Harley Quinn is getting a new team (and so is Deadpool what gives?) and with it comes flashy costumes and baseball bats. As the leader Harley needs to whip them into shape, but what if she gets kidnapped in the first issue? Or more importantly, is it good?
Harley Quinn and Her Gang Of Harleys #1 (DC Comics)
According to our preview, the DC Comics solicit reads thusly:
Straight from the pages of HARLEY QUINN comes the story of her strange new army of assistants, the Gang of Harleys! In this new miniseries, they’ve been on the job for just a few months, and the Gang is ready to stand up and show what they can do without Harley…and they just might have to, because Harley’s been kidnapped! The Gang’s homes, their loved ones—they’re all in danger from a strange new villain with a very personal grudge against Harley!
Why does this book matter?
Harley Quinn has been one of those comics that can be hit or miss, especially for me, but when it hits it hits right on the mark. Jimmy Palmiotti has been involved with the Harley character for quite some time (I loved the most recent, Harley Quinn #26), and he’s on writing duties too. Frank Tieri also writes this issue so you know the dialogue will be spot on and artist Mauricet continues to do cool things with the character too.
To be in the Harleys you only need a bat and a brightly colored spandex costume. Preferably different than the rest!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This comic opens very unconventionally with an encyclopedia style explanation of each member of the Harleys which instantly intrigued me. In the first two pages there was more writing than in most whole issues and while it goes into great detail, breaking the rule of showing and not telling, it instantly makes you interested in the characters. It then cuts to later with a full page spread, then back in time. The unconventional nature makes for a compelling opening and it makes the reading fun.
The issue then cuts to the Harleys taking on a hipster gang with so-so-to-good jokes thrown in for good measure. There’s a wide variety of jokes flying around from bathroom humor to a bit more sophisticated ones. Overall this scene is dialogue heavy, but does a good job characterizing the new Harley characters and making the gang feel relevant.
Eventually the issue delivers its main conflict, which is dropped on page 3 but then not seen till later. It allows for some good sight gags—we get to see the Harleys look around town in all their favorite haunts and this allows for some characterization, but also some gags. Mauricet draws these scenes very well with a cinematic widescreen panel for each location. There’s a lot going on in each panel and they are divided down the middle by a well detailed motivator (trying not to spoil it!). Harley looks great as always and so do her new team members.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Aside from the opening and the searching sequence the rest of this issue feels boring. It’s basically dragging its feet until the big cliffhanger reveal at the end and seems to be biding its time until the next issue to reveal anything else. Part of the problem is Harley exits the issue during these scenes, effectively forcing the new characters we barely know to carry it along. Since we don’t know them well or care about them at all yet the emotional tether is gone. There also seems to be a solid four pages in the last half of the issue that could have easily been done in one. Again, the issue is moving along nicely and then slaps you in the face with circular storytelling.
That dude is huge!
Is It Good?
A fantastic start to a series that introduces the Harleys well. It loses its purpose halfway through, but regains it with a shocking cliffhanger!