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Batman takes Harley’s baseball bat away from her in her trashed apartment, as she explains her plans, in Harley Quinn #1, DC Comics (2021). Image: Sephanie Phillips, Riley Rossmo/DC Comics

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Batman’s newest sidekick is ... Harley Quinn?

He’s paying her in novelty toasters

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Susana Polo is an entertainment editor at Polygon, specializing in pop culture and genre fare, with a primary expertise in comic books. Previously, she founded The Mary Sue.

After years away, Harley Quinn is back in Gotham City, for her newly renumbered Harley Quinn solo book. What to do now that she’s left her friends behind and even gotten free of the Suicide Squad?

The cheerful maven of mayhem has put two impossible tasks on her To Do list. First, she’ll make true amends for everything she did to the citizens of Gotham as the Joker’s gal. And after some heated debate with Batman, he’s left her in charge of finding and, if possible, rehabilitating all the people who took up the Joker’s “cause” during the events of the Joker War arc. After all, she’s a psychiatrist and she knows exactly what it’s like “to be manipulated by a mass-murderin’ %#!@$#.”

What else is happening in the pages of our favorite comics? We’ll tell you. Welcome to Monday Funnies, Polygon’s weekly list of the books that our comics editor enjoyed this past week. It’s part society pages of superhero lives, part reading recommendations, part “look at this cool art.” There may be some spoilers. There may not be enough context. But there will be great comics. (And if you missed the last edition, read this.)

Harley Quinn #1

Harley muses on all the bad things about Gotham City as she climbs in the window to her messy apartment. “Gotham sure does have its charms,” she thinks as she picks up the surprise toaster left on the floor, with a bat-symbol on the side of it in Harley Quinn #1, DC Comics (2021). Image: Sephanie Phillips, Riley Rossmo/DC Comics

Because Harley is smart, she grilled Batman about a stipend for her work — which would go a long way towards rehabbing her trashed apartment. And that probably would have worked, if Batman wasn’t himself on a stipend at the moment. But he did manage to get her the bat-toaster she asked for, and I think that’s sweet.

Alien #1

A writhing nest of xenomorph aliens, overseen by a darkly feminine figure in Alien #1, Marvel Comics (2021). Image: Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Salvador Larroca/Marvel Comics

With Alien #1, facehugger fans are back in business. We’ve a longer review right here, but I’ll say that Salvador Larroca can definitely draw an unsettling xenomorph den.

Rain Like Hammers #3

“I need something stronger than tea,” moans a woman. “Toot,” says her strange tea servant from its tea spout. “Double toot.” It lifts a hollow wig-like structure on its head revealing a bottle labeled XXX. The bottle’s spout says “Secret toot.” From Rain Like Hammers #3, Image Comics (2021). Image: Brandon Graham/Image Comics

Rain Like Hammers! It’s a charmingly inventive sci-fi comic of which I have loved every issue. Picture me, walking around my apartment all week, gently whispering “secret toot.”

Batman/Superman #16

Two strips of panels decorated like rolls of films stock spool horizontally across the top and bottom of a double page spread. The top tells the story of Superman meeting Martha Wayne and her useless adult son Bruce, the bottom shows Batman and Robin exploring a room full of scientific curiosities, including a rocketship containing an infant’s skeleton in Batman/Superman #16, DC Comics (2021). Image: Gene Luen Yang, Ivan Reis/DC Comics

After Future State, almost all of DC’s books are kicking off with new creative teams or arcs this month, and Gene Luen Yang and Ivan Reis’ first issue of Batman/Superman is a really fun visual experiment in telling two stories simultaneously, as you slowly realize that neither of the threads are taking place in the universe you think they are.

Black Panther #24

Black superheroes of the Marvel universe — Misty Knight, War Machine, Luke Cate, Patriot, the Falcon, Iron Heart, Storm, Spider-Man, and more — battle the forces of Emperor N’Jadaka in Wakanda in Black Panther #24, Marvel Comics (2021). Image: Ta-Nehisi Coates, Daniel Acuña/Marvel Comics

Ta-Nehisi Coats and Daniel Acuña’s penultimate issue of Black Panther keeps it bombastic and character focused at the same time, with fantastic battle between the forces of Emperor N’Jadaka and every Black superhero in the Marvel Universe, with Wakanda’s armies backing them up.

Detective Comics #1034

Batman works on his “series of micro-Batcaves placed throughout the city’s underground,” digging shirtless in a sewer, in Detective Comics #1034, DC Comics (2021). Image: Mariko Tamaki, Dan Mora/DC Comics

Did I mention that Batman is broke and had to move out of Wayne Manor and the Batcave? His solution: Many tiny Batcaves. The new problem: He has to dig them himself in the sewer. The upside: Dan Mora drawing lots of shirtless Batman.

Miles Morales: Spider-Man #24

Miles Morales/Spider-Man and Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel play basketball. “You got two points by cheating. But if you want to come dirty,” Miles says before turning invisible to dunk a basket, “Brooklyn can deal dirt all day!” in Miles Morales: Spider-Man #24, Marvel Comics (2021). Image: Saladin Ahmed, Carmen Carnero/Marvel Comics

Miles and Kamala played one-on-one this week! With powers! It was cute, that’s all I have to say.


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