A Poignant and Hilarious End to Harley Loves Joker #2
Harley Loves Joker #2, the final part in the two-part miniseries, appears to be a bit of an ode to the classic Harley Quinn character. It’s a startling coming-of-age story that weaves itself perfectly into the Rebirth storyline. It appears to be the earliest turning point for the Harley Quinn many readers, such as myself, grew up with. There are several poignant moments in this issue, and the ending is just perfect.
Harley Loves Joker #2 picks up about where the previous issue left off. Joker seems to be obsessed with the Grison, an old enemy from Harley’s past. And Harley is feeling very jealous, though she understands he is fawning over Grison because she is another pawn he can use. At least, that’s what the Harleen side of Harley’s brain tells her. Readers get to see a lot of Harley Quinn’s internal battles with her mother, Harleen Quinzel, and another intriguing visitor.
The story mostly revolves around Harley coming to the realization that she can be more than Joker’s pawn. Yet, she still, in a fascinating, hybristophilia sort of way, loves Joker. Thus, the story focuses on that internal struggle that has always surrounded the Harley Quinn character but has not totally been explored in this fashion.
Paul Dini’s dialogue covers a wide range of emotions and develops long developed characters even further. It is very interesting to see his take on these characters in this particular setting versus other writers who have put together classic Harley Quinn stories. Just as with the previous issue, Harley Loves Joker #2 is a character-driven story that combines comedy, psychology, and drama. Harley Loves Joker #2 seems to be a little more focused on the psychological journey of Harley Quinn.
Many of the scenes that take place within Harley Quinn’s head are poignant and wonderfully written. There is at least one action scene that is hilarious in all the right ways, and there is a plot twist that is perfectly executed. It did not feel farfetched and really seemed like something the character would orchestrate. Not to mention, Dini and co. devised a perfect ending for this serial turned miniseries.
Bret Blevins’s artwork seamlessly flows with Dini’s dialogue in such a way that the issue becomes immersive. Again, it is like a lost episode from Batman: The Animated Series. Characters’ emotions are easily read through body language and facial expressions. Something I was taken aback by in this issue was Blevins’s work on characters’ eyes. The details are subtle, but readers can clearly see fear, anxiety, anger, and sadness in the eyes of almost every character. However, there are some scenes where the artwork looks a little unpolished, almost as if all the sketch marks were not fully erased. Alex Sinclair’s colors are still vibrant and match the tone really well.
Harley Loves Joker #2 ends in such a fitting way for Harley Quinn and the infamous Joker. It’s a rather nostalgic story that amalgamates comedy with poignancy and psychology in a way that I have not seen a quite a while. While it is kind of sad to see this series end, Dini conceived the best possible ending for the Harley Loves Joker series. This issue is a must read/must have issue for Batman and Harley Quinn fans alike. Some may be disappointed that it’s over, but I doubt any will be let down by its conclusion.