You know how the whole villain origin story is usually about the “one bad day” that changed everything? I think it’s Tuesday most of the time. But what if it’s, like, a lot of bad days, and some of them were even caused by me, Harley Quinn? Well, that would be a recipe for one pretty bad villain, right? The secret origin story of a brutal new villain, Verdict, is revealed here! Though I guess it won’t be very secret once we reveal it, huh?
But Why Tho?Harley Quinn #16 is one of the heaviest issues of the series so far. That energy and humour are still there, but this is an incredibly traumatic and emotional comic. It is a brutal and honest reminder of the past that our heroes stem from, with neither the writer nor the artist sparing any grizzly details about the history of these characters. It is a clever callback to the start of the series, where it was made clear that Harley is not a perfect person, trying to make amends to those that she had wronged. Except what she has to amend for may be huge.
Dark Knight NewsWith the finale in sight, I for one sit on pins and needles awaiting no pun intended but the verdict for Harley Quinn. Especially what this means for one of the most important relationships that Harley has cultivated in this series. Truly a recommend to read Harley Quinn #16 and I will see you guys next time with Harley Quinn #17!
The Super Powered FancastThe Story: Phillips does an excellent job with crafting this surprisingly emotional chapter. I was especially impressed with the narration as it delivers the insights of a character whose identity is not immediately revealed. This story deals with both character growth and the aftereffects of a tragedy, including PTSD. It also reminds the reader that Harley’s dark past has lingering effects on those she’s wronged. The dramatic ending of this issue is shocking but promising, and I’m very interested in seeing what happens next for these characters. The Art: This episode uses a modern design with distorted human characteristics. The tone is youthful, and the art has a rambunctious, yet dreamlike quality, that matches Harley’s emotional state. I found this issue to be both visually appealing and immersive.
Geek DadRiley Rossmo, who is leaving this title soon to take over as artist on a new Tim Drake title, infuses all the action scenes with a great kinetic energy and makes Verdict’s start of darkness feel genuinely creepy. There’s one more issue in this story, as Harley and the unmasked Verdict face off. It’s a good storyline, but I’m sort of looking forward to Harley’s adventures getting more bizarre as she blasts off into space.
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ComicBook.comHarley Quinn #16 is an issue of necessary exposition – and it's surprisingly good. Not that Phillips doesn't write a good story. It's just that this title has felt a little chaotic for a bit and this take on Harley gets more and more erratic each issue, but this issue focuses on Verdict's backstory and while it's a little shaky, what makes it good is less that story and how it twists an emotional knife, as it were, for Kevin. He's honestly the best addition to Harley's story in a long time and watching him deal with the truth about the situation is heartwrenching – and especially so when paired with Riley Rossmo's art.
Weird Science DC ComicsHarley Quinn #16 is one of the better issues in the series as we learn Verdict's origin story. Although, Verdict's origin is well-constructed and makes sense in context, the standout of the issue is still Kevin. Rossmo is due credit for depicting Kevin's range of emotional strife once he learns the truth, making this one of the strongest issues in the series so far.
The Batman UniverseAs the Verdict arc draws to a close, the rogue’s full backstory and the source of her grudge against Harley must be related. The flash sequences are plotted straightforward enough, and writer Stephanie Phillips happily avoids taking too many liberties with chronology in Harley Quinn #16. I must admit that I missed Batwoman’s presence and energy, as her time in continuity with Harley seemed far too short. I sincerely hope these two team up again in the near future, although from a character development perspective it will also be important for Batwoman’s behavior with Harley to diverge from Batman’s benign exasperation. (Batwoman is very different from Batman, as is Kate from Bruce, so it is not believable that she would relate to Harley in the same way as Batman. Her queer identity is only part of this, although it is important and Harley indeed comments on the sexual tension as she pours out her story to Kevin). One of the strongest features of the book is the way in which Phillips stokes a dramatic tension for the audience regarding Harley’s redemption arc. Fifteen issues into the run, the audience has likely gotten comfortable regarding Harley’s goodness and her membership in the Bat-Family. Phillips wants to trouble this comfort, and she does so in a graphic fashion by reminding us that Harley is a murderer. This reminder is critical because even those who adhere to the notion of redemption from evil might want to reject the notion that it comes free or easy as time passes.
Batman-NewsI didn’t hate this issue like I did the last one, but a lot of problems still persist in this book, and in the general writing of Harley Quinn at DC Comics. I swear, I’m not saying any of this to attack Stephanie Phillips. I also swear I’m not some Harley Quinn hater who secretly posed as a fan to get this review gig. I just have to call it as I see it, and if you’re looking for a quality book to follow, I’m afraid this isn’t the one right now.