Harley Quinn #21 is published by DC Comics, written by Stephanie Phillips, art by Simone Buonfantino, colors by Romulo Fajardo Jr., and letters by Andworld Design. The monster from the Moon has history with Luke Fox. As Harley and her team return to earth, they find that it is already spreading.
What is great about this arc is the fact the plot is constantly being propelled forwards. If it was static, it might get bogged down in the same horror movie homage, but the location shifts, so the influences alter too. The fight is intense and the sense of peril is constantly high, especially until the team returns, as Luke is on his own. The past and the present interact simultaneously as the monster reveals exposition while hunting down his target. Even with reinforcements, there is a constant unease around the creature. The second half of the comic does allow us to catch our breath, but there is a lot of soul-searching and reflection. All this leads to preparation for what is undoubtedly an epic final chapter.
This comic is largely focused on two characters; Fox and Harley. Arguably it is more centred around Luke than Quinn. Not only does he appear first in Harley Quinn #21, but he is also the narrator. Phillips explores a really powerful arc through Luke about identity and what he wants to fight for, but he is also atoning for his errors in a massive way. But Harley is also incredibly written. The best part about her is the layers. Her hyper energy masks a deeply investigative mind that is always paying attention. It is this mind that helps the team get home. But there is also a conversation between her and Luke that is absolutely stunning. It highlights her humor, sensitivity, positivity, incredible knowledge, and so much more all at once. It is an awesome interaction between two characters Phillips clearly adores.
The art is magnificent as another creator takes over the line art. Buonfantino brings an amazing style that is different and wonderfully expressive. During the fight, the madness ensuing is impressive, with the monster constantly changing. It is either possessing humans, showing twisted versions of normal people, or a swirling, bubbling mass that is wonderfully hideous. The rest of the characters look great, all of them getting some kind of makeover. What is amazing about Harley in this run is that she looks so different depending on the artist. Even down to outfits and tattoos, little affectations show how malleable she is visually while being instantly identifiable. Buonfantino’s design is incredible, with longer hair framing her like a mane.
Even with a change in artists and colorists, the theme of having dark shades for most of the comic remains true here. Dark blues, browns, and greens take up many panels and landscapes. On the spaceship, there is more light, which brightens up the rooms, and the hair of three of the heroes is always eye-catching. But during that conversation between Luke and Harley, she is the most vibrant figure in the room. The lettering is great and even when a custom font is used it is always easy to read.
Harley Quinn #21 brings the space horror back to Earth and continues to impress. The book is lively and atmospheric, with some excellent characters thrown up against a terrifying monster. Allowing Harley to shine while giving the spotlight to someone else demonstrates terrific writing, as Phillips affects the strength of the characters’ personalities. Both the dialogue and the action is amazing as a truly creepy story gets close to its conclusion.
Harley Quinn #21 is available now wherever comics are sold.
Harley Quinn #21
Harley Quinn #21 brings the space horror back to Earth and continues to impress. The book is lively and atmospheric, with some excellent characters thrown up against a terrifying monster.