When the Minister first heard Harley was getting her own book again, call me ecstatic! I was a big fan of her solo title a few years back, and couldn’t wait to see the former psychiatrist-now-supervillain on the shelves of my LCS. Harley Quinn #0 is… strange to say the least. It’s even a little, dare I say, fruitloops. Harley spends the entire comic breaking the “fourth wall” (ala another black and red character from that other mickey-mouse comic book company) and the results are actually pretty hilarious — in a good way. If you’re an avid comic collector, and know who’s who in comics, seventeen freakin’ artists (including Jim Lee, somewhat) in one $2.99 book ain’t bad.
And despite having no real plot, the comic is a lot of fun. It’s literally just a showcase of DC artists having a dandy ol’ time with Miss Quinn; putting her in various situations, almost like she’s jumping from universe to universe, which is something, for an issue 0, the church can roll with. The husband and wife team of Amanda Conner (Power Girl, JSA Classified) and Jimmy Palmiotti (All-Star Western, Batwing) jump in as disembodied voices interacting with Quinn throughout the comic, which ends up being quite the trip through the psyche of the one closest to Mistah J.
The gags range from making fun of Art Baltazar’s Tiny Titans, kid-friendly style — “What!? No blood!? They don’t even bleed!?” — to even taking humble jabs at their jab at chart rankings of Palmiotti’s own titles. One of my personal favorite little scenes is Darwyn Cooke’s page depicting Conner and Palmiotti’s wedding. It must have been a blast for writers to make a cameo in their own book as themselves, and Conner shouting “I’m Amanda Conner, Bitches!” while beating down Harley and Catwoman is just priceless.
Bruce Timm putting Harl’s back in her old jester hat and black mask was refreshing, even if this little taste of “Batman: The Animated Series” is something we’ll likely never get again. And the Jim Lee’s Hush reprint gag was hilarious (i.e. Jim Lee’s too busy with oh, I don’t know, being Jim Lee to do your silly comic!). I can go on and comment about every single artist and their fun little quirks and jabs on each page, but I just recommend you go out and buy the issue.
Just as I was starting to enjoy Harley playing “Lady Deadpool” (all the way down to Harley Quinn somehow flipping through a copy of her own issue of Harley Quinn #0, which hurt my brain a little), the last bit of text reads “We swear we will stop breaking the fourth wall!” Although this gag would surely get old quickly if it stays as ridiculous as in this issue, little fourth wall breaks may not hurt much in the future. Most people would agree, if there’s anyone in the DC universe that can pull it off, it’s Harley Quinn.
The last couple pages of the issue — courtesy of series artist Chad Hardin — answer the questions fans have been asking leading up to this issue’s release as to why the book’s set in Coney Island, but the cliffhanger leaves just enough unanswered questions for you to go out and buy issue #1.
No sense spoiling the very little actual story this book has for you.
The only weird thing (and, sure, your favorite Minister knows he’s grasping at straws here) is the inconsistency in the writer’s relationship to Harley. On Jim Lee’s page, they don’t mind announcing Batman’s secret identity (to Mr. Wayne’s horror), but they somehow don’t know what the Suicide Squad is. It’s a petty complaint, but with a virtually plot-less book that holds more or less as a giant DC Comics artist portfolio, what little consistency stringing together these pages should be, well, consistent, right?
That aside, DC set out to do a fun, ridiculous, nonsensical book (with way too many artists), and they pulled no punches — except of course pulling that last super controversial suicide panel from the talent contest! By the way, congrats Jeremy Roberts, looks like you got yourself a jobby-job. So even if the ever-gorgeous Harley Quinn #0 is likely wayyyy different from the feel and style of the actual series, you can bet I’ll be placing Conner and Palmiotti’s new baby on my comic book pull, with nothing but the fruitloopiest expectations.