Multiversity: Harley Screws Up the DCU #1 Review

Writer: Frank Tieri
Art:  Logan Faerber
Letters: Ferran Delgado
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $4.99
Release Date: March 14th, 2023

Eat your heart out, Doctor Who!  Harley’s back in Coney Island in Multiversity: Harley Screws Up the DCU #1 and a mysterious dead magician just left her a space/time travel machine in his will.  Harley spends weeks analyzing the machine with the latest scientific technology, making sure it can cause no harm to the space/time continuum.  Just kidding, she immediately jumps inside it and pushes the start button (the red one that says “Push here stupid!”).  Let the catastrophe begin!

If you’re interested in this comic, series, related trades, or any of the others mentioned, then simply click on the title/link to snag a copy through Amazon as you read the Multiversity: Harley Screws Up the DCU #1 Review.

The Story

Harley Quinn’s regular monthly book just wrapped up a storyline called “Who Killed Harley Quinn?”, where the Harley Who Laughs is jumping across the multiverse, killing the Harley Quinn of each Earth.  It was a damn good story that pulled in Old Lady Harley, Batwoman, Poison Ivy and a multitude of alternate-Earth Harleys. So the timing of Multiversity: Harley Screws Up the DCU #1, the start of a new multiverse-threatening story involving Harley, seems a bit odd, a bit “too soon”.   Unfortunately, judging by this first issue, this mini-series isn’t going to measure up to the “Who Killed Harley Quinn?” story. My main gripe with this first issue is how writer Frank Tieri writes Harley Quinn, with nearly everything she says being a joke or a pun on words.  By the end of the issue, it gets exhausting.   It reminded me of the dialogue in the disastrous Batman film “Batman & Robin”, where every word out of Mr. Freeze’s mouth was a corny pun on cold or ice (“Alright Everyone, chill!”, “Allow me to break the ice!”, “Let’s kick some ice!”, etc.).  Ugh. In Harley’s regular monthly book (written by Stephanie Phillips), Harley’s written as a three-dimensional character.  Sure, she gets silly occasionally, but she also has full conversations and entire issues where she doesn’t make one pun or joke.  It just makes her more interesting and that book more fun to read.   Not every line of dialogue has to be a joke, pun or witticism (especially when they’re bad).

Okay, with that out of the way, the concept of the book has potential, with Harley inheriting a Tardis-like space/time machine called “The Way Back Booth” (that looks like one of those magician boxes where the assistant steps in and disappears). After Harley gets reacquainted with her old friends in Coney Island, the remainder of the book has Harley jumping into the machine and going to an Earth where Starro has taken over the world and no heroes exist on this Earth to stop it. There’s some good furious action here as Harley fights off her zombie-like friends of this Earth, who are all possessed by Starro, and a mysterious cloaked and hooded figure pops up to help her. It ends the issue on a decent cliffhanger, but overall, I feel there’s not a lot of substance here.  It seems like it’s going to be another variation of “The Walking Dead”, when this could have been the first part of a fun trip through the multiverse. Hopefully, next issue will transcend this first issue and the rest of the mini-series will be stronger.

The Art

Logan Faerber’s art on Multiversity: Harley Screws Up the DCU #1 reminded me of Peter Bagge’s work, with it’s mixture of the cartoony and the grotesque.
Harley and her friends are all drawn with exaggerated expressions and the color scheme is practically psychedelic at some points. My favorite part of the issue was the full-page spread when Harley activates “The Way Back Booth”.  She travels through the time and space surrounded by fuzzy images of past DC events.  The grainy vibrant colors make you feel as if you’re on an acid trip while looking at the page.

Final Thoughts

Multiversity: Harley Screws Up the DCU #1 is drowning in bad dialogue but has a good premise.  The “Walking Dead” style Earth that Harley lands on here will hopefully be a temporary stay and we’ll get to see her travel more interesting areas of the multiverse in future issues.


Leave a Reply