REVIEW: ‘Harley Quinn,’ Issue #7

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Harley Quinn #7

Harley Quinn #7 is published by DC Comics. Written by Stephanie Phillips. Riley Rossmo returns on art, with Ivan Plascencia as the colorist. Deron Bennett is the letterer. This is part of the Fear State event.

Harley has been working to restore the reputation of clowns within the city of Gotham. She formed a support group for clowns in need. But Hugo Strange has been capturing the clowns and running tests on them. Harley broke into his facility and freed the prisoners, but Strange is still going. And it was revealed that he has been working with the new villain Keepsake all along…

Looking for Ivy and working with Batman and her own adventures have left her strained. Harley has left the city to decompress, taking Kevin and her support group camping with her. When one of the group’s dogs goes missing, Harley reluctantly joins a search to find it. But this not only causes friction between her and her best friend but sends her into some dangerous locations. And in Gotham, Strange and Keepsake explore the benefits of working with Scarecrow as the city crumbles.

This is a content-heavy issue that doesn’t feel bloated. Two stories are unfolding at the same time. One is Harley and Kevin camping in the woods, having their own adventure. The other is the villains reveling in their mission. The point in time in which the plot takes place may be confusing and possibly varied between the locations. The beats in Harley’s story suggest that it happens before the opening issue. And yet, what Strange is getting up to appears to be in the throes of the crossover. Ultimately this is early in the story. 

Phillips excels in making this tie-in undeniably a Harley story. It has the incredibly thoughtful and meaningful conversation that has become expected in this run but is silly and fun at the same time. Both stories are exciting and suggest a massive mess that Harley will be left to clean up when she returns to Gotham.

Harley Quinn #7 is heavily character-driven, the writer bringing all of them to life. There are many side characters, but this arc is centered on four primarily. There is Harley and Kevin, our heroes. Something important happens inside this issue, and that is these two having their first fight. The camaraderie between the two has often been the emotional core of the series, so it is surprising to see this tension. This is brilliant as it shows how much pressure Quinn is under, with Ivy affecting that. There is a stunning monologue about self-love in this issue that proves that Phillips is one of the best dialogue writers in comics.

As for the villains, there is another double act in play. Strange and Keepsake are a perfect duo that act as the antagonists in a pantomime. Strange has massive identity issues with a bizarre ego with a loud personality. Meanwhile. Keepsake is a petulant child with identity problems of his own. They are forming a crew of villains, all of which meet the criteria of chaos, which seems to allow a criminal to apply for a presence inside this series. 

The return of Rossmo on art gives Harley Quinn #7 that cartoony feel that has helped make the comic so lovable. Each character has its own shape and design that can merge both grotesque and adorable. Figures like Strange seem repulsive in how they look. The landscapes and worlds are drawn with a freestyle that adds fun to each element. There are a couple of animals that are featured, which Rossmo blesses with fantastic designs. The action scenes are filled with drama, the scale between the characters, and the sense of movement giving each move weight.

Plascencia’s colors do an excellent job at differentiating between the locations. This may help imply why Harley left the city to enter the country. Here, the colors are natural, ranging from pleasant greens to dark browns of the mud paths. The green may comfort Harley due to her love being a similar shade. In Gotham, it is dark and glum, with an increasing amount of orange as the town burns. A fascinating aspect of Harley in this comic is the fact that many of her lines are colored instead of a typical black. This is most noticeable in her hair, which is a blend of different colors that make her the most vibrant figure at all times.

The letters are superb. There is a dynamism to the word balloons; Bennett’s font matches the informality of the artwork. Everything is chaotic in this book, and that includes the words. The SFX are large and loud.

Harley Quinn #7 is a tie-in that maintains its soul. The comic feels attached to the Fear State story without losing track of its story. What has helped is that Phillips has built up to this for a long time in the series, so it would not appear to have suddenly turned in a new direction. In fact, some of the reveals in this comic show just how long Phillips has been foreshadowing events. The heart within this series creates a beautiful connection between the reader and the comic. 

Harley Quinn #7 is available now wherever comics are sold.


Harley Quinn #7
4.5

TL;DR

Harley Quinn #7 is a tie-in that maintains its soul. The comic feels attached to the Fear State story without losing track of its story. What has helped is that Phillips has built up to this for a long time in the series, so it would not appear to have suddenly turned in a new direction. In fact, some of the reveals in this comic show just how long Phillips has been foreshadowing events. The heart within this series creates a beautiful connection between the reader and the comic.