Overview: In Harley Quinn #27, it is discovered that Poison Ivy is Harley’s true love in every part of the Multiverse.
Synopsis (spoilers ahead): As Harley Quinn #27 begins, the Harleys are facing the Harley Who Laughs, who is controlling a chained, gagged Poison Ivy. Harley is narrating, and she is essentially breaking the fourth wall – she perceives the audience and is addressing us. She tells the audience her plan before she reveals it to Batwoman: She is going to jump into the Multiverse to find the Ivy Who Laughs. The Harley Who Laughs reveals that her Ivy was taken from her. Batwoman, Kevin, and Older Harley object to her plan, and Present Harley freezes them all in a classic improvisational style. Present Harley explains to the audience that her story will have a backup Multiverse Jumper (replacing the one the heroes destroyed), and off they pop.
In the Harley Who Laughs’s universe, the team is attacked by Joker’s Henchmen Who Laugh, and a battle ensues. They capture a henchman who tells them where Ivy is being held captive. A giant emerges from the tower where Ivy is held and threatens the heroes, but he is immobilized by the Ivy Who Laughs. They embrace, and Present Harley heads back to our universe. She sends the Harleys home with instructions to find their Ivy. With Kevin on the Gotham Piers, she muses that a home is a person. She says, “goodbye and thank you.”
Analysis: And so writer Stephanie Phillips’s run on the Harley Quinn book ends with Harley Quinn #27. The Harley Who Laughs arc never had much going for it and felt thin and rushed from the start, as all of the last few arcs of Phillips’s run did. It is fascinating to see Harley break the fourth wall, and the device effectively builds the emotional resonance fans may be experiencing. When Harley says “goodbye and thank you,” we understand, of course, that this is Phillips speaking, as she arguably has throughout the run, via Harley herself.
All in all, Phillips did a tremendous job with Harley Quinn, and I love the Harley that she has given us. This Harley feels like a real person: Brilliant, vivacious, hilarious, angry, sad, loyal, ferocious, compassionate, guarded, and above all, complex. Harley is on a redemption journey, but it is a fragile thing, and like any redemption narrative, its outcome is far from certain.
Readers of these reviews know that despite the fit with the character, I have never enjoyed Riley Rossmo’s art, and the substitution of Matteo Lolli’s realistic linework and expressive faces has been a dramatic improvement.
I am more than a bit apprehensive to see what new author Tini Howard has in store for our hero but am excited to see the renderings of artist Sweeney Boo.
Editor’s Note: DC Comics provided TBU with a copy of this comic for review purposes. You can find this comic and help support TBU in the process by purchasing this issue digitally on Comixology through Amazon or a physical copy of the title through Things From Another World.