Script/Plot/Art: Paul Dini & Bruce Timm; Shane Glines(i), Lee Lourdige(c)
This issue of Harley & Ivy may be too violent for wee little kids. Anybody twelve and up will find the book laugh out loud hilarious.
A slideshow establishes the setting and informs the reader of the political situation on Costa Verde. Turn the page, and you discover quite suddenly and surprisingly that our Dynamic Duet is enjoying the hospitality of the Costa Verde penal system.
Very little if any of these scenes are meant to be taken seriously. Dini and Timm raise the panels way, way over the top. Our buxom bad babes find themselves on the brutality butt of butch bruisers; the one guard could be Bullock's twin--sister, I guess, though I think a physical exam would be needed to establish his/her gender.
These scenes are violent, but only through the way they are presented. The cartooniness of the style and the emphasis on speed lines makes all the blows look quick, sharp and painful. So while violent, the episodes are not tortuous or sadistic.
The tender mercies are interrupted by loud borderline ridiculous gunfire, and you really need to see the comic timing to appreciate how Dini and Timm turn something lethal into something ludicrous.
After dressing off panel, Harley and Ivy meet Ricardo Montleban's younger brother:
"Senorita, Isley and Quinzel! Welcome to Costa Verde!"
Soon after this point, you realize that Harley & Ivy is not just funny. The book is also superior in terms of cleverness. Harley uses her reputation for being a screw-up and a screwball to con her foe into an unexpected plausible ploy. The smart twist in the story nets them a vehicle of mass destruction, but they soon encounter on their way to retrieve the zombie root an ambiguously gay duo of destruction. Homosexual and homicidal these chaps may be, but they're also rugged individuals and unlike stereotypes who thrill to Oprah and the dubious vocal stylings of Cher.
Orientation plays an important part in the story. Dini and Timm answer a very obvious question regarding Ivy. If she's so at home in the jungle, which is exemplified in a scene where Ivy luxuriates amid the foliage, why does she not stay there? She had her vengeance on Harvey Dent. Batman causes her no end of trouble, and in this incarnation, she does not find Batman at all appealing. The answer is Harley. Nicely staged scenes show that Harley's not fit to adapt to the tropical rainforest. She's a city gal, and Ivy loves the little knucklehead, in some way. I think it's clear, but others may only see a friendship.
Nothing escapes Dini and Timm. Every scene serves a purpose in the craft of story. The bond between Harley and Ivy, the humor of the characters which often mitigates they're criminal acts, Batman's memorable end cameo and even the illustrated weather makes Harley & Ivy a perfect tale.
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