Over the weekend I stopped at a video game store to pick up a copy of Super Metroid for a friend. The game wasn't working, and these guys couldn't fix it, and it's a long drive to the store, and I happened to be there on other business. Anyway, the owner is looking through all these drawers for the game and eventually concludes one of the temps must have taken it downstairs. Then he looks at me and says, 'If you promise to behave yourself, I'll go down and find it.' I kind of hope he was being deadpan, because he was younger than me, but it was stupid. Do I look like I'm five years old? Just go get the game already. Cripes.
Harley Quinn #9 and 10, by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti (writers), John Timms (artist, #9), Marco Failla (artist, #10), Paul Mounts (colors, #9), Brett Smith (colors, #10), John J. Hill (letters) - At least Harley seems to be enjoying herself.
OK, we start with Harley agreeing to fill in on one of Tony and Queenie's burlesque shows, to make up for wrecking that one a few issues ago. Except she kind of wrecks this one when Tony tells her to think of her ex when there's a kissing scene. Her ex being Mistah J, of course. Don't worry, nobody dies, but lots of people get punched, but they're mostly hipsters so whatever. Harley takes a bottle to the head and wakes up cuffed in a cop car with an obsessed fan. Who locks her in a cage in his huge house in Staten Island. They chat a bit, we learn Ed does not have a tragic family history, he's just way too into Harley, and she, interestingly enough, is very nice to him. She gets out of the cage, but they talk and she convinces him to check himself into a hospital, and says if he follows his treatments for a year, she'll go on a actual date with him. Before you worry Harley's totally reformed, Ed had locked some guys from the comic store in the basement for making various comments about Harley's derriere, and she booted the one who said it was no great shakes off a bridge.
The end of the issue brought Harley to her first match at the Skate Club, and that where issue 10 picks up, with harley in combat against some huge lady with titanium knees. Harley does manage to kill her foe, with the help of exploding toothpaste Syborg had with him, but the match had already been declared over, so she didn't win any bets. Oh well, she met a cute guy (who probably escaped from prison at the start of issue 9), she and the other girls on her derby team went swimming, and then Harley is nearly crushed by Power Girl plummeting to Earth after being punched through interstellar space by some monster with one giant fist. I would question what Peej is doing there, since I thought she and Huntress made it back to Earth-2 months ago, but I'm OK with Conner and Palmiotti ignoring all the other books to do their own thing. It means we can also ignore that whole bit about Harley blowing up a bunch of kids with exploding game consoles in last year's villains special.
Issue 10 was the weaker issue, mainly because it felt like filler. Maybe if they really go somewhere with the Skate Club thing it'll be worth it, but there wasn't much too it. Also, Failla's artwork is maybe too stiff for the tone of the book. I felt like the big fight scene needed someone who could go more absurd or exaggerated, make it a little cartoony. I don't think we're supposed to take "Skate Club" seriously, not with Harley winning with exploding toothpaste, then getting in trouble for breaking the rules by using an outside weapon, after being told there were no rules. It wasn't badly drawn, just maybe not best suited for this story.
Issue 9 I liked a little better. It was interesting to see Harley put her clinical training to good use (as opposed to terrorizing a family on the say-so of a grandma with Alzheimer's), and it gives us a little sense of the juggling Harley's trying to manage at the minute. Helping her tenants, trying to pay the bills, and dealing with the usual madness that comes with being Harley Quinn. It's like Peter Parker's old shtick, but run through a funhouse mirror. And I thought Timms' art worked a little better. He didn't have as much extreme violence to depict, which might have helped, but I thought the expression work was good. During her conversation with Ed, they play with our expectations that Harley's going to get horribly violent on him, and Timms helps that with some of the sinister grins he gives her, sometimes hiding her eyes entirely behind the glasses, and of course, the way she hefts the pizza cutter. His work reminds me a little of Dustin Nguyen in places. Mostly in the shape of the faces, the sort of minimal approach. He doesn't use a lot of lines, which is fine. Keeps it from getting too busy.
We're 10 issues in, the book is still up and down, but I feel somewhat more confident in it than I did six months ago. I'm curious whether there's going to be any developments that have real long-lasting effects. So far, things kind of pop up for a few issues, then are resolved and fade out (the bounty seems to be going that way). Which is fine, I like the overall quick pace of the book, but a few longer-running threads moving in the background wouldn't hurt.