REVIEW: ‘Harley Quinn,’ Issue #5

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Harley Quinn #5 - But Why Tho

Harley Quinn #5 is published by DC Comics and is the last of the series. The writer is Stephanie Phillips and the art is by Riley Rossmo. Ivan Plascencia provides the colours and the letters are by Andworld Design.

Harley Quinn has been trying to save the reputation of the clowns in the city. After the Joker used them for his own gain, the jesters have been abused and shunned from Gotham. With the help of her new friend Kenny, they have been working hard to help the mental health and public perception of clowns. Hugo Strange has been taking the clowns of the street and converting them, including Kenny. Harley breaks into the compound, only to find herself face to face with the Professor who has been looking for her all this time.

In this issue, the showdown that has been building all series finally happens. Harley and Hugo have a confrontation that only two psychiatrists can have. With Strange getting angrier by the minute, Harley turns her attention to getting herself and the fellow clowns out of captivity. But what is with Hugo’s fetish for wanting to be Batman?

This last issue has a similar structure and pace to the chapters that have preceded it, which isn’t a problem as this is a formula that works. Those that were expecting a battle straight from the start will find themselves surprised. But they are not left without a fight for very long, as Phillips simply builds up to it. The readers are privy to the fact that Harley has a plan and are eager to see how she unleashes it. The pace at this point becomes frantic, reveling in the chaos. Once this starts it is impossible to stop smiling while reading this book. The ending of Harley Quinn #5 feels earned and authentic, whilst also suggesting at more to come from both Harley and Phillips.

Phillips’ characters and dialogue will be sorely missed now this series has ended. They are all so full of personality and energy. The first few pages, where some readers may have expected a battle, are actually Quinn and Strange arguing. They have a therapy-off, sending insults hidden behind psychological keywords. Each word balloon in this discussion is incredible as they play a game of verbal tennis. Phillips brings a lot of Harley’s infectious personality back to the book, to an even greater extent than the early chapters brought. Quinn has never been explored as well as she has inside these five issues. Her brilliant and bizarre mind shows her capacity for anger, excitement, soberness, and great intellect, bouncing between the four seamlessly.

As for Strange, there are elements to his personality that haven’t been brought up before, including many of his fantasies. These fit the tone of the book, but the lack of any mention before this may confuse readers.

The very unique art style that Rossmo implements in this series has continuously been fun and fascinating to see. The artist has an incredible eye for comedy. Not only is the dialogue hilarious, but the visual gags are amazing too. Each character is entirely unique in their shape and how they fill a space. Whilst Harley Quinn #5 is a comic, meaning that the images are still, there is always this feeling of movement, and every page is filled with perfectly described facial expressions and body language.

The colours are stunning. The final two issues of the series have featured much more colour. Strange’s facility is brightly lit, coated almost completely in light blue, and absent of excitement. Harley Quinn is therefore always the most colourful being in the room. It should be mentioned that the actual lines used for Harley’s hair are different shades instead of black, which allows the blending of tones to flow and no be blocked by the lines that define them.

The letters are superb. Harley’s caption boxes full of stunning dialogue are always placed neatly around the page and are easy to read. The same can be said about the word balloons for speech. The SFX are large and in your face, wonderful in the cartoony setting of the art.

Harley Quinn #5 takes this rollercoaster for one last fantastic spin. The story itself may not have left a lasting impression, but what has shone from the first to the final page is are the characters and the dialogue. Phillips’ mastery over language means that every single piece of conversation or word balloon is delightful. The art style is truly unique and captures the attention terrifically. The desire for more Harley from this creative team has evolved from a want to a need.

Harley Quinn #5 is available wherever comics are sold.

Harley Quinn #5
5

TL;DR

Harley Quinn #5 takes this rollercoaster for one last fantastic spin. The story itself may not have left a lasting impression, but what has shone from the first to the final page is are the characters and the dialogue. Phillips’ mastery over language means that every single piece of conversation or word balloon is delightful. The art style is truly unique and captures the attention terrifically. The desire for more Harley from this creative team has evolved from a want to a need.