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Harley Quinn #24

Posted: Wednesday, September 18, 2002
By: Jason Cornwell



Writer: Karl Kesel
Artists: Craig Rousseau (p), Dan Davis (i)

Publisher: DC

Plot:
The book opens with J'Onn discovering that Harley Quinn's soul was booted out of Hell, but given her body was vaporized, she has discovered she can jump from body to body, and she has been using this new ability to muck around with people's love lives. To this end she has set up shop in J'Onn's fellow private detective/friend, and we see J'Onn is quick to kick Harley out of that body before she can do any damage. We then see J'Onn has a rather rough go of it as Harley jumps from body to body, and J'Onn ends up looking like a crazed loony, as whenever he lays a hand on one of the possessed, Harley vacates the body, which leaves behind a confused, and decidedly hostile party, who J'Onn looks to have just attacked. After keeping her from causing a crowd of star struck females from tearing apart a popular music artist, we see J'Onn decides he needs help on this case. We then rejoin J'Onn later that night as he is able to lure Harley back into the body of his friend, and once Harley is on the scene, J'Onn & a couple of allies from the JLA, step in to help create a new body for Harley, and stuff her back inside it so she can no longer wreck havoc on the astral plane.

Comments:
A fun issue as a bodiless Harley Quinn gives J'Onn J'Onzz (aka. the Martian Manhunter) a tough time, as she hops from body to body, and makes a plain nuisance of herself. Now the idea that Harley got her body vaporized did serve to make this issue a rather silly version of Kevin Smith's recent turn in the Green Arrow book, as we see Karl Kesel offers up the reverse situation, as Harley is a soul without a body, while Oliver Queen's situation was the reverse. In the end Harley's ability to be an annoying pest is on full display, especially during the early going as she makes J'Onn look like a complete lunatic, as she jumps from one body into the next. It's also doesn't hurt that during his time in the Blue & Gold Justice League, J'Onn was fashioned into the perfect straight man, so Harley's antics have themselves the ideal foil in this issue. I must admit that I was a bit disappointed to see this situation was resolved by the end of the issue, as the idea of Harley freed from the confines of a physical form is one that could've made for several fun issues, but with Karl Kesel's departure looming on the horizon, I understand why this rapid return to the status quo was brought into play.

While the quick restoration of the status quo was a bit disappointing, I do have to give Karl Kesel full marks for how he managed to secure Harley a new body, though it would've been nice to learn where J'Onn managed to get his hands on strand of Harley's hair that is used to create her new body (though given the surprise unmasking scene later in the issue, it's fairly easy to imagine where it might've come from). Still, the final scene is a fun display of powers, as we see Harley walks into a trap, and the room which held only two characters before her arrival suddenly becomes a bit more crowded. This final also makes use of one of my favorite former JLA members, who hasn't found her way back into the JLA, though she is playing a role in the current "Hunt for Aquaman" arc the Joe Kelly has going. We also get some cute scenes like the "Crying Game" moment as Harley attempts to possess our female guest-hero the first time, or the surprise unmasking as we learn who was playing the role of John Jones, and we discover why he was such an impressive kisser. The final line that is made by our second guest-hero, to the newly restored Harley is also quite interesting.

Craig Rousseau turns in an impressive little two issue stint on this book, and his animated style was a fairly strong match for the lighthearted material of this two-part arc. The idea of Harley being able to jump from body to body is nicely captured by the art, as we see J'Onn's encounters on the street present the idea that Harley is able to leave the body she inhabits just as quickly as she can take it over. The art also does a nice job capturing the highly expressive Harley Quinn, as we how can one not smile at the shot of the crowd of Harleys advancing on Jim Rook, or her look of indignation as she explains that she can't be held accountable for crimes that she committed before her death. The art also turns in some nice work during the final confrontation, as the liquid-like nature of Harley's spirit was well done, and I love the showmanship display that our female guest-hero displays as she sets out to secure Harley's new body. The unmasking scene of our second guest-hero is also well done, as he looks just a creepy as one would expect him to be. I also have to make mention of this issue's cover, as while the scene doesn't play out inside the book, it's still a visual dynamic image.

Final Word:
A fun issue the makes good use of its guest-heroes, as J'Onn gets to endure the full wrath of Harley Quinn, as she has fun with her new found ability to jump from body to body. We also get a couple surprise guest-stars for the big finish to this latest adventure, as Karl Kesel gets Harley a new body before he leaves the book. The issue also nicely captures the idea that Harley would have a blast body hopping, as we see it allows her to directly involve herself in the love life of another, and in typical Harley fashion her help is more harmful than helpful, though she's blissfully unaware of this fact. Now I did find myself wishing that Karl Kesel had another couple of issues to play with the idea that Harley didn't have herself a body to call home, as this issue nicely showed that the idea had legs, and this adventure only scratched the surface. Still next issue does look rather promising, as Mr. J is set to finally put in an appearance.



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