Review: Harley Quinn #0
Art By: Adlard, Baltazar, Cloonan, Cook, Daniel, Kieth, Timm, Lee, Roux, Moore, Hardin, Hughes, Johnson, Panosian, Roberts, and Simonson
When I saw that DC was going to release a Harley Quinn monthly series I immediately thought to myself “oh brother,” another overly sexualized gimmick character gets her own book for maybe 6 issues just so DC can cash in. Luckily for all of us, this is definitely not the case or doesn’t appear to be with Harley Quinn #0 by co-writers Amanda Connor and Jimmy Palmiotti.
DC seems to have let Connor and Palmiotti go off the reservation with this issue as they let their character loose and allow her to break the fourth wall and be a part of her own comic’s creative staff. Harley is put in the very peculiar position of having to pick her own artist and concept for her comic leading to some very interesting and fun antics featuring the Joker’s favorite dame. With a different artist on each page and a different scenario to match, this book takes us on a wild journey through the mind of a mad women and what would happen if she was given the reins to her own comic.
Being so invested in the comic world and reading all the news and happenings that encompass it I am often not surprised anymore, so when I say this book surprised the hell out of me I truly mean it. If you can only pick up one book this week I recommend Dark Horses’ BuzzKill #3, but if you can pick up two, the second has to be Harley Quinn #0.
This book is a refreshing take on a character I normally find to be a one-note gimmick. Everyone seems to love Harley and this issue only strengthens that argument. Connor and Palmiotti’s story is not only different but it’s hilarious. They understand the character and understand that her life is the joke. I love that they allow her to break the fourth wall as this really lets the concept breath and only adds to the humor. I also enjoy Connor and Palmiotti’s dialogue as they inject themselves into the book offering advice, and insight so Harley can make the right choice when selecting her artist.
One thing that DC has definitely been lacking in the comics department is comedy and crazy. This book may be their turning point as it is chock-full of both. One minute Harley’s destroying Gotham as an over-sized mech, the next she is thrust into the colorful world of Art Baltazar beating up the Teen Titans in their play house. This book is a real who’s who of the DC creative department as great artists like Bruce Timm, Jim Lee, and Adam Hughes all have their moments with the maniacal maiden. They are all worth the price of admission.
This book is extremely well written, funny, and was a blast to read. My only complaint lies in the fact that this story gives us no indication of the actual direction the Harley Quinn monthly series will go. The writers get some fun dialogue with Harley wall, but my fear is that there is no telling if these aspects will continue with the main story line. I certainly hope they do as the dialogue between Harley and the writers was the best part of the book outside the of various artists.
Harley Quinn #0 is a welcome change to the rather mediocre books DC has been releasing lately. Here, Connor and Palmiotti are given almost complete freedom and thus get to poke fun at DC’s recent follies. In fact, these are often the best moments, hearing the writer’s vent their frustrations through Harley is a huge highlight of the book and something I hope continues. I would very much compare this to a Deadpool comic in whom the character is very aware of their position within the comic and universe thus allowing them to comment on everything happening around them outside and within the panels. Initially I thought that this book was a terrible idea. After reading it, I believe that (as long as DC allows the writers to continue on this hilarious, unhinged path) this book may be just the shot of comedic elixir DC’s comics need.