DCAU #299: Masks: A Harley Quinn Romance

IN THIS ONE... Harley goes on a rampage after her romance novel tanks.

CREDITS: Written by Ty Templeton; art by Craig Rousseau and Stan Woch.

REVIEW: The beautifully illustrated sequel to the previous Harley Quinn story, in which she got a clean bill of health and wrote a romance novel about a villainess who falls for a masked vigilante, Masks brings more of the same humor (I'll always take a cheeky Batman '66 reference, thanks) and, oops, sends Harley back to the loony bin. She's got good marketing ideas, it's just that they're illegal.

Harley has funny shticks throughout - using the bat signal for shadow puppets and rude gestures, a sweet rubber chicken balloon ride, etc. - but the funniest bit is Batman's anger at having to read the tripe that is her novel to divine what her next crime will be. Since he's at least partly the inspiration for the male protagonist, there's humiliation there too, just as there was for the literarily cuckolded Joker.

If there's a weakness in the script, it's that Harley's plans are (literally) deflated too quickly, but the anti-climax does give Templeton the chance to return to Arkham where Harley faces the music, i.e. an angry Mister J. And because Harl was using one of Poison Ivy's toxins to take control of anyone who'd touched her book, that means the Joker too. Mind control or not, a more pliable Joker is what Harley probably needs right now.
REREADABILITY: High - This is Ty Templeton's last issue, at least for the near future, and I sure I hope I'm not going to miss as much as I think I will. He's managed a difficult balance between action, mystery and humor with brilliance, and this issue is a prime example of that.



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