I'm typing this up Saturday, so greetings to all of you two days in my future. I'm only going to have Internet access sporadically, so I'm typing a bunch of posts up now. I'll have finished 12 posts in a span of about 4 days. So all the Invisible Man and Favorite Character posts for the next few weeks are good to go, plus most of this week is covered. But I'll be more behind schedule responding to comments than usual.
Harley Quinn #8, by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti (writer), Chard Hardin (artist), Alex Sinclair (colorist), John J. Hill (letterer) - Hey look, a book from just last week! This is almost current!
Harley pawns the rings she stole from that Russian lady she helped Cyborg kill two issues ago. She also breaks up an attempted robbery, though she uses it as a negotiating ploy to get an extra 60 grand out of Sal. And a Hanzo sword. She gives some of the money to Tony, to complete a device for her, and heads off to her roller derby match. She's doing quite well, as you'd expect, until the opposition send in Bertha, who knocks one of Harley's teeth out. At which point Quinn grabs her mallet, charges back in, and beats Bertha to a pulp. Which gets her booted out of the league, but also get her an invitation to "Skate Club", which I'm not supposed to talk about, but oh well. Back at home, Harley has a picnic for her tenants to unveil what Tony built for her: a computer-guided catapult for getting rid of all the poop from the animals she liberated from the pet hospital. And the rest of the issue is hijinks with that, as Tony has some difficulty getting the targeting right, at one point splattering the hell out of DC's offices as Didio pitches his next big reinvention of the line. Oh, and Harley has another creepy guy watching her through binoculars. First it was Syborg, now this.
Reading this through initially, I was dumbfounded they devoted the last 8 pages of this issue to an extended poop-throwing gag. I don't know why, exactly, it maybe just seemed too absurd. But once I thought about it, I laughed. Why not? It seems a little too noisy for pre-reboot Harley, but for this Harley, sure. It's a quick fix, it required relatively little work on her part, and it gives her the opportunity to make a mess. And she seemed so excited about it, wearing her admiral hat and coat, it's hard not to be infected with her enthusiasm. At least, I hope it was enthusiasm. What are the symptoms of dysentery?
I'm going to guess the guy in the meeting at DC wearing the ball cap with "SD" and "LA" crossed out and sketching was Jim Lee? Maybe, possibly trying to get part of an issue of Superman Unchained finished before the heat death of the universe? Our universe, I mean, not the new 52. I go back and forth on Hardin's art. Sometimes I think he overdoes it one the line work, things get too stiff, and Harley starts to look sort of gaunt, which doesn't seem appropriate under the circumstances. This was one of the better issues, though. Things were a little looser, the expressions had more energy to them. Also - credit for this probably goes to Sinclair - I like that they remembered to keep Harley's eye makeup runny in the diner scene, after she'd been crying in the pawn shop (one of the robbers tried a doozy of a sob story on her). It's just visual continuity, basic stuff, but it would have been easy for them to forget it, and maybe wave it off by saying she cleaned up after.
I'll say this for Palmiotti and Conner: they're keeping Harley's attitude towards animals consistent. She really likes pets, even ones that aren't hers. Just the bit where she drops one of her meatballs in the diner, and is perfectly happy to see the dog belonging to the person in the next booth get it. Again, maybe not a big thing, but it's nice to have a consistent piece of characterization in a book that seems to careen from one plot thread to another with limited connection between them.
She-Hulk #6, by Charles Soule (writer), Ron Wimberley (artist), Clayton Cowles (letterer) - You remember the opening scenes of Pineapple Express? All the different tricks Seth Rogen would use so he could get people to admit who they were so he could serve them? I imagine Jen doesn't have to bother with any of that. If she asks if you are who you are, you admit to it, because you don't want her coming back if she finds out you lied.
Jen's call to Wyatt thankfully cuts out before she can mention the name to him and anything bad can happen. Which gives her the chance to check Patsy's voicemail and realize she got lucky. Meanwhile, back in the Dakotas, Angie was shot in the head, only to be saved by the transference of something from the monkey to her. The file is gone, the courthouse burned down, but Angie recalls what she saw. Back in the office, Jen gets a visit from Kevin Trench (aka Nightwatch), who is trying to find out why he was advised not to speak to Jen. The conversation is interrupted by a lot of demon things that attack the building, all of them calling her name. The demons are defeated, but Jen is gonna have to pay for the damages. However, Jen decides the blue file is too much trouble and brushes off Angie when she shows up to tell what she learned. Good news, Trench passed on her name to a lot of people in the superhero community that could use some legal help, so it looks like Jen will be able to pay for those repairs after all.
Do we get the feeling Trench is up to something? It would be one thing if Jen simply decided the blue file was too much trouble, but the way she brushed off Angie, then seemed surprised when Patsy asked if she hadn't been too harsh, that just screams to me something's up. I mean, it could have been a result of whatever that demon did that locked eyes with her, but there were also those two panels where she was inside Trench's cape. She saw something, or there's something happenin' in there, what it is ain't exactly clear. And now Trench helpfully redirects a lot of casework to her, so she'd be too busy to look into it if she wanted to. And Trench never said who advised him to stay away, Jen merely assumed it was Patsy, and Patsy didn't confirm.
Also, is it relevant the demons used the "BAMF" sound effect when they disappeared? They sure as hell didn't look like the Bamfs that follow Kurt around. We're not going to get some mess with Kurt's father are we? I know Soule's doing some good writing all over the place these days (unless you ask the Superman/Lois fans), but even he can't be so crazy as to think he'd get a good story out of that dumpster fire.
As for Wimberley's art, just no. Can't get into it. Well, that's not entirely true. The way he represented Trench's powers, even if it sort of mimicked Cloak's powers, that was good. Makes him less of the Spawn knockoff he was originally conceived/presented as (unless they've drastically altered Spawn in the 10+ years since I last glanced at one of his comics). But otherwise, the faces tend to look strange, and some of the perspectives he uses are really off-putting.