REVIEW: ‘Harley Quinn,’ Issue #13

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Harley Quinn #13

Harley Quinn #13 is published by DC Comics, written by Stephanie Phillips, pencils by Riley Rossmo, inks by Jay Leisten, colors by Ivan Plascencia, and the letters are by Andworld Design. At the end of the last issue, Harley had rescued her best friend Kevin and defeated Keepsake. But another new enemy appeared out of the darkness: Verdict. In this issue, Harley is back on her mission to try and do good, whilst still recovering from her breakup with Ivy. But someone else seems to be causing devastation in Gotham, and they look like Harley Quinn?

The plot of this issue is great. The series feels revitalized here as a new arc begins, picking up that hectic energy that this character and comic use as fuel. Phillips splits the story brilliantly as a cold open creates confusion and a mystery that will have ramifications for many issues to come. But then Harley Quinn #13 leaves this event to fester as the correct Quinn is on her mission. It could be easy to forget about the opening scene, only for it to erupt into something manic by the end. The opening may have been a surprise in regards to what happened, but the truth is easy to guess. But that is not the point of it, as it is purely a catalyst for the rest of the arc. 

Phillips brilliantly gives a summary of where Harley is at this point of the run. With the Keepsake saga concluded, for now, some of the other plotlines can resurface. At the forefront, Harley looks like her normal self. Chaotic, trying to do good by doing bad things and appearing happy. But that might not necessarily be the case. There is a superb sub-plot in this issue of people suffering and being alone when others aren’t noticing them. The dialogue has such a beautiful blend of pain and humor, requiring incredible intelligence to craft.

The art is fantastic. Rossmo and Leisten are absolutely integral to the storytelling of the issue. When we see this other Harley Quinn, instantly it is clear that something isn’t right. Not only because the costume is wrong (a lovely homage to the classic costume), but just the character’s shape doesn’t look right. The frame of the eyes and face are different. Rossmo’s character designs have been so varied in their shape that it is an important signifier of their personage. The energy of the art remains s well, with some brilliant action scenes crowded with people and bodies. Harley’s athleticism and improvised fighting style are depicted by how her body moves. The panel layout is fascinating, again part of the way the scenes are played out. Small squares have glimpses of people or objects, setting a sense of place with minuscule details.

Harley Quinn #13 also features some incredible colors. There has always been a muted and arguably dull set of tones in the background, highlighting the dingy nature of Gotham. But this allows for Harley, or Harleys in the case of this comic, to be a streak of brilliance among the darkness. If not red, then she is often wearing purple, and the striking blonde hair with highlights is eye-catching enough. Additionally, the letters are brilliant, possessing a font that perfectly fits the tone of both the art and the voice of the characters.

Harley Quinn #13 is a re-energized delight. The book starts a new arc brilliantly as it flings Harley into an entirely different set of circumstances. And yet Phillips keeps the same themes running throughout the series in a way that revisits yet constantly reimagines. This is a comic that happens to be one of the funniest on the market but also on the most emotionally mature. The blending of the tones can be gentle or harsh and perfect each time. And with the art team this is one of the greatest books in DC’s arsenal.

Harley Quinn #13 is available now wherever comics are sold.


Harley Quinn #13
5

TL;DR

Harley Quinn #13 is a re-energized delight. The book starts a new arc brilliantly as it flings Harley into an entirely different set of circumstances. And yet Phillips keeps the same themes running throughout the series in a way that revisits yet constantly reimagines.