I was introduced to Harley Quinn when my 14 year old grand daughter (dressed in pigtails and a “cheeky” heart) dragged me to the opening night of the Suicide Squad movie. I immediately fell in love with the quirky Harley character and not just because my grand daughter resembles the actress, Margot Robbie, who stole the show with her dramatization of the comic book character.
Harley is one of those iconic personas who should be abhorred and yet can’t help but be endearing. Childlike yet clever, deadly yet kind hearted, serious in her intent yet inclined to humorous alliterative quips, brutal to those who cross her yet loyal to her friends, ready to love despite a sadistic tendency, Harley represents an enigmatic dichotomy perfect for the comic world. Add in some incredible colorful graphics thanks to Chad Harding, including a fair amount of suggestive sensual illustrations, and you have a compelling series.
Harley Quinn Volume 5: The Joker’s Last Laugh (#22-25) by Amanda Connor and Jimmy Palmiotti represents a series of comic books continuing on from Harley Quinn Volume 4: A Call to Arms as Harley returns to Coney Island after her adventures in Hollywood. Her ride home to her apartment is waylaid and she is kidnapped, but not for long as she dispatches her attackers and ends up back with her friendly tenants. One particular friend, love interest Mason Macabre, is in prison after being found guilty of the accidental death of the mayor’s son. Both the guards and the inmates want him dead, so Harley uses some “creative” maneuvering to get him transferred to Arkham Asylum In Gotham City. Determined to break him out to safety, Harley enters the one place she has vowed to avoid and sure enough she is exposed to her former boyfriend, the Joker, who tries to lure her away from the man she has come to rescue. Other featured players include a Squad of Harley wannabe clones, a couple of elderly romantic cyborgs, and various animals (both living and stuffed). Cameo appearances by DC Comic favorites Poison Ivy, Power Girl, and Batman add to the fun.
As an extra tidbit, a standalone comic (Harley Quinn: Be Careful What You Wish For) entertains when Harley discovers a bottle containing a genie who will grant any wish leading to some amusing misadventures as the majority of her so-called desires don’t quite turn out as expected.
Please note that the sexual innuendo and violence make this book inappropriate for young children.
Four stars and a thank you to Netgalley and DC Comics for providing an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.