“Man-Batter Up”, Part One
Writer: Frank Tieri
Artist: Inaki Miranda
It’s the dawn of a new era for Harley Quinn. Gone is the creative team of Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner, and in their place is writer Frank Tieri and artist Inaki Miranda. A major bar had been set by the previous creators and I’m happy to see the challenge has been accepted and met by the new ones.
In this issue, a friend of Harley’s has been kidnapped. She’s on a mission to track down who, or what, took Tony, taking her around the boardwalk and even participating in a bit of “You idiots getting drunk and deciding to head-butt each other”. By issue’s end, not all is as it seems, and we see a payoff to this issue’s cover.
Tieri and Miranda have added their own touch to this book. It’s definitely in-line what everything that has come before it, but subtle changes quickly establish this as a new chapter, and not just another page. The book is a little grittier, serious, and sarcastic. That’s in no way criticizing what’s come before, but only defining how it’s different. And it works, perfectly.
I love how Harley tones it down here. She’s a little morose and not as loud and in-your-face as we’ve become accustomed to. It sort of takes me back to when she was mourning from the loss of her boyfriend a few issues back. Here, though, we have a mystery that needs solving, and every move she makes is smart, it makes sense, and leaves room for a few surprises. Well done Frank Tieri!
Inaki Miranda fearlessly steps in to cover the art of this book. Like Tieri’s story beats and dialogue, the art looks different but flows perfectly with what has come before. I distinctly love the eerie settings depicted outside at night. Given the fact that this story flirts with a man-bat around, it only makes sense that the tone is a little dark and creepy. Character designs are flawless, the fighting is fun, and each panel inside Arkham Asylum is gothic. The book looks great.
What a challenge to follow the extraordinary team of Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner. Congratulations Frank Tieri and Inaki Miranda, you’ve accepted that challenge and exceeded expectations. The book is clever, mysterious, dark and a blast. Count me in.