REVIEW: ‘Harley Quinn,’ Issue #11

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Harley Quinn #11 - But Why Tho

Harley Quinn #11 is published by DC Comics. Written by Stephanie Phillips with art by Riley Rossmo. Ivan Plascencia is the colourist and the letters are by Deron Bennett.

During the events of Fear State, Harley Quinn went looking for her girlfriend, Poison Ivy. Reunited, they quickly realised they are at different stages of their life after so long apart. Painfully, Harley sent Ivy away so she could find herself. Whist Quinn was with Ivy, Keepsake kidnapped her best friend Kevin. In this issue, Harley finds out about her friend being taken and sets out to rescue him. A dangerous train is heading to Gotham and she is going to be on it. This is the first part of an intense showdown.

The structure of this issue is very different from what we are used to from this series. It is strange coming back to the series after the heaviness of Harley Quinn #10. Phillips takes a brave decision in not even mentioning the events or Ivy at all, plowing on with the important task at hand. It shows that this comic is continually moving forwards. This issue actually begins in media res before retracing the steps. It’s a brilliant technique as it garners excitement from the start. After that, the comic is streamlined and fast-paced, focused on getting to the moment when the issue opened. Throughout the comic, there is a sense of something coming, like we are building to a powerful battle. The intensity is heart-pounding. There aren’t many distinct twists and the sub-plots have been tied, showing fantastic storytelling by the writer.

The characters have long been the shining light of this series and Harley Quinn #11 continues that trend. The issue focuses primarily on two major characters; Harley and Keepsake. This is one of the first issues where there is a long, philosophical monologue in the narration. Perhaps it was believed that it would weigh or slow down the story. Instead, the speech comes from Harley as she battles. It is beautifully tangential but wonderful crafted. Kevin is only seen in the cold open, but knowing where he is is what frightens the reader. Keepsake has been a villain that fuses great comedic writing with drama. At times he has been the target of a punchline. But he also has the capacity for being megalomaniacal.

The art is very impressive. Rossmo’s art is part of the soul of this come. The mad proportions are goofy but so good at displaying cartoonish emotions. Each issue comes with a new little motif or addition to make the reader smile. Keepsake’s masked costume is epic, with the impression of a face behind the mask in his cowl. When the panels tilt and shift it adjusts the energy of the scene. The movement of characters is portrayed so that speed and power can be captured in stunning fashion. Another new feature of this issue is some mechs that have been ingeniously created.

The colours are gorgeous. It is always so fun seeing characters in rich and bright shades against the relatively dull Gotham City around them. They are bringing life to a place mired in death and pain. The bright orange of Keepsake’s costume is captivating.  The lettering is very good as well. There is a lot of talking and characters moving about inside the same panel, but Bennett has made the word balloons easy to locate and follow.

Harley Quinn #11 is a bundle of energy and power. We as readers have grown to adore these characters and Phillips has written them superbly from the beginning. Aside from two issues, the comic has had the same creative team throughout and following it has been a delight. Harley is full of depth and a new part of her personality is seen in every issue. It doesn’t matter if she’s jumping around or sitting still in the issue, she is the centre of the stage and impeccably well-written. 

Harley Quinn #11 is available where comics are sold


Harley Quinn #11
4.5

TL;DR

Harley Quinn #11 is a bundle of energy and power. We as readers have grown to adore these characters and Phillips has written them superbly from the beginning.