Harley Quinn: The Animated Series: The Eat. Bang! Kill. Tour (2021) #5

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Regular artist Max Sarin is back this issue, which strangely doesn’t really matter. I guess when you’re trying to fit an existing animation style, who’s doing it doesn’t make much difference. Though the issue’s also… underwhelming for a penultimate entry.

I’d come to terms with Eat. Bang! Kill. not being able to do too much with character development because—regards of its continuity status—most “Harley Quinn: The Animated Series” viewers aren’t going to have read the comic. Some twenty years into the cross-platform franchise experiment, no one’s made it happen.

Anyway.

This issue has a bunch with Ivy regarding character work, but it’s still minimal. Harley’s finally had enough of Ivy being mad at her this series—this time, they’re fighting about Ivy not wanting to kill the last industrial polluter CEO—and heads out to the strip club for some me time. Ivy’s invited, of course, but Ivy’s stinging from their fight with Vixen last issue.

Vixen and Justice League Detroit start this issue, resolving the skunk smell and wild animals, and it’s clear from that first scene something’s off. Lots of decent dialogue and characterization, but there’s no real reason for it: why are the guest stars getting so much attention? Especially since they’re guest stars for two pages.

Writer Tee Franklin takes the eventual relationship drama seriously, but it’s as seriously as you can take something with so many constraints. Sarin’s visualizing of that subplot also runs into some problems. Then throw in the book has stalled out in Detroit, with the first half being a “road trip” and the second half being stuck in a somewhat dull location. It doesn’t help the new villain of the series—an annoying, stinky, toxic blob monster called Mephitic—comes off too static in a comic book.

The bad smell thing, however, wouldn’t work on the show either, but motion might. Also, Mephitic’s got an imagined rivalry with Poison Ivy, entirely separate from her character development arc, and it muddles things.

The comic remains an amiable read, with fine characterizations of its leads, but it’s ready to be done.

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