Written by Frank Tieri
Illustrated by Inaka Miranda
Published by DC Comics
Frank Tieri’s wild ride into a Mad Max future and more than a hat tip to a comic property across the street with Old Lady Harley continues with issue #2 (of 5). The cover from longtime Harley artist Amanda Connor reveals what lies within “Anarchy in Arkham”.
At the end of last issue, Harley and her stalker Red Tool arrive at The Batcave in a quest for Mr. J.
Since this is the future, they are confronted by a Batman Beyond, but it appears to be a hologram.
In this timeline Bruce, is still in charge of the Bat-narrative, but is confined to a cybernetic wheelchair that lets him control an army of Batmen robots in various shapes and sizes, after merging himself with the Batcomputer.
Also in this timeline, Harley reveals she was once married to Dick Grayson (and racked up a bunch of other ex-husbands as we find out later) and now Dick’s Nightwing costume is on display under glass because he was killed. In despair, Cyborg helps Bruce become one with the machine to purify his flaws and to not put partners in harm’s way.
This extreme Batman has eradicated crime in Gotham, but at what cost?
The search for Joker leads Harley and Red Tool to Arkham, which by this time is rebranded as “Home for Criminally Insane Retirees”. A brood at the hospital includes Egghead, Clayface, Riddler, Zsasz, Mr. Freeze and many more, but definitely senile and decrepit versions of our favorite rogues.
The scene opening on the rec room reads like classic Mad Magazine, with Riddler wandering around with no pants on and Golden Girls on the telly. Even King Tut is senile and pantless.
Catwoman is on some form of an assisted scooting device and is hard of hearing (when it suits her). Killer Croc, husband of the elderly Catwoman, clues Harley into her next key to her quest of the mystery of Mr. J, and that’s Lobo.
For some strange (but great) reason, Star Trek transporter tech exists in Arkham, so Egghead advances the team to the next location but when they arrive they aren’t where they are supposed to be. Tune in next time to see where this crazy takes us!
Frank Tieri is writing a weird and wonderful future DC tale that’s a fully comedic Elseworlds vision and the trend to make Harley the Deadpool of the DC Universe is a trend that I can fully support. Sure, her and Wade don’t have that much in common on the surface, but I will take an in-universe parody with major characters any day. This may be a limited series but I can see Frank or another writer going back to the well for another round after this tale is told. I mean, take a look at Old Man properties over at Marvel. Beat a concept into the ground, much?
Great art again this issue by Inaka Miranda, a name I’m not familiar with before this book. I mentioned the Mad Magazine vibe before, I think that’s due to the great cartooning and deadpan expressions on the rogues playing dominoes, as much as it is the dialogue.
Next up is the hunt for Lobo and Joker (Joker is featured prominently in flashbacks this issue for fans of the Clown Prince). Get caught up now before issue #3 comes out! Quit skipping Harley books because you didn’t like Suicide Squad or the title of the new Birds of Prey movie! Get over it!