This review contains some minor spoilers.
You know, for a three-issue story arc, “Joker Loves Harley” not only showed what this series is capable of, but also was a lesson in examining every detail put forth. I realize that may be a bit hard to do when you consider all the wackiness that has ensued since Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti took the creative reins back in 2013, but do know there is always an intricate plan when it comes to Harley Quinn, something I’ll touch on later.
By now, regular readers of this title have become well acquainted with dream sequences, one of which kicks off this issue and, much like the previous installment, Chad Hardin and his pencils make a much appreciated cameo. As for what it entailed, I’ll ask you to recall the scene in which Joker and Harley lived a normal family life in the Suicide Squad movie. Well, it’s taken to its logical conclusion here. It’s absurd, yes, but it’s kind of funny to see such a preposterous fantasy played out.
Not unlike the preceding issue, this is a real page turner. But despite it being so enthralling, you really can’t and shouldn’t rush through it because not only do Conner and Palmiotti pack it with a high volume of dialogue as usual, but also because you’ll want to catch all those subtle nuances and Easter eggs that artist John Timms may include. Needless to say, he once again brings it and takes our favorite red and black adorned gal to the angriest end of the emotional spectrum.
Speaking of which, it’s not long before Harley begins torturing “Joker,” intent on getting answers. Over the course of this arc, it slowly became apparent to her and readers that this probably wasn’t the true Clown Prince of Crime. After all, he seemed a bit too pacifistic and sympathetic to be her ex. Seriously, would anyone who remotely did their homework on her and valued their life want to touch that nerve?
But the way that Harley catches him in a lie is so obvious that one would think no writer would ever go there. Sure, the guy made some aesthetic changes and committed to his performance, but none of us ever counted on her pointing out he doesn’t have the matching private parts. Needless to say, this confirms that the real Joker and Harley, like, totally did it.
Although I won’t spoil the identity of the poseur, I will say that we pretty much called it earlier this week. Longtime readers of the series will no doubt remember this fella as well, especially after being given a detailed refresher. But even after Harley teaches him the biggest of lessons, I can’t help but realize the gravity of the fact that the real Joker is out there biding his time. And knowing how he played this young man like a violin and got him to do the things he did, well, it makes Mr. J all the more frightening.
If anything, Harley Quinn #13 is a testament to how no idea sprung from the minds of Conner and Palmiotti ever goes to waste; there’s always a grand plan, as I spoke of earlier. What may at first seem like an innocuous event may end up coming home to roost with a vengeance years later, making this series feel like a prime example of chaos theory at its finest. We may always remember what the likes of Grant Morrison or Scott Snyder contributed to Batman, and rightfully so, but this creative team’s additions to the Harley’s legacy should be praised just as highly.
If comic books had shocking season finales that made full use of seemingly forgotten plot points from years before, Harley Quinn #13 would be just that.