Putting aside all the controversy that proceeded this title Amanda Conner Jimmy Palomotti new artist Chad Hardin and Stephanie Roux are making a quality laugh worthy dark minded and light hearted book. This collections is two hundred twenty five pages of beautiful detailed and colorfully writes comedic superhero satire tha stands well alongside titles like the old Giffen and Bisley Lobo and More recent Deadpool titles. Palomotti and Conner succeed in taking the spirit of Harley Quinn created for the animated Batman series by Bruce Timm and fitting her into the new 52 in a way that works for me. Without the imposition of cartoon physics this leads to a title that tends towards lots of blood and black humor (again see comparisons above) the book tends towards lots of innuendo, implied um..situations, breaking down of the fourth wall as the authors become part of the story. Harley Quinn is possible not a comic for everyone with its sarcastic national lampoonish nature but in a place as grim as the new 52 a little levity is a great thing as is this book.
Harly Quinn as people who recall the old Batman tv animation was created to be the partner and foil for the Joker and made a slow successful transition to part of continuity through first the Batman Adventures title and her pairing with Poison Ivy in Gotham Sirens. In the New 52 she has been one of the members of the Suicide Squad separated for her Mr. J. And I can say I have sadly no experience with that title. ( I was a fan of the original Suicide Squad by the great John Ostrander and well nothing has ever measured up to the series to my memory but ta is not a review of S.S. So...). As I said above this title and its writers deftly captured the demented yet innocent nature of Ms Quinzel; I. The course of this collection she becomes the target of assassins looking to collect on a contract, she becomes the savior of animals destined for the needle, takes possession of a building ala Fraction's Hawkeye title becoming their landlord/neighbor/protector. Conner and Palomotti show her actuall responsible side in her search for gainful employment and her doctorish side in the patients the come into her care to balance all the casual mahem and violence the is the rest of her life. They also play with the relationship she has with Posion Ivy and develope an extended cast through the freakshow (a literal one that inhabit the building now hers) and the aforementioned patients. For a comedic title the writers do touch on some very real issues and do so with some care even if they take things to the edge of good taste.
In terms of art this is one of the nicer looking books out there between the clean and clear pencils and the amazing pallet of colors used by Alex Sinclair. The the first issue, which I cannot recall if it was a zero issue or not, we got treated to a page a piece of art from so many great artists I am sorry now that I passed it up when I could have gotten it and the clear and loving treatment given the rest of the issues by the team of Chad Hardin and Stephanie Roux make me glad I now have the chance to get them in this volume. Though not the most PC of titles art wise given the T and A quotient the exploitation of the human form is pretty even handed between cheesecake and beefcake here so if it would bug you either way this may not be a title for you. The violence in this book may be written as tongue in cheek but the art tends towards realism with the bodies much like most of the police procedurals on tv and there is even a ________in refrigerators moment. The really nice Easter egg included in this volume are reproductions of the roughs pencils and inks of some of the pages and seeing these makes the collection of more interest to me as I want to draw myself and that kind of thing is invaluable insight. Chad and Stephanie also put a great deal of details into their work, the backgrounds are particularly rich and the attention to detail and continuity was particularly good because when they broke out of it for comedic effect it was pretty obvious. Even is this title was not as well written as it is the character and skill of the art alone would make it worth a look.
Harly Quinnis a book that is a lot of fun and its far enough outside the regular continuity at lest in this initial volume that its solid enough a book to stand on its own. It takes a character that has not had her own title in the past and allows her to be the focus on her own. Jimmy and Amanda have given her her own place and background cast and managed to only reference the Bat and Mr. J sparingly which I think is a great plus. She now has responcibilites again having become a therapist and a landlord and though this is a title mainly played for laughs and over the top violence its adding to her overall story too. Its a book that actually makes me smile and laugh and that something good to find even it is doing it sometimes through bad jokes and innuendo. For an author known mainly for a couple of western comics and another known mainly as a kinda cheesecake artist they are turning out some great fun here and I'm sorry I was paying more attention to the controversy then to the product when it started. Recommended for more then just the obvious laughs and pretty art.
The thing that manages to overcome the graphic violence and sexually exploitive art (pretty though it is) is the truly charming writing that Palomotti and Conner do that convinced me that Ms Quinn has an childlike innocence at heart despite her violent tendencies. Like Deadpool and the original Lobo title this one relays on cartoon physics at time but given its a superhero comic were almost there to being with... hmmm mayhaps there could be Captain Carrot appearance after the Power Girl one that is just about to happen....
Recommended out Oct 28 2014