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Review Brew: DC says goodbye to Conner and Palmiotti on Harley Quinn

Harley Quinn #34
Writers: Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti
Artists: Chad Hardin, John Timms
Cover: Amanda Conner
$2.99
DC Comics

Harley Quinn: Be Careful What You Wish For
Writers: Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti
Artist: Chad Hardin, Amanda Conner
Cover: Amanda Conner
$4.99
DC Comics

For whatever it’s worth, the Conner/Palmiotti run on Harley Quinn wraps up this week with a final issue and a bonus special (which is technically an expanded reprint of a Loot Crate comic). The run didn’t quite reach 100 issues, but did encompass two series which went over 30 issues each, and several assorted miniseries and specials. That’s not too bad for a husband/wife creator pair who feel that it’s time to move onto something else.

Harley Quinn (vol. 2) #34 at least closes out the series with Harley, Ivy, and two of Harley’s Brooklyn pals on a road trip to Florida which leads to bar fights, police evasion, a reunion with an old friend of Harley’s, and an opportunity to yell at her own creative team. There’s nothing phenomenal here, but the issue does serve as a punctuation mark on a six year run which has largely amounted to Harley having a lot of fun and shedding her Batman and Joker roots. You’re not missing out if you skip this one, but it’s at least a fair close to this run of the character as the duo prepares to hand it off to Frank Tieri.

In fairness, Conner and Palmiotti have at least given Harley a distinct voice that’s broken free of her roots as the Joker’s perpetual punching bag, and the lunatic killer of the Suicide Squad film and comic. Continuity largely went out the window in this series, as the title seldom, if ever, acknowledged the events of the larger DC Universe. Even with “Rebirth” branding on the 2015 relaunch, Harley Quinn has remained its own thing about a compassionate, crass, and independent clown making her own name in a superheroic universe.

The unrelated Be Careful What You Wish For special is more indicative of the looniness of the duo’s larger run on the book, where anything can and does go. This one-shot involves Harley uncorking a genie who grants her unlimited wishes. Story-wise, it’s a chance for Harley to serve as her own foil, as every wish backfires badly and in comedic ways. For artistic purposes, the special allows Conner and Palmiotti to cut loose in ways that they couldn’t even in the off-kilter main title. Among the wishes, we see what happens if the Joker actually was the kind of boyfriend Harley wanted; what Harley would be like as a member of the Justice League; what happens when she meets her own male counterpart; the consequences of wishing for breasts as big as Power Girl’s; and seeing Harley as a baby.

Next month, Harley Quinn gets handed off to…Frank Tieri. Which might be fine–we can’t prejudge–but it’s always hard to see a deeply rooted creative team leave and be replaced with somebody else. It’s sad to see the current team go. I haven’t loved every issue, but when the book was on, it was on. Godspeed, Amanda and Jimmy.

Ratings:
Harley Quinn #34: Three mallets out of five
Harley Quinn: Be Careful What You Wish For: Four magic lamps out of five.

About Adam Frey (344 Articles)
Adam Frey is still trying to figure out what he wants to be when he grows up. In the meantime, he's an attorney and moonlights as an Emergency Medical Technician in Maryland. A comic reader for over 30 years, he's gradually introducing his daughter to the hobby, much to the chagrin of his wife and their bank account.

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