Harley Quinn: Make 'Em Laugh #1
It’s hard out there for a freelancer! Looking to make some quick cash, Harley takes on odd jobs in her many wheelhouses—therapizing bad guys, tracking down stolen art from the Gotham Art Museum...but when it turns out the thief has his own mental baggage to unpack, Harley’s got a real Thinkeron her hands!
The DC Digital First lineup finally has a Harley Quinn focused book with the release of Harley Quinn: Make ‘Em Laugh #1, an issue that delivers on humor, wacky antics and…did I mention humor?
This is an issue that fans of the character are going to undoubtedly love, while those who haven’t come around to her enduring popularity yet, are most likely going to groan about. It’s pure Harley in it’s overt insanity and irreverence. The premise of her returning to her role as a therapist quickly morphs into her being a security guard at the Gotham Art Museum and as the villains continue to pile up, it becomes clear that no one can steal the show from Harley Quinn.
Mark Russell taking the reigns on Harley wasn’t something I was deeply enthused about, in all honesty. However, I was also surprised at just how good the Swamp Thing DC Digital First title was which was also written by Russell. I’m glad I was able to withhold judgment, because this issue accomplishes everything it set out to do and then some. We aren’t restrained by continuity in these books, so I’m not too concerned with the drastic changes in characterization for Harley compared to her ongoing series. While I am still not sold on how much she hangs around all of Gotham’s villains in this issue, there is no denying that it is entertaining.
It doesn’t really matter if Harley is just working as a freelance therapist or trying to protect an art museum, because she’s hilarious enough to keep you laughing through the whole story. Russell has a solid grasp on her humor, and while it’s mostly just throwaway jokes and one-liners, they all work well together and the timing is effective. The story isn’t anything remarkably special, but it gets the job done and that’s okay.
Where this issue really shines is with the incredible artwork from Laura Braga. Harley does look different, but the appearance suits her and more importantly, it’s consistent. Guerrero helps to bring a more completed look with some strong colors and while the artwork starts out great, it only gets better as more and more familiar characters are introduced. You can enjoy this book on the art alone, and I don’t say that lightly. For just $.99, you are absolutely going to be hard pressed to find a more impressive outing for Harley Quinn visually.
Head Shrink isn’t the most notable villain in the bunch, but he offsets Harley in a unique way and gives the whimsical story the slightest bit of credibility and it helps. Who doesn’t want to see Penguin, Riddler and so many others all come together just for Harley to come in and start swinging a bat around at everyone? It’s a great time, and that’s exactly what I was looking out of Harley Quinn: Make ‘Em Laugh #1.
Ultimately, this book falls in line with a lot of the other DC Digital First titles with regards to a lack of consequential storytelling and general predictability, but it is also simply a lot of fun. I’m not always looking for a story to reinvent the wheel, but with strong characterizations and a lighthearted approach, this issue still proves to be worth your money.
Harley Quinn: Make 'Em Laugh #1 is a visual treat full of humor, overt insanity and wacky irreverence. As Gotham's most notorious villains continue to arrive, it quickly becomes easy to see that no one can steal the show from Harley.
Harley Quinn: Make ‘Em Laugh #1: Security Tighter than Batman’s Abs
Writing - 8/108/10
Storyline - 8/108/10
Art - 9.5/109.5/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 9/109/10
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