HAR­LEY QUINN

Sui­cide Squad’s bad girl re­born

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews -

re­leased OUT NOW! Pub­lisher dC Comics

Writ­ers amanda Con­ner, Jimmy Palmiotti Artist Chad Hardin

Rid­ing Sui­cide Squad’s suc­cess wave (yes, it might have re­ceived bad re­views, but plenty of peo­ple saw that movie), is­sue one of Har­ley Quinn had an as­ton­ish­ing 400,000 ad­vance or­ders be­fore it hit shelves. So, what with DC re­cently giv­ing Har­ley a risky Mar­got Rob­biematch­ing makeover, it’s lucky the comic is so good – its first three is­sues are ar­guably the best of the Re­birth re­brand.

The book’s got a tough job to do, as the comic ver­sion of Quinn is radically dif­fer­ent to the movie take, and sur­pris­ingly com­pli­cated. In the New 52 uni­verse, she lives in Coney Is­land with a large cast of weirdo friends, and has a (sweet) re­la­tion­ship with Poi­son Ivy. Sur­pris­ingly, de­spite the op­por­tu­nity for a full re­boot, Re­birth’s Har­ley keeps all of those el­e­ments, pre­sent­ing an elab­o­rate “pre­vi­ously on”-style ex­pla­na­tion, be­fore grad­u­ally mov­ing into a new set-up.

The plot is typ­i­cally wacky, with a cow-be­friend­ing alien ac­ci­den­tally (and hi­lar­i­ously) pu­n­ish­ing the meat-eaters of Coney Is­land via zom­bies, and Har­ley hav­ing to turn hero to pro­tect her friends. It’s not the most orig­i­nal high-con­cept we’ve ever wide-eyed chuck­led at, but writ­ers Con­ner and Palmiotti fit so many fan­tas­tic el­e­ments into that frame­work, we shouldn’t be too be­grudg­ing with praise.

Is­sue one is an ex­po­si­tion-heavy is­sue, but it’s done so smartly and with such a strong sense of fun that long-term fans won’t mind, and new read­ers will be­come in­stantly ad­dicted. They’re re­warded with an ac­tion-packed sec­ond is­sue (con­tain­ing a killer cliffhanger), and a su­per-sat­is­fy­ing third is­sue fi­nal chap­ter for the open­ing arc, mak­ing this the best com­plete story in the Re­birth uni­verse so far.

Char­ac­ter work is strong. De­spite 2016’s fairly rad­i­cal visual makeover, Har­ley’s vivid/lay­ered per­son­al­ity is un­touched. She re­mains a bad girl with a huge heart and a funny-bone of steel; edgy, sweet and ridicu­lously en­ter­tain­ing. And one of the best el­e­ments of the New 52 take, Har­ley’s re­la­tion­ship with Poi­son Ivy, isn’t just re­tained for Re­birth, it’s im­proved upon, with these three is­sues con­tain­ing se­ries-high sweet mo­ments.

Quinn’s (rel­a­tively new) love in­ter­est, Red Tool (yes, that’s a de­lib­er­ate play on Dead­pool) is also in­cluded, and he’s good fun, but if the DCEU are look­ing for some­one to shove into Sui­cide Squad 2, we’d take this book’s ver­sion of Ivy any day of the week.

Funny, ac­tion-stuffed, with gor­geous art and beau­ti­ful char­ac­ter mo­ments, this is an es­sen­tial pur­chase – whether you liked Sui­cide Squad or not. Sam Ashurst

Har­ley Quinn cre­ator Paul Dini was partly in­spired by his friend Ar­lene Sorkin play­ing a jester in soap Days Of Our Lives.

The best story in the Re­birth uni­verse so far

Must be noisy for the down­stairs neigh­bours.

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