Ever since Harley Quinn severed ties with the Joker, she’s been on a roll. First, she’s made her presence felt as a member of the Suicide Squad. Now she has her own best-selling series. Harley Quinn #4 follows the same story template that have made the previous issues a success, but it falls short of the mark set by its predecessors.
In this issue, Harleen Quinzell finally gets to put the lab coat back on to start a new job as a psychiatrist at an old folks home (oh the irony). One particular patient’s plight strikes a chord with her, and she takes it upon herself to make things right. This is where hilarity is supposed to ensue, though it fails to come through.
So far, writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner have done an excellent job of using Harley’s shenanigans to make a banal situation fun. This time, the underlying scenario is too bland to do much with. They do try to make it work, though their attempts either aren’t funny, are highly predictable (the conclusion), or at worst, are just egregious. Without spoiling it, there’s a scene inside a house involving “personal items” that unabashedly goes for cheap laughs. Because of how poorly its executed, the whole section suffers for it.
I also don’t know what to make of the introduction of Syborg, a washed-up superhero who has come to Harley Quinn in need of help. She isn’t really given a reason to partner up with this guy, yet she decides to do it anyway. I get that Harley Quinn lives a YOLO lifestyle, but her choosing to go on this mission on a whim comes off as being especially ham-fisted.
No series is perfect from beginning to end, and Harley Quinn is no exception to that. Issue #4 was a big-time dud. I’m hoping that this is just a speed bump and not a sign of things to come, but it’s too early to say at this point.