Husband/Wife writing team Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner present a fresh start for Harley Quinn, ditching her controversial ‘Suicide Squad’ lingerie-like costume and having her adopt a new suit that more closely resembles her classic look. She also starts her life over from scratch, moving to Coney Island, into a huge building let to her by a former patient from Arkham Asylum. She is accompanied by a taxidermied beaver that she thinks can talk to her and a new weiner dog that she liberates from a negligent previous owner.
Her new building houses bizarre businesses on the bottom floor and an eccentric cast of “freaks” on the second. Most notable is a short muscle guido ironically referred to as Big Tony. She is also tasked with finding employment and she appears to land two jobs. (Why she doesn’t just steal isn’t clear.)
She also finds herself targeted by assassins, just to complicate her new life.
The art, by Chad Hardin, is FANTASIC! It’s just completely excellent in every way. It’s innovative, stylish, pretty, but still delightfully quirky to match the lead character’s unbalanced personality.
The writing is solid. Harley’s voice and thought patterns are perfect. My only complaint would be that this read a bit… “first issue-y” meaning that it’s all set up with a new location, status quo, cast, etc. Granted, this was a first issue and all of that stuff does need to be established in order to move forward, but it felt a little… listy? Like “here’s this and this and this.” It’s not bad or anything, but I guess it felt a tad by the numbers.
But overall, it’s an interesting twist. Harley as a responsible business owner, taking care of a building full of tenants? Living in Coney Island instead of Gotham City? No Batman? No Joker? No Poison Ivy?
But the book has a fun tone and the characters are unique and should be fun. It’s a decent first issue that nicely sets up the series to come.
HARLEY QUINN #1
Written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner
Art by Chad Hardin
Cover by Amanda Conner