I admit, I don’t really follow the greater DCU. A large part of this is due to economics. I actually need this because I am about to start a credential program and I have to be choo$ey about what I buy.
Harley Quinn will not burn a hole in your wallet. The zany and colorful minx returns with a relaunch and it looks like she is one of the few who didn’t have her origin entirely retconned. Actually, she sort of did and didn’t but it isn’t overwhelming. Connor and Palmiotti return to the Wacky Wench. The first few pages, roughly about a third of the book is dedicated to keeping any new readers up to speed with her history. I think this is a great idea considering that this is the same week that Suicide Squad is out. I anticipate some new Harley fans. If you are reading this, welcome aboard!!
Anywho, the first third of Harley #1 is about revisiting her origins and serves as a quick reference guide to new readers. What I also noticed was how the team reinvented Harley’s origin. It isn’t drastic enough that it will cause fans to complain and rant away. In fact, it actually incorporates elements from Mad Love and the Suicide Squad origin from 2011. I thought this was an interesting twist. In Mad Love (1994), Harley falls in love with Joker but she sets out to create her own character which she molds after her beau. In Suicide Squad (2011), Joker was primarily responsible for her change and he did this by pushing her into a vat of chemicals. In this origin, she is a doctor who creates an unorthodox method of trying to understand the criminal mind. It was an origin that only the warden knew about. Mister J sees through her and the rest is history.
I thought this change was intriguing for many reasons. For one, in Mad Love, Joker may have inspired her but it was Harley who set out and created her own character. Her Nu-52 origin was different in that Joker was largely responsible for her change. He was the one that pushed her into the vat of chemicals. This third origin combines the two into a cohesive medium and at the time of the writing, I am sure I will see something like this when I see SS tomorrow night.
We also see the return of many of Harley’s team, Big Tony, the Gang of Harleys. her pets, Ivy. We also see the return of zany adventures. This time we see Harley in a Zombie Apocalypse. I don’t watch The Walking Dead an and I am not really a fan of this overused trope. Basically, an alien life form crashes into a farm in Oklahoma and hides amongst the cattle. Little does he know that it is a slaughterhouse and his innards are chopped up, ground up and sold to market. He is devoured by everyone and anything and in turn, they become zombies. This fantastical element works well in Harley’s world. Grim and gritty are not part of her vocabulary.
Chad Hardin’s art perfectly compliments the vision that Connor and Palmiotti want to convey. It is out of this world, colorful, and goofy. It is not meant to be taken seriously. I like to describe this Harley as ‘bubbly’ with a knife. I think the art reflects this. What I mean to say is that Harley does not look like a ripped porn actress the way some artist draw female characters. I am not naming names but I am sure some people here have good ideas. When I say bubbly, I see the circular shapes that they make before fleshing out the character. This enhances the text and makes the characters feel more ’rounded’ even when the text is over the top. Yes, the book does have fantastical elements but Hardin’s artwork has me slow done to almost savor the text even though my brain is saying ‘They are fighting Zombies! There is a Poop Joke! Stop analyzing!’
The artist, Chad Hardin does a good job of ALMOST following the artistic style that Amanda Conner had in the first volume but he is distinctive enough that it wouldn’t be fair to call him a copy. He does a great job of drawing female characters. Heck, everyone looks good!
I plan to stick around.