Harley Quinn #0 (DC)

harleyQuinn1

Rating: 4/5 – Playful fun breaking the Fourth Wall and Featuring an Army of Artists.

DC is giving Harley Quinn a shot at her own title here in the New 52.  She had previously appeared in the New 52 Suicide Squad.  This reviewer did try the first two issues of that title due to her appearance but soured on her portrayal in that series.  Here we have the capable (and married) duo of Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti handling the writing chores.  As you can tell from the cover image above, this issue features SEVENTEEN different artists contributing.  Palmiotti and Conner are known for their sense of humor while pushing the boundaries past the recommendation for younger readers.  I can’t imagine she is an unknown quantity to most readers but she is a mayhem loving, somewhat crazy (or totally crazy depending on the book) foil to Batman, sometimes partner to the Joker or Poison Ivy, former psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum who went over the deep end.  While there is gun play and violence, this book is much more light and fun than in her early appearance in the New 52 Suicide Squad and from her recent appearance in Harley Quinn #1 from Villain’s Month (which I also did not much like).  Those are welcome changes for me but your mileage may vary.

The book starts with Harley alone, musing her future fate and wondering what would happen if she had her own comic book and who could possible draw such a book?  This framing device leads to a series of one page scenarios each with a different artist having fun with the character and packed full of inside jokes.  Harley usually comments on the artist, the scenario and why it would likely not work.  I really enjoyed seeing all the different artists apply their signature styles to the character.  Chad Hardin provides the framing pages at the beginning and the end of the book and he will be the continuing artist on the book.  He is an experienced artist with work at both of the big two but nothing iconic leapt to my mind.  The book ending gives us a one page set-up for the series where Harley Quinn is informed she inherited a building from a former client at Arkham.

Warning, the humor breaks the fourth wall, and the Darwyn Cooke page even features the writers, Jimmy and Amanda, taking on Harley and Catwoman.  If that is a problem for you, you may want to wait and start with issue 1.  Generally the artists went with the more modern, sexier Harley than her original appearance in Batman The Animated Series with some notable exceptions, such as Art Baltazar doing his Tiny Titans style treatment.  I am also unsure how successful these pages would be with those unfamiliar with the artists’ styles.  While I am not familiar with all of them, I knew enough of them that I had a big smile on my face for most of the book.  As you can tell, I enjoyed the book, but a fair criticism is that this book doesn’t really give the reader much of a feel for what the series itself is going to be.   I would presume the humorous, breaking the fourth wall tone will continue but that is a presumption on my part.  I will be trying issue 1 but expect it to be different from this issue.

Reviewed by: Andrew Sanford – andrew@comicspectrum.com
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