JUST JOSHING: Harley Quinn: Future State
So it’s no secret I’m a Stephanie Phillips fan. I’ve enjoyed her Aftershock Comics work. She is the quintessential thriller writer disguised as a comic book writer. I thoroughly enjoy her dives into history, and the action and stories she constructs in her own work (Look for Red Atlantis being reviewed in a few weeks once I get my hands on the final issue.) With Harley Quinn, the ongoing series about to come onto the horizon, I wondered how Stephanie will take to Harley. So with that said, this would be my review this week.
Written by Stephanie Phillips
Illustrated by: Simone Dimeo
Colored by: Tamra Bonavillain
Lettered by: ALW’s Troy Peteri
Publisher: DC Comics
The future state is here, and in the future masks are forbidden. Harley Quinn is locked up, and Jonathan Crane has a use for her in this time. The former Scarecrow offers Harley a bad deal, but an interesting one to get inside a little bit more of Harley’s head.
Harley Quinn was once Harleen Quinzell, a psychiatrist and Crane needs her help in order to profile and capture villains. Harley plays along, and in this, you get a real sense of the mind of Harley as a professional psychiatrist. Harley is a wild card but is best when her analytical side is out on the prowl. In the first issue, she profiles and helps catch Professor Pyg and Firefly, each time gaining a little more trust from Crane as she helps him.
Of course, Harley’s no dummy. Crane is using Harley to move up the rankings in the Magistrate, a very dystopian form of law and order currently running Gotham in this future state. Gotham is an anti-mask, anti vigilante, and all about that order. After bagging Firefly the first issue you find out that the next target is Black Mask.
In the second issue, Harley plays the game and finds her opportunity to escape Crane’s clutches and stop both Black Mask and frame Crane in the process. Harley is not one to be used and thrown away and in his attempt to rise, Harley made the scarecrow fall.
Stephanie Phillips’ Harley is a wiser version of the character. She still is a little crazy and has a sense of whimsy that you come to know and love with the character. That said, this is a smart woman who understands her situation and is capable of turning the tables with her wits and her understanding of people. This Harley Quinn is dangerous in her wisdom and capability. I think she’s going to be in capable hands in the future.
The illustrations were solid. Dimeo gets the basic shapes, and I’m a big fan of his Scarecrow in particular. I do think the whole art style for the issue was well done, but a touch rigid for my tastes. A chunk of that is tone, but there are a lot of sharp edges and contrast with the colors. The Gotham of the future is very solid and unlikeable. I do like a few more rounded edges and whimsy in a book like this, but I do have to acknowledge that both Dimeo and Bonavillain do a great job in the style they told the story in. Peteri does good work with the letters.
All in all, this is a nice preview of things to come. Harley is shaping up to be Stephanie’s book. I think she’s going to do a great job. Of all the things I read in 2020, it was always amazing to watch Steph get better with each book, and I can’t wait for her and Riley Rossmo to add their voices to Harley. It’s going to be a great book. You should jump on it. I know I am.
Not my only column this week. I got some cool writing out for Writer’s Weekly. And happily, I can say more is on its way. If you want to see more of what I’ve done, you can check me out here. Right, this weekend I’m hoping to finish the draft of the novel I’m working on.
Beyond writing, I’ll be working on my podcast as well. I’m very close to being an affiliate on Twitch. I have the follower count. I just need people to show up for a little bit so I can get my name on the dotted line. I usually do the podcast streams Monday to Friday. Especially now if you’d like to help out, this is the time.
Beyond that, I hope you guys are doing well at this time. Stay inspired and keep shining in the dark. I’ll be back here in a week or so reviewing another personal favorite series right now before coming back to something else Stephanie wrote. Until then guys, keep reading. There’s a lot of great books out there. Find them. Tell your friends.