::Camera pans on J.R. wearing a Christmas sweater, standing in front of the fireplace::
You know with Christmas coming up soon, I think we should all wind back and find something Christmas related to relax with; something to get us into the holiday spirit of things.
Well, we got ourselves a very special read to possibly fit our need: It’s the Harley Quinn Holiday Special! Is it good?
Harley Quinn Holiday Special #1 (DC Comics)
There are three stories in this comic, so let’s break them down one at a time:
In this tale, Harley Quinn is forced to give away all of her recently born puppies and kittens (which is quite a lot if you recall just how many animals she rescued back in issue 2). She and Big Tony hand out (or technically sneaked into the people’s Christmas bags) the little animals to tons of different people who are out Christmas shopping. There’s one little pug that Harley loved the most and she wants to see how he’s doing in his new home. However, her visit/break-in takes a rather different turn than she was expecting…
This is the longest story in the book and easily the best of the group. The story is simple, but a lot of fun to read from beginning to end. “Bad Toy” features a ton of great laughs (especially with Tony and Harley giving away the pets) but what caught me most by surprise was that the story had a surprising amount of heart to it. Every scene between Harley and the little girl in the story is just so sweet and touching with how they bond and talk with each other. It’s fantastic characterization for Harley and is a great example of why she is such a well-liked character. The writing here is good as well, having the same pacing and flow as a regular issue of the series while delivering on some great dialogue and moments throughout.
This part of the issue is drawn by Mauricet and his artwork looked really good here overall. It’s rather cartoonish, but it fits the tone of the story perfectly, capturing the humor and the heart of the book really well. The characters were well drawn, the timing of the jokes were handled, the layouts flowed well, and so much more. Just a really dang good looking story I have to say.
Get Your Cheer Outta My Ear:
This tale is much quicker than the first. Harley Quinn is out Christmas shopping when she trips and falls onto the ground. A strange little bug shows up and then crawls directly into her ears, starting to singing and hum Christmas songs nonstop, driving Harley up the wall. That’s basically all this story is, Harley going nuts and trying to figure out a way to make the humming stop. There’s not much to the story sadly, which is a bit disappointing coming off the first story in the book.
The writing on this story is perfectly fine for what it is. The pacing is much faster and things go by rather quickly. The humor is decent, but not as funny as the previous tale. The dialogue is fine, the story flows alright from page to page, but that’s really it. The artwork for this tale is by Brandt Peters and honestly, it’s not really my cup of tea. It’s more creepy than charming and silly most of the time (though its good for eliciting a laugh most of the time), not helping with the tone of the book. The layouts are fine otherwise and the coloring is appealing. Overall, this tale is fine, but nothing all that special.
In the final tale, this time on New Year’s Eve, Harley Quinn is horrified to discover that she has a gray hair! Big Tony jokingly says that she should blame Father Time for her aging and she takes the joke literally. Going through her patients’ files, she finds a man who looks like and fits the bill of Father Time and decides to go give him a hard time for everything he has done! Shenanigans ensue.
As with the previous story, this one is just okay. It’s not bad and there’s some real good/funny moments to the story (the final pages for instance), but it’s not as a good as the first. It doesn’t have enough time to develop the plot, the characterization and interactions between the characters, and even the ending to a certain degree. It’s a bit disappointing on that end. However, the artwork is the true highlight of this story, being drawn by famous artist Darwyn Cooke. His style is very simplistic in some ways, but the way he draws his characters really bring them to life and exhibits such emotion and personality. Along with his well-constructed layouts, ability to sell a lot of the jokes in the book, and the coloring (done by Dave Stewart) Cooke really finishes out the comic on strong note in the art department.
Is It Good?
Harley Quinn Holiday Special #1 is a fun anthology featuring Harley and the misadventures she gets into during the holiday season. While not every story is a total winner, there is still a lot of fun to be had. Plus, there’s even some nice heart to the first story. I do recommend the issue regardless, as the first story and the artwork by Cooke are worth the price of admission.