Shenanigans Abound in Harley Loves Joker #1
Harley Loves Joker, co-written by Paul Dini, first appeared as a backup serial in Harley Quinn #17. Acting as a flashback series, Harley Loves Joker established Harley Quinn’s earlier days with the Joker. When I first read Harley Loves Joker in the back pages of Harley Quinn #17, I found it to be quite charming. It’s always great to see the classic Harley Quinn I grew up with. Furthermore, I found the serials to be rather creative as Dini, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Brett Blevins were–in a sense–connecting the Rebirth version of Harley Quinn to the original Harley Quinn of The Animated Series.
According to an interview with Newsarama, the serials became so popular that Harley Loves Joker was granted its own mini-series. Harley Quinn: Harley Loves Joker #1 marks the first part in a two-part miniseries finale of the beloved serial.
Harley Loves Joker #1 opens with Harley and Joker in their new, gorgeous home. Harley awakens and recalls the events from the previous serials that got her and Mistah J to this point. Therefore, if you have not been keeping up with the serials, you will not be lost. Quickly, though, Harley expresses some concerns. The mysterious Grison has appeared in Gotham, targeting Harley and Joker’s planned hits. On top of that, she owes a member of the Wonderland Gang a ridiculous amount of money in five days.
The story itself is quite simple and with that simple plot, Dini and Co. are able to do some absurd and hilarious things. The shenanigans that Harley finds herself in are quite comical. Harley Loves Joker #1 really focuses on its characters as opposed to the plot. Thus, this series has and is a character-driven story. It’s not so much about the events, but about how the characters react to those events. It’s about the decisions they make and how they interact with the world.
As one might expect, Paul Dini’s writing gives Harley Loves Joker #1 the distinct vibe of an episode from The Animated Series. The four seasons long television show largely focused more on its characters rather than its plot. That’s what made it so successful and accessible. Dini’s approach to Harley Loves Joker #1 is no different in those regards. As always, the wittiness of the dialogue and pacing of each scene make this issue a blast to read.
While Dini’s writing is great, Bret Blevins’s artwork is spectacular. It seamlessly blends the wit, smarts, and tenacity of the newest incarnation of Harley with classic Harley. Though I have been following the serial since its first appearance, I am still taken aback the beauty of Harley Loves Joker #1. Furthermore, Alex Sinclair’s colors add to the beauty of this issue and enhance the artwork, providing a familiar, yet fresh aesthetic.
With Blevins’s beautiful artwork and Dini’s writing, Harley Loves Joker #1 is a fantastic tale that most–if not all–Harley Quinn fans will probably enjoy. Harley’s character is consistent and the story elements fit the tone of this issue. Additionally, the story and the tone match up perfectly with the modern Harley Quinn many fans know and love. It’s a great first issue that is very likely to end with a bang!
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