Harley Quinn and Power Girl #1 (August, 2015)
Writers – Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray
Artist – Stephane Roux
Colors – Paul Mounts
Letters – John J. Hill
Assistant Editor – Dave Welgosz
Editor – Chris Conroy
Group Editor – Mark Doyle
Cover Price: $3.99
You might be able to tell by the book we’re covering today that I was unsuccessful in tracking down those two subsequent issues of Power Girl. I guess we used up all of our Vartox Week miracles!
I do have a calls into a couple of local comics “warehouses”… and I’m hoping to hear back this weekend. So, fingers-crossed, we could just be back in the thick of it before long!
For today though, we’re jumping through the Flashpoint… through the New-52!… and into that weird and short-lived DCYOU era for our next appearance of Vartox.
For completion’s sake though, the main man did make a single panel cameo in Action Comics (vol.2) #15 (2013)… which I’ll include here.
|From: Action Comics (vol.2) #15 (February, 2013)
Grant Morrison (w) / Brad Walker or Rags Morales (a)
And no, we’re also not counting his appearances in those lame-o Channel-52 bits… okay, okay… maybe I’ll include a few choice “news reports” down below… I mean, where else are you going to see Vartox in a hot dog costume? Seriously…
We open with Harley and Power Girl being spit out of a portal… which causes Harley to spit out everything she’d eaten the previous day… right on top of a cute little Mister Mind-lookin’ critter. They’re in the Sombrero Hat Galaxy, by the way. They soon run into a creepy little fella who refers to himself Sleezox, the uncrowned and exiled Sexyprince of Valeron. Oh, it’s worth noting, Power Girl is currently an amnesiac… so words like “Valeron” ain’t ringing any bells.
After being insulted, Sleezox sics his pet hydra on the ladies… and before long, we go full-blown Bugs Bunny. Power Girl gets swallowed… Harley hops on one of the heads and pounds on it… Pee Gee bursts out of one of the beast’s throats… then, Harley just appears with an arsenal that would make 1991 Cable jealous. Suddenly I’m feeling really old because… I don’t “get” this. Like, am I supposed to be laughing right now… or just cock my head to the side, smirk, and say “Oh, that Harley…”.
After dispatching the dragon, the ladies come across… a giant mustachioed head. It scans them… and recognizes Power Girl as Kara Zor-L.
I neglected to mention this yesterday, but I’m pretty sure this giant head is a nod to the Zardoz movie. Take a look:
Here’s Sean Connery actually climbing out of the thing. I mean, it’s gotta be a nod, right? Also… I gotta actually see this movie… I’m guessing I’m missing a lot of references to it.
Anyhoo, the gals climb inside, and it’s completely plushed out in 1970’s style… as one might expect from Vartox. Beanbag chairs, lava lamps… we’re a disco ball and glowing dance platform away from a swell ol’ time. In fact, the head himself claims it was designed (and scented) based on acquisitions from Vartox’s first visit to Earth in 1974.
The giant head then takes Harley and Kara to Vartox… or more accurately toward Vartox. Ya see, he’s currently being held captive by a fella called Oreth Odeox, who wants to rid the galaxy of hedonism. Vartox promises, however, to get his groove back.
Hey, we already used that line…
Anyhoo… Harley and Pee Gee are shot down while passing the Valeron Moon of… Lustox. Oh boy. They run into an acne-addled alien who accuses them of being prostitutes… ya know, outfits that show off their ample curves… and also tight enough to facilitate… um, well, Karflippian toe? Harley blasts him to cinder.
Which starts a big ol’ thing. They ladies are swarmed by dudes who look like A.I.M. rejects, but Power Girl takes them out with the quickness. To avoid further scuffles, she then crushes Harley’s adorable little death-pistol.
Then… Groovicus Mellow shows up! Power Girl, being an amnesiac, doesn’t remember him. He recognizes her as the “original” Power Girl… as in, the same one from the pre-Flashpoint DCU… which scratches me where I itch, but… it’s a Harley book, who could say how “in continuity” it is.
Then… they are attacked by a space armada. To be continued… but, not on this blog until I procure the rest of this mini.
So… Harley Quinn is basically Deadpool now, right? Ehh, I guess ya go with what works… though, I can’t say that I’m a fan.
That’s not to say it’s bad… just not for me. Makes me feel positively ancient to be rolling my eyes more than even slightly curling my lip. The book we discussed yesterday… now that was funny… and I don’t just mean “comicbook” funny… actually funny. Like, caught off guard where I laughed through my nose kinda funny. This… this was just wacky Deadpool antics.
We don’t get a heckuva lot of Vartox here… and it’s starting to feel like he’s going to be a one-joke pony at this point. He’s just a polyester Pepe Le Pew. Could work for a one-off, but I’m not sure I want more more of it than that. Though, maybe (and hopefully) I’ll be proven wrong when I procure the rest of this run.
The art here comes from Stephane Roux… who, I’m guessing was trying to evoke a more “cartoony” style to fit this story… but, I gotta say, I had to check the credits twice. This looks nothing like his spectacularly gorgeous work from the pre-Flashpoint Zatanna series.
Overall, if modern Harley Quinn is your bag, you’re probably going to love this. If it’s not… hell, you still might have a good time here. All I can say is, it’s not my thing… and, in my opinion, it’s a step backwards from the pre-Flashpoint Power Girl series when it comes to comedy and characterization.
Now, you might think this is the end of Vartox Week… buuuut, it’s not. I’ve got a “for Vartox completionists only” pick set up for tomorrow… because, I’m sure by now, we’d all refer to ourselves as “Vartox completionists”, right?
Assortment of rather pot-bellied Vartox features in Channel-52!: