Saturday, December 28, 2013

Harley Quinn #1

This looks vaguely like Harley Quinn. Maybe it's her stunt double?

Last issue (if I wasn't so used to comic books and their gimmicks and their love of Zero Issues, it might be weird talking about the last issue when I'm commenting on Issue #1. Has a company ever put out any negative issues? Seems like after all this time, that should definitely be a thing), Harley Quinn received a building in Brooklyn from a client at Arkham Asylum. So my guess was that she's going to open a Detective Agency for the Criminally Insane. What else would you do with an office building in a major metropolitan area? Brothel for the Criminally Insane? Game Store for the Criminally Nerdy? Hospice for the Terminally Insane?

Oh! Maybe she'll convert it into a Roller Rink for the Criminally Insane!

Am I typing "Criminally Insane" too much?

Harley and her companions.

Harley's making the move on her motorcycle with her half-burnt beaver buddy and her newly acquired Sausage Dog which she kidnapped from a well mustachioed hipster. Oh, and the place she inherited was an apartment building. So it looks like it'll be Housing for the Criminally Insane! I hope she turns it into a halfway house where Batman villains can stay and try to make a go of normal life after escaping being released from Arkham.

As Harley is entering the city, she is beset upon (or just followed or attacked or threatened or chased) by Ghost Rider that forgot to light his face. He just happened to be sitting on the freeway with a Wanted Poster of Harley Quinn in his hand checking it against all the people passing by. He must have a really shitty memory or he's a face-blind bounty hunter if he needed to keep Harley's picture on hand to make sure he recognized her.

I'm four pages in and Chad Hardin's art alone is enough to recommend this book. I knew he'd do a bang up job after his work on Demon Knights.

I have a feeling human life isn't going to be portrayed as being worth much in this comic book! Which is fine by me! At least she cares about the widdle animwals.

Harley winds up knocking the guy's head off with her humongous mallet. And then she packs everything back up on her motorcycle and continues on her way. Because this is just the kind of wacky, crazy antics that happen when you've got a bit of a chemical imbalance and you're not always sure about the reality of your reality.

Harley arrives at home.

The bottom floor is the house of wax and murder! The second floor houses eight freak show tenants. The first tenant she meets is Danzig but he's going by the name Big Tony. Although he's identical to Danzig (right down to the height) so I think he might just be lying low until his career rebounds or he finally agrees to play the County Fairground circuit. She meets three other tenants: Queenie, an African American Gypsy; Giles the Goat Boy; and Spic & Span, the two-headed kid. I might have made up some of those names since formal introductions were not proffered. Third floor is storage and lumber so her Beaver will probably live there. And the fourth floor is her apartment. Seems like a pretty cool setup! A very suspiciously cool setup! Who left the place to her? Who's the bald lawyer? What's the name of the Sausage Dog?

Oh man. I'm thinking like a stuffed beaver. I think it's time to retire from Comic Book Commentary!

Apparently Harley is responsible for the back taxes on the place as well as insurance and upkeep. The tenant's rents pay for about half the cost of maintaining the building so it's a good thing she doesn't mind committing a crime here or there. Or she could just raise the rents! Or take out insurance on the tenants and murder them. It would serve them right living in a place called The House of Murder.

Hey, that's my joke!

Harley interviews for two jobs: therapist at an assisted living facility and Roller Derby Death Dealer. Lucky for Harley, the assisted living place has dangerous clients that she'll be able to make even more dangerous! And then at the Roller Derby Arena, she'll be able to solve crimes because there's always somebody being murdered or things being stolen or crazy plots being enacted at the Roller Derby!

By the end of her first day in her new place, Harley seems to have everything under control.

With a little help from Big Tony and his little friend (his gun. His gun is his little friend).

Harley Quinn #1 Rating: +2 Ranking. Most of that +2 in the ranking is due to the art. It pleases my aesthetic sensibilities. Hopefully she'll have some run ins with some more familiar assassins soon. I also appreciate a title character that's pretty much an amoral nutcase but with a streak of sentimentality behind it. So you know Harley is going to protect the people of her building and her beaver and her dog but not really give much of a shit about bystanders and strangers and other innocents in the area. Fuck 'em! It's hard enough keeping oneself alive in the big city without having to worry about all the collateral damage that can crop up when you're an escaped mental patient and ex-Task Force Xer! I have pretty high hopes for the entertainment possibilities of this comic book.

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