Home > Comics, Reviews > Comic Review: Harley Quinn #1

Comic Review: Harley Quinn #1

Harley Quinn #1 Jimmy Palmiotti Amanda Conner New 52 Chad Hardin

Was it all just a dream? Did I just pretend issue #0 of Harley Quinn was fun? Because Harley Quinn #1, the official start of Harleen Quinzel’s new solo series from Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti and Chad Hardin, is anything but fun.

Gone is the self-referential, fourth wall-breaking playfulness we saw in issue #0. It’s replaced instead by a more traditional approach built like every first sitcom episode you’ve ever seen.

You know, where our endearing but hard-luck protagonist moves into an apartment complex with a bunch of down-and-out but charming neighbours who care for her, and maybe she’s got a pet or two in tow to add some cuteness to the whole thing. She needs to find a job, earn money and make it in the big city, and it’s hard, but thankfully she’s got her neighbours who care about her.

That’s the plot. No joke.

The pet(s) in this case are two. The first is an odd little beaver/rat thing that makes sarcastic “I told ya so” comments throughout the story, but who is constantly ignored (or not even understood?) by the human characters. He’s basically like one of those animal appliances in the Flintstones who turns to the camera and says “It’s a living,” at the end of every scene.

The second pet is a wiener dog Harley liberates from a neglectful owner. The whole liberation scene looks right out of Dr. Seuss, as Harley is sitting on a bike hauling her Grinch-sized sack of belongings to her new home. She sets the dog free and brings him on board her sleigh – sorry, motorcycle – and drives off with the owner dangling from a whip behind her.

Yeah.

Anyway, the whole comic reads like a weak attempt at copying the more charming superhero-in-everyday-life type of comic book Marvel has with titles like Hawkeye and Captain Marvel, but it fails miserably at pulling that off.

Harley is creepy weird, especially under Chad Hardin’s pencils. He makes her look like a monkey some of the time, and other times he draws her forehead too big and has her eyebrows stretched up to match. His art looks like it doesn’t know what it wants to be. Should it play up the sex and go cheesecake? Should it make Harley sinister? How about tragic? Grotesque, maybe? Because there’s a little bit of all of that here, and none of it really comes together.

Coles Notes on this story? Harley moves into her new apartment in Coney Island, but needs a job to pay for it. She takes up roller derby, interviews to be a psychiatrist again and dodges a couple hits on her, because someone wants her dead.

Done.

I like Harley Quinn the character. I think she can be a lot of fun, and I’m not looking for a whole lot out of her. A little mayhem, a few one-liners and an “aw, shucks” face at the end is all I ask for.

Harley Quinn #1 doesn’t have the fun, much as it tries to bring it. It all comes across as desperately trying to impress you, the reader, with any of a dozen different ideas crammed into one comic.

Harley Quinn #1 is like a sitcom pilot episode.

And based on the pilot, it’s not worth picking up.

5 out of 10

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