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Harley Quinn #1 Review

4 min read

Harley Quinn Issue 1 CoverThe perfect setup – with a hitch.

Creative Staff:
Story: Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Conner
Art: Chad Hardin

What They Say:
Harley is set to begin her new life, but she needs a job first. Enter the Coney Island Roller Derby! It’s game time as Harley sets out to destroy her competition–literally.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Harley Quinn gets to kick off its main series here straight out and there’s definitely a lot to enjoy, though I have to admit a touch of sadness as well. With the way the zero issue had fun in showing so many different possibilities, it really feels like the character deserves a weekly digital book like Sensation Comics to explore it and let lots of people have fun with it. That said, letting the team of Plamiotti, Conner and Hardin have fun with it on a monthly basis is no bad thing at all and what we get here is a whole lot of wish fulfillment for our title character, with a little hitch or two along the way. Suffice to say, Harley is the character that has to straddle the line here with her personality and what she does, and the tone is well set.

After getting the news of an old pal at Arkham that passed away and has left her a place in Coney Island, Harley’s all set to go and have fun with it. The trip there is short, but we get the knowledge right off that someone out there is hunting her as there’s a bounty on her head – a given in the world she resides in – but we also see her softer side as she deals with an ass that treats his animal poorly. It’s totally Harley with her personality in how she overdoes in dealing with the guy, but you understand the way she operates based on it. Similarly, seeing how excited she gets at the four story building she now owns, which has businesses on the bottom and eight apartments for tenants on the second floor, it’s like a dream place as she discovers the fourth floor is all hers and easy roof access as well. It’s the kind of ideal superhero setup you’d make for yourself in the role playing games in order to be able to do what you want and have fun with it.

Harley’s also got to deal with the reality a bit in that the cost of such a place, and back taxes as well, means she can’t just live on easy street. Amusingly, she doesn’t opt for big cash grab crime jobs like you would expect, but instead plays dress up to work at an assisted living place nearby to help folks and earn money while also going with “her people” on the weekends by joining a roller derby team. This lets us see the rougher side of it while the Dr. Quinzel side of her shows her involvement with people, therapy and treatment as a possible avenue to work with as well. All of it is wrapped up in some fun conversation with her prized beaver and a mild introduction of a couple of her tenants, notably the short man named Tony that’s helping her acclimate to it all. It’s a decent setup with the bounty elements tossed in from time to time to give it a hook and bind it all together.

In Summary:
In a lot of ways, the opening installment of the series proper can’t live up to the craziness of the zero issue. They’re just set up too differently to do that. With this issue, we’re starting in on the real story, introducing the characters in a cohesive way, the new setting and some of how Harley is going to work while not being an outright villain or jumping into the world of being a hero. She’s got that middle of the road approach that makes sense in her mind and that’s where the fun comes in since she is definitely unbalanced in a lot of ways. The book reads very well with lots of fun little quirks in the dialogue and the artwork, and the artwork itself is solid throughout in how it presents her and this new world for her to reside in. Definitely fun and full of potential.

Grade: B

Age Rating: 16+
Released By: DC Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: December 18th, 2013
MSRP: $2.99

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