was feeling at the moment. I especially loved the scene this issue where Harley was chilling with her friend Kevin, wearing a very fashionable outfit with cute boots, her shades propped on her head and her hair flowing behind her, looking like she had just walked off the set of an early morning modeling shoot. Sweeney Boo’s art is similar to work you’d see in an animated show, but with more detail and her own unique twist. Erica Henderson’s art on the backup story was a little too cute for my taste, but it fit the tone of the story and I got a couple of chuckles from some of the visual cues that popped up throughout the story.


Final Thoughts

Harley Quinn #28 is a home run of a debut issue.  Harley is written wonderfully, we get some great confrontations between her and Two-Face, and there are a couple of big surprises that shake up Harley’s life, setting up intriguing stories to come.  Highly recommended.


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