Having made waves as part of The New 52 edition of the Suicide Squad, Harley Quinn finally gets her own series. As a story that sits outside of the Suicide Squad continuity, a former patient from Arkham Asylum has passed away and given her his apartment building. After the Joker blows up all of her stuff, she heads off to take claim to hew new digs and rebuild her life. Through Steff, I’ve been able to read through Harley Quinn #0-3.
As someone whose been reading the Suicide Squad, I was caught off guard by how different she’s portrayed here. Sure, she’s still crazy and quick to kill anyone that crosses her path, but she’s not out to antagonize anybody. She’s also a little less twisted and a little less sexualized here if you took offense to her portrayal as one of Amanda Waller’s cronies. Instead, this is a humourous and lighthearted romp about self-discovery where Harley is more concerned with trying to secure a steady income and adopt puppies than to mess with the good guys.
I like the new direction. It makes for a fun read that brings Harley down to Earth just a little bit so that it’s easier to empathize with her. At times, it’s a little too fluffy and aimless, such as the Valentine’s themed third issue, though they have laid the groundwork for a bigger thread about someone putting a bounty on her head. She’s easily dispatched of every two-bit assassin that’s tried, but who else is coming her way? And who is the one out to get Harley now when she’s just trying to live a normal life? Well, as normal as a murderer with bleached skin and a stuffed beaver for a best friend can be.
Free from her past as Joker’s love interest and as a member of the Suicide Squad, Harley Quinn #0-3 represents a fresh new start for Gotham’s jester. Issue #1 is the best of the bunch, though I’m hoping there’s more quality content yet to come.