2016 is the year that keeps on taking, and as we lose more cultural icons, it’s important to remember the legacy of these hugely influential figures. Harley Quinn probably isn’t the first person readers would expect to pay tribute to boxer Muhammad Ali, who passed away in June, but that’s exactly what’s going down in this week’s Harley’s Little Black Book #5, which invites the legendary artist Neal Adams to reimagine 1978’s Superman Vs. Muhammad Ali one-shot with Harley stepping in for Ali. Harley’s Little Black Book has been a wild series where anything can happen (the last issue had Harley travelling back to World War II to team up with the DC Bombshells and beat up Hitler), and writers Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti have done exceptional work taking advantage of the freedom afforded by this title to put Harley in consistently surprising situations.
While this series has fallen behind on its bimonthly schedule, one look at Adams’ art for this week’s issue makes it easier to accept the extra two-month delay. This is some of the cleanest work Adams has done for DC in recent years, and the two-page title splash is brimming with energy that pulls readers into the boisterous summer setting. The range and expression of the character work in that splash is also remarkable, and that attention to detail carries throughout this preview. Paul Mounts’ coloring enriches the linework by adding texture and dimension, and while modern coloring techniques can sometimes clash with Adams’ more classic style, Mounts’ delicate work complements it. This is a great creative team to reinterpret Superman Vs. Muhammad Ali with the zaniness of Harley thrown in the mix, and fans of the original story will definitely want to check out this tribute issue.