Harley Quinn: The Final Trial

Harley Quinn: The Final Trial

Harley Quinn, Vol. 4: The Final Trial by Sam Humphries

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


How do you cope with heavy emotional states in a character like Harley Quinn? It’s a complicated question – one that plenty of writers have explored (at least, as far as I’ve read). And Mr. Humphries and Mr. Russell tackled it in one of the best ways I’ve encountered to date. While I wanted to throttle them for the opening of the volume (they went there; they actually went there), the handling of the final trial proceeded better than I imagined. And instead of cycling down a whirlpool of half-choked laughter the way other writers have, they launched into Meredith’s comic on comic book events. Which was so perfect and accurate, you can’t help but laugh and feel at ease. They nailed the average reader’s perception so perfectly, too. Because I HATE those stupid notes encouraging you to buy fifty different comics to comprehend a single plotline (and I don’t do it – often leaving me with a vague idea of what’s going on). Everything tied together perfectly. Well done, fellas.



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Harley Quinn: The Trials of Harley Quinn

Harley Quinn: The Trials of Harley Quinn

Harley Quinn, Vol. 3: The Trials of Harley Quinn by Sam Humphries

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Who says comics don’t kick you in the teeth with serious issues? (And, no, I’m not referring to the destruction of worlds) I mean, how brutal can you get, Mr. Humphries? You didn’t feel Harley had enough to deal with in her life? You had to up and give her mom cancer? It undercuts the best of the humor within the Trials of Harley Quinn – though Mirand’r is fantastic, don’t get me wrong. And putting Batman in a judgmental light of leaping to conclusions was nice to see – though that might be my personal bias coming out. You also can’t deny the hilarity of Meredith’s inserts of the Villain of the Year excerpts. They’re a pure joy to read and (for anyone familiar with Apex Lex) likely a fresh change to see a supervillain scrambling to recruit someone else to their cause.



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Harley Quinn: Harley Destroys the Universe

Harley Quinn: Harley Destroys the Universe

Harley Quinn, Vol. 2: Harley Destroys the Universe by Sam Humphries

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


You have to appreciate writers willing to poke humor at the system they work for. And what’s a bigger issue with comics than continuity? So I have to applaud Mr. Humphries and Mr. Russell for allowing Harley (or, rather, Meredith) to run rampant with continuity among the DC universe and turn everything on its head. Even without a complete understanding of the various characters and their stories, you get the mayhem. (Please – the dinosaurs?) And Johnni DC is the perfect blend of exasperation and sass. You can almost see DC having a division where she’s employed on the side. The humor helps soften the blow you feel coming in the background with Harley’s mother. And, as a devoted animal-lover (and a woman), the final installment with the cats was sheer perfection. As comics frequently decide to undercut the female gender, I tip my hat to these gentlemen.



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Harley Quinn vs. Apokolips

Harley Quinn vs. Apokolips

Harley Quinn, Vol. 1: Harley vs. Apokolips by Sam Humphries

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Mr. Humphries and Mr. Sebela take Harley to a completely different level – literally. And while you might need some background in other DC comics to have your footing (or, you know, watch the Harley Quinn animated series), it doesn’t take long to puzzle out what’s happening with Granny Goodness on Apokolips. And the poor endless struggle to meet finances. The team pulls off the routine theme in a new way that doesn’t make it feel tired or repetitive. And the same goes for the ever-present question of Harley’s sanity (the lack thereof?). It’s the perfect tongue-in-cheek plot that any genuine fan will rally behind and cheer.



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Harley Quinn’s Villain of the Year

Harley Quinn’s Villain of the Year

(Okay, it’s short enough I shouldn’t count it towards my reading goal. However, I bought it and sat up after finishing Lodestar, so I figure it’s worth mentioning)

Harley Quinn: Year of the Villain (2019-) #1 by Mark Russell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Mr. Russell is an absolute genius. Harley hosting an award ceremony for the DC villains? Is there anything better than that? Not to mention ripping off some of the most iconic dresses from the red carpet. I have no idea how it figures into the bigger event – and, admittedly, no desire to find out – but it works on its own. It’s the perfect little break for anyone who needs a quick laugh and enjoys the darker side of the comic world.



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Shannon Messenger’s Keeper of the Lost Cities: Lodestar

Shannon Messenger’s Keeper of the Lost Cities: Lodestar

Lodestar by Shannon Messenger

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Ms. Messenger heeded the request of readers everywhere and picked up the pacing of Sophie’s adventures with this volume. And while there’s still plenty of teenage angst to contend with, the crumbling layers of the Elvin world start to show themselves. And, I, at least, appreciate getting to peel back the diamonds and pearls and see the mold and rot lying underneath. All of the opulence present gets cloying at times (is there a need for it?). The skulking, hiding, and lies beneath the lavish shell help cut the treacle. Though it’d be nice if Sophie caught on to the parallels between her new world and the human world she spent most of her existence within. Thus far, she seems oblivious to the similarities. It’s an annoyance, considering she’s the expert there. Perhaps, with the revelation of the final chapters, things will change in that direction with the next volume.



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