Harley Quinn #23 is published by DC Comics, written by Stephanie Phillips, art by Matteo Lolli, colours by Rain Beredo, and letters by Andworld Design. Harley was shot by an unknown assailant, so to bring her back, Kevin threw her into the Lazarus Pit. In this issue, the resurrected Harley is visited by Damian Wayne as she learns the consequences of the Pit.
There is a brilliant structure to the plot of this issue, infecting the whole comic with unease. The first part is a creepy opening that sets up the unsettling nature that follows. Being released close to Halloween helps the issue as there are horror elements. Phillip still brings fun to the story but that constant blend of funny and dark intensifies both of them. The pace is suddenly increased by a superb fight between Harley and Robin. It is energetic and foreboding at the same time, because it hints at problems that will arise from Harley’s resurrection. There are glimmers of more complications, but they are beautifully subtle.
Harley’s encounter with a Lazarus Pit puts her in the crosshairs in many ways. For one, there are people that believe she’s dead, and she isn’t quiet about her resurrection. Then there are people who have problems with using the Pit, like Robin for example. It is a fantastic guest star, as Harley always works well with a deadly serious hero. The brilliance of Phillips’ dialogue returns as in-depth parts of Quinn’s personality are explored. There is a tender side that she tries to cover up with humour and chaos. That is most noticeable with Kevin in their first conversation. Kevin is often the sensible one in the comic and is such a lovable figure. His undying loyalty and kindness show that characters can be strong without being gruff and negative. Whilst the friendship between Harley and Kevin has been through tribulations, the fact that it always returns is heartwarming.
The art is incredible. Lolli is a tremendous selection for Harley Quinn. The character designs are stunning, with another variation of the same costume for the main character. Her hair looks much longer and straighter in this incarnation. But Lolli is also superb at crafting facial expressions. They can be cartoonish and big but grounded and powerful at the same time. The details are brilliant and the distinction in the emotions is crucial for an issue where Harley Quinn displays such a spectrum of them. Robin also looks fantastic with a dynamic costume. The fight scene is fast-moving and energetic, the two involved bring a similar athleticism to the party.
The colours are also incredible. The vibrancy of the tones on the characters creates a warmth in the comic. This is the case for Harley, Kevin, and Damian. The blush on Harley’s otherwise completely pale face is gentle and ever-changing, and the blending is superb. The same can be said with the highlights in her hair, with a subtle fade between the pastels and the blonde. As for Damian, his costume has much more black than other Robins, but the red and yellow are very rich. The lettering has been consistently fantastic throughout this series.
Harley Quinn #23 is a brilliant example of everything that makes this comic great. It is excellent storytelling, with interlacing plot threats that are rife with mystery and anticipation. Then there are the characters. The cast is small, but each addition is a larger personality with acres of depth. Even after 23 issues, Phillips is still finding new avenues of emotions to drag from Harley, especially after such a traumatic experience. And that is topped off with a phenomenal art team that makes the book gorgeous to look at.
Harley Quinn #23 is available where comics are sold.
Harley Quinn #23
Harley Quinn #23 is a brilliant example of everything that makes this comic great. It is excellent storytelling, with interlacing plot threats that are rife with mystery and anticipation.