In the latest Harley issue, the overall story is really quite simple to boil down. Can Harley set aside Vanity when she is stripped of her hotness and cursed with the literal “ugly bug”? Given Harley is one of the heart throbs of the DC universe, this is an appropriate test to have her go through. Villains often are more prideful of looks and appearances than heroes, so this is a good journey for Harley to have to go through to earn her cosmic belt.
Chapter Vs Book
My main problem with this otherwise good issue is the brevity. In comics, story tellers often confine their story arcs to 4-6 issues, so the trade paperbacks read like a self-contained story when they are released. The brevity of this trial really begs the question which is more important, the issue or the overall issue count?
Most comics writers are gonna say it is more important to watch the overall issue count so stories can be divided correctly for the TPBs. This is the case with this issue. Harley is turned into a bug and it feels like in a matter of hours, she learns her lesson, with Tina’s help (nice touch), that looks aren’t everything and she doesn’t need societies approval of her looks to accomplish things. It felt quick, cheap and convenient.
As I said this was a great concept to cover, especially for a character such as Harley. I wish this could have been more of a stand-alone story and given the room to breathe and develop. Had they made Harley’s learning process last a few issues with a few more hardships along the way, this could have been a really powerful story arc.
I really like the support Mirand’r and Tina give Harley through out the issue. Tina needs to be used more and Mirand’r has the typical Tamaranean spunk that brings some fun to her appearances. I think had this been a larger story arc, they could have played even more pivotal roles, especially Tina.
Onto the Next Test
In the end of course Harley passes this test and gets her second glowy stone. You know she won’t fail this early if she does at all. What was nice to see is exactly how hard Mirand’r is pulling for Harley to succeed. The one interesting thing Mirand’r says is her reference to Harley may actually LIVE through this process. That is not good, and with the last page we see how bad things are about to become. It will be interesting to see what test they represent and how Harley will pass it.