Review #2: Harley Quinn #0
Harley Quinn has always been a fan favorite and finally has her own monthly ongoing series in the New 52. Harley Quinn #0, written by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, who approach this issue having Harley imagine what it would be like to have her own comic book and who might draw it. It quickly becomes a fourth wall breaking back and forth between Harley and seventeen artists who each draw a single page of Harley in different scenarios and situations based on each artist's well-known styles. As first issues go, it develops no long-term plot line, and only focuses on the fun, chaos and craziness Harley’s character embodies. It’s a chance for Conner and Palmiotti to go off script, have fun and rattle off inside jokes with some of the best known and up and coming artists in the industry.
While I was expecting something a little more serious and dark for Harley, this was ultimately a fun, entertaining issue. I fully expect issue #1 to be the true beginning of her first story arc, but this was a book that takes full advantage of the character and the medium. The art was amazing and the inside industry jokes were spot-on as well. While it can be disconcerting to have a new artist on each page, much like Justice League of America #23.3 (Dial E) during villain’s month, Harley Quinn was a perfect match for such a stunt. It’s seems as though all the artists who participated thoroughly enjoyed being involved and had a good sense of humor to poke fun at themselves; some about their style, the money they make or their ability to get a monthly book out on time, just to name a few. It’s all very tongue-in-cheek and reminds readers of the kind of upbeat fun that comics can provide.
Needless to say I enjoyed Harley Quinn #0 thoroughly and carefully examined each artists work several times over. It was great to see someone like Bruce Timm treat us to his original animated series version of Harley and his ability to joke about the power he wields within the DC offices. To see such artists as Mike Adlard, Adam Hughes, Art Baltazar, Tradd Moore, Darwyn Cooke and Walter Simonson in a single book is a real treat and makes it so enjoyable. Amanda Conner is the standout here but Chad Hardin, who finishes out the final pages of issue #0, will be the regular artist, and based on his work here, it will be something to look forward to starting in issue #1.
Even though this issue doesn’t actually kick off Harley’s first story arc, it is a fun read. The art is tremendous and the fourth wall aspect is funny and entertaining at the expense of all the artists involved, and that’s refreshing to see. This isn’t a necessity to pick up, but it’s worth getting simply for the art alone, and even though it was unexpected it still captures Harley’s appeal to fans. This showcases great talent with a great character and promises a series readers are sure to love.