Harley Quinn #3 – “Love Stinks”

Harley Quinn #3

“Love Stinks!”
Writers: Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti
Artist: Chad Hardin
Colorist: Alex Sinclair

It’s Valentine’s Day, and Harley is getting depressed watching happy couples walk by. Will a special gift from Poison Ivy turn things around for Harley?

Related Issue: Harley Quinn #2
Tradepaperback: Harley Quinn v1: Hot in the City
League of Comic Geeks Page

It is Valentine’s Day, and Harley is feeling lonely without her “puddin'” (Joker) around to be with her.  Of course Harley being Harley, and her friends being who they are, she does not get to spend the day alone after all, but that is not really the point, is it?  This is a comedy book after all, and it is going to sink or swim based on how well it is able to sell you on the laughs.  This month I was a little underwhelmed as the majority of it seemed to be built around Harley coming up with inventive ways to maim and brutalize her would-be admirers, but there are a few good moments tossed in.  For me, the misses outweigh the hits, though.

Things start off decently with Harley taking a ride on the tunnel of love, zombie style, where she encounters one of the assassins who has been after her head lately.  Do not mistake this for advancing the plot, though, as it will be forgotten or ignored for the rest of the issue.  Things do kick off a bit after Harley finds a plant left behind by Poison Ivy last issue, which apparently makes her irresistible to everyone around her – which includes an over-turned truck full of escaped convicts.  There was potential here for there to be some funny interactions between Harley and this crew of love-struck cons, but it pretty much just drops straight into blood and violence territory as Harley heads into a hardware store and begins hacking away at her admirers with anything she can get her hands on.  I feel like Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner were going for some Coyote/Roadrunner hijinks here, but instead we just get some bloody ultra-violence with the occasional explosion.

The various parts of the story which are actually about Harley interacting with her fellow cast members are easily the best.  There is a background story with one of her friends getting rejected by his loved one, which is surprisingly amusing (especially after he goes after his desired date with some Poison Ivy augmented berries).  The regular cast of characters living in Harley’s warehouse are slowly developing into an interesting batch of people who I enjoy reading about.  Who would have thought it?

Interestingly enough the most memorable part of this book is probably the moral that Harley comes to at the end of the day.

“I think Valentine’s Day is just about the meanest holiday there is.  If you don’t have a sweetie, then it just makes you feel bad.  If you do have a sweetie then you’re forced to put on a big performance, an’ go bankrupt while you’re at it, or you wind up in the doghouse.”

It made me laugh, and nod knowingly having been both with and without a “sweetie” for Valentine’s Day.  Sometimes I think the book tries too hard for its laughs, but then it hits you with some amusing observation and my goodwill towards it is redeemed.  Not the best book out there, nor the funniest, but it does have its strong points to be sure.

Harley Quinn #3 is available on Amazon Kindle and at your local comic shop.

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