Crime Syndicate’s version of Harley Quinn rocks her signature hammer, this one whose origin and name pay tribute to the famous Jack Kirby!
Warning! Spoilers for Crime Syndicate #5 below!
Harley Quinn‘s latest weapon is a fitting tribute to comics legend Jack Kirby and one of his most famous creations. Known for his Marvel Comics work, Kirby eventually transitioned to DC Comics working on his Fourth World series that introduced the New Gods. Other DC titles of his include The Demon, Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth, and others, many which are still part of the mainstream DC universe today. In the inverted Earth-3, home to the duplicitous Crime Syndicate, their version of Harley Quinn battles the evil superheroes with a new version of her signature giant hammer, one named after the King himself.
In the past, the Crime Syndicate has been portrayed as an evil Justice League from a world that is a mirror opposite of the real world, i.e. one where President John Wilkes Booth was famously murdered by the traitorous actor Abraham Lincoln. Originally from Earth-2, the Crime Syndicate and other characters from its world have made repeated appearances in the mainstream DC universe, either seeking a fight or help battling the overwhelming evil that runs rampant. The repeated changes to the Multiverse are reflected by numerous different versions of the Crime Syndicate, the most recent residing on the world known as Earth-3 following the events of Dark Nights: Death Metal. The current Crime Syndicate forms after coming together to repel a planet-wide invasion from Starro the Conqueror. Their everyday actions as well as their concern about the threat of the emerging metahumans in relation to their hold over the world prompts a response from their enemies, the Legion of Justice, of which Harley is a member.
In Crime Syndicate #5 by Andy Schmidt, Kieran McKeown, Dexter Vines, Steve Oliff, and Rob Leigh, this inverted version of the Legion of Doom tries to spring a trap for Johnny Quick and Atomica, their world’s version of the Flash and the Atom, respectively. Known as the Red Hood in this reality, Dr. Harleen Quinzel is as enthusiastic as ever to smack anyone who tries to escape the only exit, which she is guarding. When the Legion loses the element of surprise, Johnny Quick stays true to his character and runs away until his face meets Quinn’s “Kirby, my dopest of New God hammers.”
Although it wasn’t considered successful at the time, Kirby’s Fourth World and its New Gods became one of his famous and celebrated projects, praised for its ahead of its time storytelling and irreplaceable style. The battles of New Genesis and Apokolips continue to rage today with Earth and its heroes often caught in the middle, with many characters who still resemble how Kirby originally portrayed them. Although Harley Quinn goes by Red Hood in this story, the issue’s creators take the opportunity to use her to make a small nod to the famous creator. They also prove a point that, although she might have a different mask and hairdo, Harley is still always ready to smack someone, superhero or supervillain, in the face with an oversized hammer.
Although Red Hood’s intervention isn’t enough to permanently stop Johnny Quick, one can hope Crime Syndicate‘s sales guarantee an expansion of characters in this new version of a familiar world. It’d be interesting to see how this version of Harley Quinn became the Red Hood, lost her heroic version of the Joker (the Jester), or how she acquired Kirby in the first place. While both DC and Marvel make sure to honor Jack Kirby and his contributions to comics overall, sometimes it’s those little tributes which mean just as much, even in the Crime Syndicate‘s world.
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