When DC Comics launched Harley Quinn last year with a spectacular extra-paged #0 issue, no one had any inkling that the new series would go on to become such an important component of DC’s monthly line-up. Almost a year later now, the series has been DC’s big breakout hit, ending up several times on the monthly Top 25 sales lists, often in the coveted Top 10 as well. I haven’t read some of the recent issues, but everything I’ve has shown me that Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner are endlessly creative and energetic in their approach to the character.
For me, the biggest problem on Harley Quinn was the art. It often fluctuated, and where some issues were great, some weren’t. And recently I kind of dropped out on the title because the ongoing arc was a bit too silly for me. But I suppose that now is a great time to get back on the title, especially with the new arc starting next month. In the meantime, today’s release, Harley Quinn: Future’s End #1 does something I’ve been wanting to see for a while here: a pair-up of Harley and the Joker. It is everything I’d imagined it could be and the Joker is an absolute riot. And you know what else, I thought the art was perfect!
In the pages of Suicide Squad: Future’s End #1, we’ve seen that in the future, the American government has experimented on all the members of the Task Force X aka Suicide Squad and Harley has suffered in that the head honchos tried to “enhance” her by pumping her full of Venom, the supervillain Bane’s special cocktail of hyper-combat drugs. It is a rather tragic tale, to be sure, and going into this particular issue, I was wondering if that would be addressed. It seems not. This is a complete stand-alone, and I have to admit that this is very relieving. I was afraid we’d be treated to more of the bleakness of Suicide Squad: Future’s End #1, but that is not the case. Writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner carry on in this futuristic issue as they’ve carried on the solo tile and it really couldn’t be better.
One of the best things about Harley is that she is a complete nutter. But also totally hilarious in a way that Joker can never be. Under Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner, the character has really had the chance to branch out of her other obligations and she has had fun all the way. That’s exactly what you see in this issue. She plans to go on a trip to the Bahamas but her plane crash-lands during a violent storm and she finds herself on a deserted land, almost without any kind of tools or anything. And then she ends up meeting the local tribe who’ve been made into willing slaves by Joker, and hilarity ensues.
I won’t go into the details of this issue, but suffice to say that it makes for some really excellent reading. Harley is spot-on. Joker is spot-on. This is an issue celebrating the fun and crackpot side of both characters. It doesn’t take itself seriously, and neither should the read. Just chill out and flip through. It is a fun little adventure with Harley and Mistah J on a random Caribbean island and that’s really all there is to it, along with some great romance and aggression between the two of them, two of the most iconic characters of the DC universe.
I really wasn’t sure what I’d find in the pages of this comic, so consider me pleasantly surprised. This is right on par with some of the early issues of Harley Quinn, high praise indeed!
Series regular Chad Hardin is the artist here, with Alex Sinclair on colours John J. Hill on letters and Amanda herself on the cover with Paul Mounts. As I’ve said, Chad Hardin’s art didn’t often rub me the right way on the main series, but with this one-shot he has done something much different and he’s made it an issue worth picking up for the art alone. His Harley is much more restrained in her antics this time around and that allows the artist to really focus on the characterwork. Sure, there are some inconsistencies in Harley here and there, but such are too few to really make a difference towards the negative side. For the most part, Chad gets Harley right and his interpretation of Joker is great as well. Plus Alex Sinclair delivering some amazing colours as usual, which is not a surprise at all!