This week the Cabal makes their first strike in New Avengers, and we take a trip 5 years in Harley Quinn’s future in Harley Quinn Futures End!
New Avengers #24 (Marvel Comics)
Jonathan Hickman’s other Avengers title kicks into high gear with New Avengers #24, which is also under the “TIME RUNS OUT” banner. However, unlike the Avengers issue, NA doesn’t waste anytime giving you what you really want: Namor and the Cabal absolutely wrecking stuff up.
Actually, this issue gives us even more than we bargained for, as it also features a pretty healthy helping of Dr. Victor Von Doom as well. The issue opens with Namor meeting with Doom and asking for his help with stopping the incursions that have been threatening Earth since the beginning of New Avengers. In the eight-month gap between this issue and the last one, Namor is finding that his Cabal, which includes members like Thanos, Terrax, and Maximus, is becoming too hard to control, and they’re sensing that Namor doesn’t relish destroying worlds like they do. Of course, Doom turns Namor down in one of the best scenes of the issue. Hickman’s dialogue for this scene is so good that it makes me want him to write a Doctor Doom ongoing right this second.
Artist Valerio Schiti handles the art duties for this issue, and while I’ve never seen his work before, it’s a perfect fit for New Avengers. His artwork is absolutely stunning, and he brings a real sense of horror to the scenes with The Cabal destroying the alternate Earth. The reveal behind the dual Xorn/Zorn heads is extremely creepy, and Schiti does a great job at showing the despair on the alternate Earth’s Prof. X.
New Avengers is off to a wicked awesome start after an extremely long arc. This issue, while being number 24, is actually a pretty good jumping on point for people interested in the series. You may be scratching your head at some of the other plots going around, but the main story involving Namor, the Illuminati, and now the Cabal is extremely entertaining and pretty accessible. New Avengers (and Avengers for that matter) is heading somewhere pretty big, and you don’t want to miss out.
Harley Quinn: Futures End #1 (DC Comics)
Well, here we are again. Another Harley Quinn special has roped me in. Harley Quinn: Futures End is unlike the other Futures End tie in books that have come out this month, mainly because, well, it reads like any another issue in the series. Writers Amanda Connor and Jimmy Palmiotti craft a tale that could just as easily be Harley Quinn #10 instead of a one shot special tied into a series that no one is reading.
Harley Quinn Futures End finds Ms. Quinn deserted on an island that just so happens to also have a certain Clown Prince of Crime on it. At some point in the future, Joker fakes his death (again), and comes to this deserted island, where he’s worshipped as a god. This idea is actually pretty entertaining, and hearing Joker’s ways of passing the time fits right in with the unpredictable way he operates. Of course, Harley’s happy to see her puddin’ once again, especially when he tells her they’re going to get married that night. What could go wrong? Oh, just the fact that he’s secretly going to let his worshippers sacrifice her after the wedding.
At first, this issue started to fall into the same traps that turned me off of the main Harley Quinn series. There are a lot of pretty bad one-liners, and Harley uses “holy” more than Robin did in the old Adam West Batman series. But once Joker shows up, it becomes a whole different book. Maybe it’s because we haven’t seen Harley and Joker interact much in the New 52, but the scenes between the two of them were a lot of fun, and are definitely the highlights of the book.
Artist Chad Hardin does a good job with this issue, though there are a few awkward panels and design choices. At times it seems like there’s too much going on in some panels, which really slows the book down. His Joker is pretty good though, and he shines when he depicts Harley and her puddin’.
So once again, I picked up a Harley Quinn special and found myself enjoying it. Between this and the Harley Invades SDCC special over the summer, I’m almost convinced to give Harley’s main book another shot. It was fun one and done that walked a fine line between being funny and annoying. At the very least, Harley Quinn: Futures End is a fun book, and stands as one of the better Futures End one shot issues.