Harley Quinn #29 Review

Writers:  Tini Howard and Adam Warren
Art:  Sweeney Boo and Adam Warren
Colors:  Sweeney Boo and Alejandro Sanchez
Letters: Steve Wands and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $4.99
Release Date: April 25th, 2023

kcab si annataZ!  Oops, I mean Zatanna is back!   Yep, the sultry backwards-speaking spellcaster returns, as Harley Quinn seeks her help in Harley Quinn #29.  Lady Quark popped in last issue from Earth-48 (love her hair but hate her grouchy disposition) and tells Harley she has foreseen that Harley may end up unraveling all of space and time if she continues tampering with the multiverse.  Lady Quark threatens to destroy her and Earth-Prime if Harley doesn’t stop.  But Harley, who has Captain Carrot’s fish (don’t ask) wants to return it back in the hopes of rectifying things.    Will Zatanna be able to help Harley get to Earth-26 and fix her crisis (no pun intended)?

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The Story

Harley Quinn #29 is as close to a perfect issue as it gets.  It keeps the story moving, adds a couple great twists and has a lot of great character moments too. After Lady Quark’s bullyish actions and dire threats to Harley last issue, she came off pretty detestable.  This issue, though, we see her return to her family on her homeworld of Earth-48, and this scene really drives home how worried she is both for her world and the multiverse.   Even though she’s leveling some pretty huge threats at Harley, you can understand why she’s doing so.  It makes her more human and less of a cliched villain. Meanwhile, Harley is off her game, not her usual confident freewheeling self because Lady Quark has her MAJOR spooked!  It’s interesting to see her like this.  Even more interesting is what happens when she visits Zatanna to ask for help. It’s always great to see Zatanna and she’s very well-written here.  She’s bold, sexy and she and Harley play off each other so well, Zatanna seems more like a big sister to Harley than just an old acquaintance from the Justice League.  Their extended scene together has a couple of hilarious moments in it and an unexpected twist happens too.

In the past, I never liked the Harley Quinn character, but with Stephanie Philips’ run on the series and now with Tini Howard’s equally great run so far, I’ve become very fond of her. I like that Tini Howard takes Harley out of her comfort zone, making her a professor at the local Community College, having her deal with after-effects of her jaunts across the multiverse, and even giving her an archenemy in Two-Face, who pops up again this issue.  Harley’s a complex character and a very fascinating one when she’s written as well as she is here. The issue ends with a fun cliffhanger and I look forward to seeing how it plays out next issue. There’s also a backup story written and drawn by Adam Warren (creator of Empowered) that has Harley having a nightmare about her hyenas Bud and Lou.   It’s a trippy little tale and a nice finisher to the book.

The Art

Sweeney Boo’s art on the main story of Harley Quinn #29 is superb. The fashions that she has Harley and the other characters wear are striking.   I especially loved Harley’s outfit when she visits Zatanna, her glasses, impossibly long bushy ponytail and white blazer makes her look professional but edgy. I love the great background gags she puts in each issue too.  When I read the issue through a second-time (yeah, I do that when I’m reviewing a book, I’m OCD that way), there’s a scene where Harley’s taking care of one of Poison Ivy’s plants and I noticed there’s a post-it note on the plant saying “Easy Care for Beginners – Hard to Kill” that Ivy obviously left for Harley to see, and it’s hilarious.   There are lots of visual jokes like this in the background throughout the issue and it’s fun when you see them. Adam Warren’s art on the backup story is his usual great work, with his twist on a manga style.  His panel layouts are always inventive and he can always pack more on one page than most artists can draw in three or four pages.

Final Thoughts

I had a blast reading Harley Quinn #29 and the series has moved up to be in my top 5 current favorite series.  This issue has just the right mix of humor and drama and Zatanna and Harley are so much fun together!   I hope Tini Howard has her stay around for a while.  As Zatanna would say:  dednemmocer ylhgiH!


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