“Harley Quinn and Power Girl” #4 continues to bring a mixture of drama and comedy as Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, Stephane Roux, Elliot Fernandez, Paul Mounts and Alex Sinclair parody the idea of a hero gone evil. It’s the sort of book that walks a fine line between its two sides; the comedy keeps the drama from becoming too full of itself, and the drama keeps the comedy from stripping away a level of gravity for our duo.
This is a comic where a possessed/warped hero that’s been turned evil (naturally, Vartox is “Dark Vartox” in this case) is saved in no small part by the sound of a purring cat. Silly? Absolutely. It’s so ludicrous, though, it’s hard to keep from thinking things like, “I wonder if they could have saved Dark Phoenix this way?” Once you start heading down that route, the entire idea of a “dark” version of a hero becomes the utterly silly cliche it’s turned into over the years and you can’t help but see the ridiculousness of it all.
At the same time, though, Conner, Palmiotti and Gray understand there needs to be a certain level of drama to keep “Harley Quinn and Power Girl” #4 from becoming disposable. There’s still some real risk for the characters (especially the supporting cast) and I like that the trio understands the need to slowly but surely up the ante in terms of threats. The cliffhanger for this issue has yet an even bigger bad guy looming on the horizon and, while we can’t see him yet, it’s a doozy based on their reaction (and the point of view of the heroes as the bad guy towers over them). The characters never lose sight of the fact they really just want a teleportation ring to bring them home; they might be heroes (Power Girl, at any rate) but they also keep their eyes focused on the proverbial prize.
Roux and Fernandez split the art here, and this is a case where I wouldn’t have noticed the division of labor if it wasn’t for the credits box. Fernandez’s characters mirror Roux’s, with a rough but solid depiction of their forms. Both of them provide attractive characters without making them look too slick, and it’s easy to follow the action when those sequences break out. The best part of the comic, though, is when Fernandez draws Harley Quinn breaking out big, teary, pussy cat eyes. It’s ridiculous and hysterical, and I couldn’t stop laughing every time I saw that panel. This is a book that knows just how silly it is and revels in it.
“Harley Quinn and Power Girl” #4 is another fun romp and I appreciate how the book is moving at a nice clip, even as it jumps from one silly moment to the next. I never felt bored, and that’s a danger a lot of humor-based comics are unable to avoid. Once again, a big thumbs up. It’s just plain old goofy fun.