Publisher: DC Comics
Release: September 19th 2017
Issues: Harley Quinn (Rebirth) 17-21
I received an advanced copy of Harley Quinn, Volume 3: Red Meat from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
As per usual the artwork is superb. The cover variants at the end are worth taking the time to go through. Harley and the whole crew are back for volume three, though there’s less focus on the Harley Gang this time around. There are plenty of other things going on without them however, so fear not.
So there’s actually quite a lot going on this volume, with four plots getting juggled in the air. First there’s an alien named Zorcrom whom looks crazy different from Super Man, but at the same time has some similarities with him. For example, our sun keeps making him stronger and things like that. This plot was pretty crazy, and unabashedly full of Harley’s quips and basically doing what she does best – being crazy and distracting. Not bad as far as starting plots go, but certainly not my favorite.
The second plot really made my heart ache – the homeless in the city have begun to disappear. This includes the nice gentleman that Harley made a point of stopping by and checking on (and feeding him). So naturally Harley quickly agrees to go undercover (again – apparently the police chief thinks she’s capable of working quietly? Go figure) to find the cause. Things quickly take a gross and morbid turn as things get revealed (I won’t spoil it for you, but prepare to feel bad for the homeless). Because I felt so bad for what had happened, I wasn’t even the least bit willing to feel sympathy for the guys that caused everything as Harley beat the life out of most of them. It was actually pretty satisfying, in a comic book violence sort of way.
The next plot introduced doesn’t really get resolved this volume, which is a shame. Additionally it’s pulling from a secondary Harley Quinn comic (Harley Quinn and Her Gang of Harleys) so I can’t pretend to know a lot about the villain, as I haven’t read it yet (I know – I’ll add it to the list). From what I can gather though, Harley Sin (yeah, I know) is clearly a mirror of Harley Quinn (doesn’t really take a genius to figure that one out). This sort of obvious reflection isn’t really my favorite type of storytelling, but since the ending hasn’t been included yet I’ll let it be for now.
The last plot gets a little crazy, so be prepared for Harley levels of weirdness (which is saying something, I know). On the bright side, this plot actually ties in and explains Red Tool a bit more (sort of – I’m not convinced it’s all true). I really liked the future girl, Devan and her costume design. Though I disagree with the reason she wants to go back in the past, as there’s a pretty basic flaw in her understanding of time travel (for the sake of not turning this into a ten page review, I won’t go further into detail on that subject).
I really enjoyed Red Tool’s way of handling things (and the manner in which he got brought into the fray). That being said – I’m seriously debating about going back and reading through the previous volumes to see if I can confirm or deny the story he told. For the life of me I can’t remember if they show the character before he becomes Red Tool. So maybe it is true? Something doesn’t feel right about it though. Regardless, it was really cool seeing him step up and solve things.
Final event worth mentioning: so um, Harley’s parents are in town? I’m worried about the potential for a lame gimmick here, and thus am really hoping her parents will have left before the start of the next volume. That would be ideal.
All in all I enjoyed reading Red Meat, even though it isn’t my favorite of the Harley series. Despite my complaints, I really can’t wait to see what volume four (hopefully sans parents) has in store