Harley Quinn has a busy few days as she stops an armed robbery, competes in a roller derby match, unveils a machine for firing feces all over New York, assaults Dan Didio (yes, really) and catapults an assassin into a biplane propeller. So pretty average for Harley.
What an issue! I’m surprised that DC is still making comics like this. Not just light-hearted, (the darker New 52 still has humor if you know where to look) but actively playful and whimsical.
Take the fourth wall-breaking, mind-bending “scatapult” scene halfway through this issue. We see what I think is Dan Didio (and a few other DC editors) gathered in a boardroom. They’re discussing yet another reboot of all DC titles. This time all superheroes and superheroines will be transformed into antelopes and wildebeasts, or the “Gnu 52”. Moments after Didio asks if anyone supports his call for a new reboot, the boardroom comes under attack from flying bags of feces catapulted by Harley Quinn.
Let’s count all the reasons a scene like this should be impossible. Comedy for the sake of comedy in the dark New 52? Vicious, explicit mocking of editors in a company infamous for its overwhelming editing control? But perhaps most astonishing of all is the implication that DC Comics and all of its New 52 now canonically exist in the DCnU. This series is canon, so the potential is there for Supergirl, Aquaman or any other superhero to pick up their own comic and start reading their own adventures. (It won’t happen, but OMG what if it did?) Such an explicit acknowledge that “This is all just a comic book” was a massive surprise for a universe so big on “realism”.
Enough. I’ve already written several hundred words about Dan Didio getting hit by dog poop. What else did I like about the issue? Primarily the sense of community and belonging. Everyone Harley meets (who isn’t a balaclava-clad robber or an assassin) exists on her bizarre wavelength. This means Harley forms an easy-going bond with everyone she meets, be they the sleazy pawn shop owner or the oddball tenants she’s already befriended. It’s just pleasurable to read.
It’s hard to say. The roller derby match wasn’t as interesting as the rest of the issue. Harley is assaulted by an enormous opponent and swiftly takes her bloody revenge. She is promptly booted off the team. It would probably mean more if she’d spent more time with them.
A marvelous read. A must for any light-hearted DC fan.