REVIEW: ‘Harley Quinn,’ Issue #26

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Harley Quinn #26 - But Why Tho

Harley Quinn #26 is published by DCComics, written by Stephanie Phillips, art by Matteo Lolli, David Baldeón and Pasqual Qualano, colours by Rain Beredo, and letters by Andworld Design. With an evil Harley on the loose, already having killed Harley once, even more Quinns from across the Multiverse have now landed in Gotham.

The next part of the “Who Killed Harley Quinn?” arc, this issue needs a second to calibrate with it fully. A little bit of time has passed, taking the positive spin of the extra Harleys that the last issue ended with and twisting it into a negative. Those Harleys are now causing carnage across the city. Tensions are much higher than normal than in other Harley comics, with much more anger and hurt coming across. Usually, it can be considered the other way around, where the comedy eases the readers in before the drama and darkness takes hold. Harley Quinn #26 is the opposite. The emotions of this comic are always palpable.

The plot of this issue does feel slightly repetitive, resorting to attempting to draw the evil Harley out again, which was a tactic used last issue too. But once the story really kicks off, the fast pacing and exhilarating energy. The team spirit is reignited and the mission brings the group together. That positivity will always resurface. The final part of the issue is creepy and insidious, with an entirely unexpected reveal.

The characters and the dialogue continue to be among the best written in DC’s lineup. The relationship between Harley and Kevin is so in-depth and nuanced. It’s a friendship forged out of mistreatment and hurt that sometimes needs correcting to realign. Harley is much angrier after her resurrection, a fascinating aspect of her personality. It is an interesting consideration whether these thoughts she has have always been there, with the Pit reducing her ability to care about who she hurts now. This is a book absolutely filled with Harleys, including the older version that the prime version has latched on to. The amplification of the character is a brilliant fountain of fun. And the flood of other Quinns as secondary villains and nuisances is hilarious.

The art is awesome. Each Harley has an entirely different costume, make-up, and hairstyle and the artists superbly explore subtle changes within a character that always remain instantly recognisable. The line weights are very heavy and add real definition to their actions and movements. Harley has often been the most lively character within this book, so it is terrific to see that replicated through her counterparts from throughout the multiverse. If there was perhaps a criticism to be had with these alternate reality Harleys, it is that they are slightly too based on one template. I would like a little more variety, exploring the concept in a way a multiverse could imagine. The evil Harley is a great example, the atmosphere that is generated by her saunter and facial expressions are magnificent.

The colors are also brilliant. The red that is a resounding tone throughout this comic is beautiful, either on the Harleys or in the vibrant outfit of Batwoman. The diversity of the shades used is brilliant. I have often referred to the dull colors used for the city of Gotham, which intensifies the brightness of Harley. However, as the newcomers lay waste to the area there are more yellows and greens to the smoke. It’s an oddly gorgeous take on destruction. The lettering by Andworld Design is always very easy to read and follow.

Harley Quinn #26 is a book brimming with emotion. Spending so much time with these characters and with such a fantastic writer of dialogue at the helm means that every brutal jab Harley and Kevin make at each other hurts. It’s been building over many issues and through several misdeeds. Perhaps this story could have benefitted from more expansion in the parameters and the possibilities of what the multiverse had in store for Harley. But at the end of the day, this is a book that tries to stay small and intimate, and trying to ground it remained at the forefront of the creators’ minds.

Harley Quinn #26 is available where comics are sold.


Harley Quinn #26
4

TL;DR

Harley Quinn #26 is a book brimming with emotion. Spending so much time with these characters and with such a fantastic writer of dialogue at the helm means that every brutal jab Harley and Kevin make at each other hurts.

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