Review: Harley Quinn #0
I’ll begin by saying that I have been a Harley Quinn fanatic since I was a little girl and she debuted on Batman: The Animated Series. I have always found her to be an interesting character when written properly. Harley is also a great character because of her humor. Some call her the “female Joker” but I feel he’s much more serious and sadistic than her. Harley has a jester quality to her that I feel the Joker hasn’t had in a long time. She reminds me more of the Cesar Romero Joker with some of that violence mixed in for good measure. Let’s not forget that her name is a spin off of Harlequin, which is a type of clown/jester.
Last week I reviewed the Injustice Gods Among Us Annual and declared that to be the most fun I had with a comic this year but I must now retract that statement and declare this to be the most fun I’ve had with a comic all year. This comic was total madness as any Harley Quinn comic SHOULD be. With a huge amount of talent behind this #0 issue, it was no shock to me that it turned out so well.
The issue is basically a lot of silly scenarios involving Harley Quinn. The entire comic is Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti talking to Harley Quinn. She starts talking to her pet beaver (?) about being bored but loving distractions because if she didn’t have them she “would be instigating mayhem everywhere”. She comments that she’d love to have her own comic and then Connor and Palmiotti begin talking to her about getting her artists and where would her story even take place. From here on each page is Harley in another scenario breaking the fourth wall about all the different artwork and acting completely insane in every scenario.
The comic features SEVENTEEN different artists all lending their unique talents to draw a quick little story for Harley. I mean, she has to figure out which artist is worth drawing her so it makes sense for there to be 17 different people in this one comic. There really is no bad art here. Everyone does a fantastic job. My personal favorites were the pages by Bruce Timm, Darwyn Cooke and the contest winner Jeremy Roberts. Jeremy Roberts won a talent search and his page was really well done. His Harley is beautiful. Some artists are terrible with faces, even the most famous, but he drew a very pretty Harley Quinn and drew her in space. Yes, space. You automatically get extra points for that. Even the cover the very well done. Her shoulder has 5150 printed on it. If you weren’t aware, that’s the code for a psychiatric hold in some states.
This comic broke the fourth wall a lot (the character talking to the audience or people in “real life”) but it worked. She wasn’t really speaking to the reader the whole time. She was mostly talking to Conner and Palmiotti and a lot of the time it wasn’t even nice conversation. There were a couple of brilliant instances where Connor poked fun at DC. One instance was the page Harley was working at an office. She says “Nothing more exciting than being the hot secretary in an office pool of advertising geeks. How is this any different from the DC offices?”. In the Jim Lee page, he may have drawn the art but this was a big jab at him. All in good fun of course. No ill will meant here. Not only does Harley make fun of Batman’s whole “I’m Batman” thing but Connor and Palmiotti comment that the “sandbags are filled with Jim Lee’s quarterly royalty payments. They should keep Batman down longer this time.” That bit made me chuckle out loud.
Despite all this fun and humor, it is very possible that some people will absolutely hate this. The breaking of the fourth wall may not be for everyone and I can see why. Deadpool has done it so much that some people are sick of it and see it as cheap laughs. I don’t see it that way at all but I can see how one would dislike it. The other issue here is that none of this has anything to do with the main narrative of the Harley Quinn series. That doesn’t happen until the last 3 pages and all that does is set up to issue #1. I figured that would happen only because this is an issue #0. I assumed that not much would happen with the series narrative as a whole but I was a bit shocked by how little there really was.
For Harley Quinn fans, this is definitely up your alley and you are going to want to pick this up. The bitter taste from what has been done to her thus far in the New 52 was washed away. She doesn’t look like old Harley Quinn but she definitely SOUNDS like the old Harley.
Oh and by the way, I still don’t like what she’s wearing. Hopefully that’ll change in time.