Harley Quinn #52 Review

Harley Quinn #52
DC Comics

Writer:  Sam Humphries
Artist: Sami Basri
Colors: Alex Sinclair
Letters: Dave Sharpe

It’s easy to see that DC is taking care of their best-selling female anti-hero just by looking at the lineup of talent that they have to work on this comic. This book is sharp and fresh; from the writing to the art to the letters and colors, this is a book that is firing on all cylinders. (If I can mix metaphors)

In this issue, Harley is still dealing with the time-displaced hero Captain Triumph; who, thanks to Harley is trapped in the modern day. We get a flashback of how the good Captain gained his powers, and then we watch as the two tussle in a hero vs. hero fight, but in the end, it’s all’s-well-that-ends-well as the Captain is sent back in time and Harley is on to her next adventure.

This comic is not reinventing the wheel or breaking new ground in the medium, but what DC is offering here is just a great series by some of the best in the business. Humphries takes a throwaway character like Captain Triumph and makes the reader sympathize with the poor bastard. Much like Marvel’s time-displaced Captain America, Triumph is a man out of his time and in this modern age he is lost and confused. He just wants to go home and back to some sibilance of sanity. It doesn’t help that Harley Quinn of all people is Triumph’s introduction to the present day; she doesn’t exactly endear herself to conservative norms or fashion.

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Humphries writing is witty and snappy; the dialogue pops and is always pushing forward the plot or setting up a joke. You can tell that the writer is getting comfortable writing this character as I noticed some subtle changes in the way Harley speaks from the start of Humphries tenure. He is starting to allow more of her character to shine through the punch lines; giving her more heart.

It’s here that I get to hand out some rare praise in a review, as this comic wouldn’t be half as much fun to read without the efforts of letterer Dave Sharpe. The constant change in text and font to emphasize words or phrases is a brilliant upgrade to the old school formula of just capitalizing the text and moving on. With Sharpe’s additional lettering the pages pop! It feels more like a comic when handled this way and I hope that this is a lesson that DC begins to carry company-wide. Kudos to Dave Sharpe; the unsung hero of the series.

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As much as I like this series what really sells it for me is the art. Sami Basri is a hidden gem that DC needs to hold onto at all costs. This is stunning work on every panel and page. You will find yourself staring at the art long after you have read the story. This is the beginning of a long and prosperous career for Sami. The added punch of Alex Sinclair’s colors only makes this issue’s art all the more incredible. It’s easy to see why the powers that be have decided to place this talented artist on one of the company’s flagship titles.

All in all, this is definitely worth the purchase. It’s a great story and the art is fantastic. The entire team deserves a pat on the back. Excellent stuff!

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