Spoiler Warning: It should go without saying that there are spoilers in my reviews, so if you want to experience these stories and their surprises for yourself, maybe skip the rest of this article. Long story short: Harley Quinn #1 has a lot of fun moments, but it gets off to a pretty slow start – I think it’s worth it to pick up, but consider yourself warned!
This week, DC is really hammering home the Suicide Squad thing. In addition to the movie, we’re being treated to a new Suicide Squad comic, Harley Quinn, and Suicide Squad Most Wanted: El Diablo and Boomerang. Plus, at the end of the month, we’ll be getting Suicide Squad: War Crimes Special by John Ostrander, the granddaddy of Suicide Squad.
The second review in my Suicide Squad bundle for today is for Harley Quinn #1 (you can read my review on Suicide Squad: Rebirth #1 here, and my review of Suicide Squad Most Wanted: El Diablo and Boomerang #1 here).
Harley Quinn #1 is co-written by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, with Chad Hardin as illustrator and Alex Sinclair as colorist. I have zero complaints with Hardin’s art, or Sinclair’s colors. The art style is suitably cartoonish, fitting in with Harley Quinn’s personality and the usual tone of her adventures. Hardin makes a great use of exaggerated facial expressions for Harley and Red Tool, who wears a Deadpool-esque mask complete with expressive eyes.
Conner and Palmiotti get off to a slow start, with a bit of dialogue between Harley and Poison Ivy, then some expositional flashbacks, and then a multi-page introduction of Harley’s freakshow/burlesque crew. Honestly, it takes a full eight pages before anything of true interest happens, and while I can totally get behind slow-paced comics, this is one instance where it’s not done particularly well.
However, once things actually get going, Conner and Palmiotti treat us to a teenage alien runaway who shapeshifts into a cow and gets processed into hot dogs, leading to a crowd of hot dog-lovers becoming infected with something akin to a zombie virus. For the record, the hot dog-eating montage is both amusing and gratuitous, with everyone from construction workers to super-models to animals wolfing down hot dogs. The action scene where Harley and her friends fight off the zombie horde is fast-paced and well-illustrated, and the issue ends with Harley Quinn chopping off Red Tool’s arm, then loading him up into a catapult in order to get him to the hospital.
All in all, the comic is perhaps everything you might expect from a Harley Quinn title, and aside from the slow start, I ended up enjoying Harley Quinn #1. If you’re a fan of off-beat comics, or Harley herself, you should definitely give this book a try!