Harley Quinn #28 is published by DC Comics, written by Tini Howard, art and colors by Sweeny Boo, and letters by Steve Wands. There is a backup story by Erica Henderson with letters by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou. A new arc begins as a long series of confrontations with Two-Face lands Harley in trouble with the law.
With a completely new creative team, Harley’s world must be recreated. This transition might be abrasive at first, but the energy and intensity of the comic can often be tricky. Howard’s introductory pages make it easy for those continuing the comic or just jumping on. It’s a fast beginning and a lot of exposition. The Two-Face element of Harley Quinn #28 is confusing, but I believe that is also intentional. Not even the characters in the book know what’s happening, but it is a lead into what seems to be one of the key plot points of Howard’s run going forward. Multiple threads are beginning here, including one at the end of the comic that is entirely unexpected. It shows the consequences of what happened in Phillips’ run and even before. It is nice to see that the previous 27 issues of this series will not be ignored.
The dialogue and the character dynamics have also shifted slightly. There are fewer captions and narration, except for the first page, which summarizes Harley’s circumstances directing her to that exact moment. After that, it is entirely dialogue. Howard brilliantly explores Harley’s intelligence and wit, tapping into the idea that everyone is just one step behind her when she’s on a diatribe. It is the characters around Harley that are taking time to get used to. Two-Face’s personalities makes him fun in this comic but extremely hard to pin down. Besides crashing in and being a nuisance, the role he plays in this book has not yet been clarified. And it was nice to see Howard use Kevin, Harley’s best friend. However, some of his actions seemed out of character for him and were just used to further the plot.
The art is spectacular. The redesign for Harley is stunning and very innovative. I love how her hair has become so much longer and falls around her instead of being in pigtails. She also has several outfits, from her heroics to being cozy at home. She is extremely fashionable, and her experimentation by Sweeney deserves a lot of praise. Likewise, it is always fascinating to see how the illustration of Kevin is approached. The locations can either be pleasantly clean and simple or filled with detail and madness. A lot of time could be spent pouring over each panel to see the textures and minute additions. That hectic energy that has been paramount to Harley Quinn still shines through in the fight scenes. The variety in the facial expression of Quinn is also interesting and beautifully expressive.
The colors by Boo are also terrific. Brilliantly bright and vibrant, there are color combinations that I have seen very rarely in comics. And much of the time, there are white or single-tone outlines around objects that help keep images clear in what can be busy panels. Some fantastic patterns and textures are implemented in clothing and the outsides of panels, giving life and spontaneity to the book. The lettering can be difficult to read sometimes due to large amounts of dialogue being tricky to place within the pages.
Harley Quinn #28 ultimately captures the main character’s soul but struggles to settle. The protagonist is superbly written and is in safe hands with Howard. But the other characters and the plot need some time to blend in with the new creative team. The chaos is part of the series, as it always has been, and that adjustment period is something that is almost required in a book with the humor of Harley Quinn.
Harley Quinn #28 is available now wherever comics are sold.
Harley Quinn #28
Harley Quinn #28 ultimately captures the main character’s soul but struggles to settle. The protagonist is superbly written and is in safe hands with Howard.
William is a screenwriter with a love of comics and movies. Once referred to Wuthering Heights as “the one with the Rabbits.”