Sleek and scary is the order of the day in Future State: Harley Quinn #2, a twisty conclusion to Harley and Jonathan Crane's hunt for Black Mask that places the Scarecrow firmly in the spotlight.
Written by Stephanie Phillips
Art by Simone DiMeo, Toni Infante, and Tamra Bonvillain
Lettering by Troy Peteri
Published by DC
'Rama Rating: 8 out of 10
Simone DiMeo and Toni Infante's incredibly thin and expressive linework, combined with Bonvillain's intense purples and greens, make for a gorgeous looking book. Bonvillain goes crazy with Future State's neon aesthetic, casting the entire issue in a hazy glow for a real 'strip club in the year 3000' vibe.
Pages are shattered into pieces by DiMeo and Infante's angular panel layouts, reflecting the disorder within. Design-wise, Black Mask and Scarecrow look truly fearsome, although Harley's hairstyle veers a little too close to Punchline's. Even so, there's a real Tank Girl vibe to Harley here that suits her baseball bat-happy personality.
DiMeo and Infante use perspective to great effect – we only see Black Mask from below, an intimidating figure who stares down through the panel with glowing red eyes.
Troy Peteri's individualized approach to lettering gives a little extra character to the three main players here. He even switches from a clear and ordered font to a shaky and uneven style to mark Crane’s transition from detective to super-villain.
Stephanie Phillips’ script lays the jokes on thick, and while they don't always land, there's a few chuckles to be had. Her dialogue is memorable and the whole issue is tightly plotted with a memorable ending. Phillips does some interesting things with Crane’s inner turmoil, juxtaposing the fears of the Magistrate, Harley and Black Mask to push him back into his scaremongering alter-ego.
Fluid and confident, Future State: Harley Quinn #2 is an appropriately chaotic climax for this unlikely team-up of dastardly doctors.
Stephanie Phillips will continue her Harley Quinn run with a relaunched Harley Quinn ongoing title launching this March.