Harley Quinn Volume 1 Hot in the City

Hello, I’m a unicorn, and I’m still here. I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I was working on a super secret project that I’ll probably be shamelessly shilling in the next few months. Speaking of shameless, let’s talk DC comics and why context is very important. A little over a year ago, I wrote a sarcastic congratulatory letter to DC for, in the span of a week, vetoing Batwoman’s marriage, causing the creative team to leave the comic, publishing a Villain’s Month issue where Harley Quinn commits an act of terror by giving children exploding video games on 9/11 and holding a contest for new artists where they have to draw a cartoonish Harley Quinn, naked in a bath tub, attempting suicide. Classy! All the atrocious things they did to Harley last year really put me off from this book. I’m sorry, but I have trouble sympathizing with a mass child murderer. Seriously DC, what was up with that? Is that a good way to promote a “chaotic and unabashedly fun” book?* There is a way to make anti heroes like Harley commit terrible acts and still be sympathetic. Randomly killing children is not one of those ways. When you have a character do something that horrible, there is no going back. Hey, do you remember how brutal Jason Todd’s death was and how the Joker had crossed the line? This is the line that Harley crossed. When you want to make a murderous anti hero sympathetic, you have to make the person that they’re killing even bigger monsters than themselves. You have to convince the reader that the enemy got what they deserved. Harley will always be the mass murderer of innocent children.

On a lighter(ish) note, what was up with that contest? In context, it was a decent joke, but what were they thinking?

Executive #1: Hey, we need a contest to find new artists.

Executive #2: How about we have them draw Harley Quinn attempting suicide? Get it? Because she was in Suicide Squad.

Executive #1: Genius! I cannot think of  a way that could possibly go wrong!

That’s the only possible explanation that makes sense. Honestly, with all those atrocities, I felt kind of dirty reading this. It’s a shame too, because, once I picked up the book, it was pretty good. It’s tons of  fun, with great artwork, and genuinely funny moments. In this volume, Harley Quinn is basically the female Deadpool, minus the fourth wall breaking. Harley is put into a ton of really zany situations such as, in no particular order, living in a literal freakshow, teaming up with an old superhero to fight geriatric supervillains, accidentally eating one of Poison Ivy’s love berries, getting chased all around Coney Island by a bunch of assassins after the bounty on her head, freeing all the animals in a shelter, and building a poop catapult. It’s really fun stuff and the artwork is gorgeous. My biggest problem with it, aside from everything I’ve just ranted about, is, in the scheme of things, a minor nitpick. I just do not care for her New 52 design. For comparison, here’s the old one:

Harley-quinn-female-villians-2439836-259-337

 

And here’s the new one:

new 52

 

I just don’t really care for her new design. If they were trying to ramp up the sexy, then it worked, but that’s really the only way it works. I don’t know. It just doesn’t do anything for me. The old design was fine. Sure, it didn’t show much skin, but, in my humble opinion, it’s still pretty sexy. Other than that, I like the new Harley. She’s no longer a doormat that’s constantly beaten by the Joker.She’s gotten a boost in self confidence and has become a lot funnier and caring, but, after she killed so many people, I struggle to sympathize with her.

Overall, I have mixed feelings about this one. Objectively speaking, the book is fantastic. It has great artwork, great action and a goofy plot. It’s funny, but, except for maybe one story, never goes too far, unlike that issue that shall not be named. I would say check it out, because, yes, we need more zany comedic characters like Harley, especially females. My problems with it are just personal issues. If I didn’t know about what she did, I would have loved this series, but I do. From what I’ve seen, these actions are never mentioned again. They made a needlessly dark story out of a light and fun character that pretty much ruined her for me. My advice would be to check it out and just pretend that Villain’s Month debacle never happened. It’s still a really good series.

*From IGN and the front cover of the book.

(Images own by DC Comics)

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Harley Quinn Volume 1 Hot in the City

  1. Ukerupp

    This is Alex from Nothing But Comics! I’ve been reading through a bunch of your articles. Please e-mail me at Ukerupp@gmail.com if you are interesting in perhaps doing some writing for NBC! Hope to hear from you soon.

  2. Pingback: Of Harley Quinn, Comedy, and Catharsis | Nothing But Comics

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