Harley Quinn #1
Ahem! You better read this closely, ’cause we’ve got a red-hot relaunch on our hands here—and I should know! Harley Quinn here to let everyone know that I got a brand-new monthly series here with a brand-new status quo. I’m coming back to Gotham City to make up for the sins of my past and help the city recover from “The Joker War!” But there’s no welcoming committee waiting for me, your favorite Maid of Mischief! And between you and me, some real creeps are working to keep the city broken. We can’t let that happen, can we? Rising-star writer Stephanie Phillips, my new partner in crime, takes me into a bold new era with her partner in artistic crime Riley Rossmo, who I gotta say designed a real nice new costume for me. You’re not gonna wanna miss this one, folks!
Here is the part where I preface my involvement in this project: I am not a Harley Quinn fan. I never really have been, through no fault of any particular iteration or what have you. She was just not a character that appealed to me. That being said, if you announce Stephanie Phillips and Riley Rossmo teaming up on a project, I’m certainly going to read the first issue at least. So that’s where we stand and I have no regrets whatsoever.
We often talk about how comics are truly a collaborative effort and that each creator at large is equally crucial to the success of the book but rarely do I mean as deeply as I do for this book. There is an almost energizing tension between Rossmo and Phillips at work here as Phillips leans heavy into the more emotional trauma of Harley and her redemption journey she is on while Rossmo brings a zany, wacky, over-the-top physical manifestation of the character. In this differentiation between the physical and the emotional, Plascencia comes in with the colors and creates another level of depth by portraying the bright colors of masks and capes against the grey, muted tones of Gotham City herself. Every panel is a beautiful contradiciton of psyche and body, of place and mind, of redemption and justice. Meanwhile, at the center of the storm is Derron Bennett, carefully managing the chaos while never stiffling it. With so much happening in every single panel, it would be so easy to overwhelm the senses of the reader but that is deftly avoided here, very much in part thanks to careful placement of the textual elements in play.
The issue itself is dominantly set up. We see the tone for how Harley will interact with Gotham (and the Bat-Family) start to be established as Bruce continues to keep Harley at a distance but under a watchful eye. There is great potential here to develop a mentorship relationship between the two but equally there are many other directions available with the setup provided here. Already we see interplay with the rest of the Bat-verse as Harley asks for a stipend, unknowing that Wayne in essentially broke, making for a lighthearted but meaningful moment. I’m exceptionally happy any time Harley gets to make use of her past as a psychiatrist and given the nature of the Future State: Harley Quinn book, I think we can expect plenty of that in Phillips’ vision for the character. All in all, a solid start to a book and the sky is the limit moving forward!
It's a fresh-ish start and a redemption arc for Dr. Harleen Quinzel in Harley Quinn #1 and the sky is the limit! From #DCComics @Steph_Smash @rileyrossmo1 @ivanplascencia @deronbennett !
Harley Quinn #1: Strange Things Are Happening to Me
Writing - 9/10
Storyline - 8.5/10
Art - 9/10
Color - 10/10
Cover Art - 8/10
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