Harley Quinn: 2022 Annual #1
Written by Stephanie Phillips
Art by Simone Buonfantino, Georges Duarte and David Baldeon
Colors by Romulo Fajardo Jr and Antonio Fabela
Letters by Andworld Design
The Story: Task Force XX faces off against a deadly foe. Harley and Kevin vacation in Las Vegas.
Luke and Task Force XX battle against Element X’s minions but realize they must ultimately stop the actual monster. Luke mentions an unlikely plan that Killer frost ultimately agrees to undertaking. The group then head to Blackgate Penitentiary where they encounter more of Element X’s victims including a deadly acquaintance of Harley Quinn’s. Soon, Harley and Killer Frost confront the monster. Then, a deadly battle causes Killer Frost takes drastic action. Afterwards, Luke makes an apology and has a heartfelt moment with Harley. Finally, Task Force XX gathers for a meal.
What Happens in Vegas…
After her team up with Task Force XX, Harley goes on a vacation with her best friend. After a shopping spree, she and Kevin have a discussion regarding recent events. Later, an unannounced visitor forces Harley into a violent conflict. Finally, Kevin and Harley discover something unusual.
The Story: This annual edition completes the Task Force XX storyline. This action-packed episode wraps up in a satisfying manner that leaves the door open for more collaborations between the disparate group of heroes. I was particularly fascinated by the teamwork displayed by the group, and how in sync with each other’s actions Task Force XX became in such a short time. In my opinion, this group’s creation based on choice and purpose is much stronger than both Task Force X and the Justice League. Their shared goal not only united them, their desire to help humanity lacked the self-righteousness often displayed by those whose only identity is perceived as superhero. These heavily flawed characters chose to help others on their individual journeys of self-discovery. I hope to see more of this group in this and I look forward to the next phase of Harley’s story.
The B Story is a lighthearted, yet action packed adventure filled with both humor and chaos. Harley’s attempt at getting away from it all goes horribly awry in the first installment of this multi-part tale. The cliff hanger ending is interesting and promising.
The Art: The illustration in both stories are done in a modern, realistic styling. In the A Story there is a seriousness to the tone that matches the nature of Luke Fox, while the B Story captures the aura of whimsy that surrounds Harley Quin. Although the color work varies by location and mood, I found the scenes that relied heavily on the use of a blue palette in the A story the most emotionally engaging. I was also drawn to the large amount of well-crafted action sequences. In turn, the B story’s attention to character expression and form did a good job of visualizing the mood of the characters. Overall, I thought the artwork in this edition was captivating and transportive.