There is an old adage that states if you do not have anything nice to say then you shouldn’t say anything at all. I pondered extensively about this ideology before sitting down to write this review. I was able to find a handful of things that I enjoyed about this book but for the most part it felt like a trip to the dentist for a root canal. Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti take some great ideas and presents them in all the wrong ways. This day in the life of Harley approach ends up feeling shallow and lacks any real substance. It is hard for me to believe that this character, who was able to capture Batman, is incapable of managing her day-to-day life in a more efficient manner. Being a fan since her first appearance on Batman: The Animated Series, I am confident in saying that Harley Quinn deserves better than this. I really hope that this series takes a turn for the better in the very near future. For now, let’s dig into the specifics of why this issue is a testament to just how bad things can really get.
I enjoy seeing Harley pursuing romantic relationships outside of the Joker. Seeing her in this capacity helps to define her individuality and separation from the Clown Prince of Crime in the New 52. However, seeing Harley chew through a towel at the sight of Mason with his shirt off feels completely off target. For years Harley was under the spell of a madman and was incapable of resisting his allure. In this new iteration, Harley is still under the spell of any man with a barrel chest and chiseled abs. At least with the Joker there was a certain degree of physiological warfare at play. Now it feels as though Harley would be a great addition on an episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. In other words, the writers simply swapped out brains for brawn as the catalyst to getting Harley revved up. Maybe this is an attempt to completely remove her character from her roots with the Joker. Either way, it feels superficial and out of place in this series. It would be nice to see Harley in a dynamic relationship that allows her to grow over many issues in regards to love. Only time will tell if we will ever see this come to fruition.
Although this issue is riddled with shortcomings, it did have a few redeeming qualities. Specifically, I enjoyed the segment in which Harley used CPR in order to revive an elderly patient who was unconscious for reasons unknown. Witnessing glimpses into Harley’s humanity gives me hope that this series can be brought back from the pit of mediocrity in which it currently dwells. Furthermore, the dream sequence in which Harley sees the Joker allows the reader to fully understand the internal struggles she faces on a daily basis. However, a few beams of light don’t make up for a book full of darkness.
I really want to like the New 52’s Harley Quinn series. However, the writers of this book have yet to capture Harley in the manner she rightly deserves. Let’s hope that this series takes a turn for the better in the very near future. If not, this character is doomed to a future full of subpar jokes and weak plot lines.