REVIEW: ‘Future State: Harley Quinn,’ Issue #2

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Future State: Harley Quinn #2

Future State: Harley Quinn #2 is published by DC Comics, written by Stephanie Phillips, drawn by Simone DiMeo and Toni Infante, colored by Tamra Bonvillain, and lettered by ALW’s Troy Peteri.

When Future State: Harley Quinn #1 ended, Dr. Jonathan Crane, aka the Scarecrow, enlisted Harley’s help to take down Black Mask. She’d helped his task force successfully capture Professor Pyg, so it was time to go for the top of the villain food chain.

With the invaluable help of Harley Quinn, Dr. Crane has reluctantly started to trust her, at least enough to help him take down Black Mask. But with every strike against the Magistrate by Black Mask, the Scarecrow comes closer and closer to overtaking Dr. Crane once more. And Harley? Well, she’s fine taking down both villains as long as she gets her freedom in the end.

Future State: Harley Quinn #2 builds on the excellent dialogue found in issue 1. The success of the last mission has made Dr. Crane even more overconfident in the abilities of the Magistrate. But this overconfidence and arrogance is his undoing when he doesn’t listen to all of Harley’s advice and ends up with a lot of dead soldiers. Even though Harley warned him against rushing in, Dr. Crane can’t admit that he made a mistake, blaming her instead.

While Dr. Crane is able to admit that Harley is smart,  he’s unable to admit that she was smarter than him. In his mind, he’s always the smartest in the room, the man with all the answers, and it’s only by his hard work that the Magistrate is stable. But with Black Mask getting away once again, Dr. Crane believes his only option is the take him down as the Scarecrow.

This idea wasn’t Crane’s originally, though he wouldn’t admit so. At the beginning of Future State: Harley Quinn #2 Phillips has Harley subtly manipulating Dr. Crane, telling him that Scarecrow could probably scare the Black Mask a lot more effectively than Jonathan Crane and his soldiers. Crane doesn’t listen initially, but Harley’s planted the seed. Phillips took this opportunity to once again show just how smart Harley Quinn is, and how dangerous a foe she can be, even without weapons.

Once Dr. Crane snaps, his descent back into villainry occurs at a rapid pace. There’s a minimal dialogue on these pages so the art does a lot of the storytelling, and does so beautifully. The layout of the panels reflects Crane’s fractured state of mind as he becomes violent and destructive, becoming Scarecrow.

The art in Future State: Harley Quinn #2 is beautiful. DiMeo and Infante draw characters that are extremely expressive, which is especially apparent in Dr. Crane as he becomes the Scarecrow again. Not only do the facial expressions clearly show what a character is feeling, but their entire bodies get into the action.

Bonvillain’s colors truly shine in the panels where Black Mask appears as a hologram to taunt Crane and Quinn. Colored in blues and purples, his image fits in with the rest of the book’s color scheme. His appearance is soft and cut through with lines,  really selling the idea that this is a hologram. These pages are absolutely beautiful.

When you’ve got futuristic robot soldiers, larger than life villains, and Harley Quinn in one book, you’ve got the opportunity for lots of chaos. And chaos means lots of opportunities for fun sound effects. Peteri delivers on this, with lots of dynamic sound effects that enhance the fight scenes, making them really come alive. It’s like you can almost hear Harley hitting someone with her bat.

Future State: Harley Quinn #2 is the final issue in this miniseries, and it’s a strong ending. Phillips writes Harley Quinn in such an incredible way and creates an entirely self-contained story in just two issues. And with the talents of DiMeo, Infante, Bonvillain, and Peteri, the art is stunning as well. Future State: Harley Quinn is a must-read for Harley fans and anyone who wants to see what the appeal of her character is.

'Future State: Harley Quinn' #2
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TL;DR

Future State: Harley Quinn #2 is the final issue in this miniseries, and it’s a strong ending. Phillips writes Harley Quinn in such an incredible way and creates an entirely self-contained story in just two issues. And with the talents of DiMeo, Infante, Bonvillain, and Peteri, the art is stunning as well. Future State: Harley Quinn is a must-read for Harley fans and anyone who wants to see what the appeal of her character is.