Review: Future State: Harley Quinn #1
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Stephanie Philips
Artist: Simone DiMeo
Colors: Tamra Bonvillain
Letters: ALWI’s Troy Peteri
Reviewed by: Seth Singleton
Now that Dark Nights: Death Metal is over what will the characters of the DC Universe look like when fans take a glimpse into the future? Future State: Harley Quinn #1 introduces a Gotham facing a new dynamic and a familiar location for Harley Quinn.
Quinn is working for Scarecrow. Dr. Jonathan Crane is no longer the mad man wearing the mask. Instead, he’s a doctor working to bring in the dangerous elements that have remained in Gotham. They have outlawed masks. Batman is absent. Criminals like Professor Pyg and Firefly are wreaking mayhem.
Dr. Crane needs Harley Quinn’s help. Every time Harley Quinn helps Dr. Crane the quality of her confinement improves. The art and colors do a wonderful job of making her jail feel disorienting. Similar to an asylum, time is not relevant or relative.
Recent projects like Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity and Batman: White Knight Presents Harley Quinn has given readers examples of just what Harley Quinn can do when she works on the side of the angels. It’s a reminder of where her story began. A time when she was the brilliant psychiatrist Dr. Harleen Quinzel.
This is a story that relies on the slow burn trajectory. It’s unclear just how aware Harley is. Her story is currently taking future events down a path that previous stories have followed. She is gaining the trust of Crane.
But it’s more than working toward freedom and independence. What will afford her the chance to control more of her destiny? But in order to reach long-term objectives, she will need to prove herself valuable. Currently, that involves the immediate problems, Dr. Crane presents.
Another thing that makes for the slow burn concept, is the menacing reference and overarching presence of the criminal known as the Black Mask. The final pages reveal a glimpse of the violence, no loyalty, he demands.
No faults can be found with the world-building or otherwise in this limited series.
Future State: Harley Quinn #1 is a world where Gotham is shaped by new forces. Figures like the Magistrate have recast the roles of legendary villains like Black Mask, Jonathan Crane, and even the once-criminal Harley Quinn. In order for Harley to better understand how things work she will need to gain perspective outside of the walls where she is being held.
Fans will see Gotham in other Future State titles. Viewing it anew from Harley’s perspective will reveal the plunder and plight that awaits criminals. Gotham has always been more than just Batman or the villains he hunts. Thanks to Harley Quinn there will be more sides to see.
Harley is a quiet and obedient voice waiting to explode. She was captured and is being held. Dangerous animals can keep their teeth hidden in captivity. Once they get free the hunt begins. Harley will get her prey.