Review: Harley Loves Joker #1

“Enter: The Grison” Part I

Writer: Paul Dini 

Artist: Bret Blevins

Ya gotta be kiddin’, puddin’. Listen, another Harley obsessed with Joker story? Aren’t we finished with that tall-tale abusive relationship yet? I guess the only things time changed is that he’s…hitting her much less. Ugh. Overall, still funny and entertaining as heck! The cover is more of the attitude I love: Harley holding a bomb and misleading the Joker. I am hoping to God that Paul Dini will make this a series of how Harley takes down her ex-lover. And it looks like it might!

This two-part series is a blast from the past. The characters carry the design from Batman: The Animated Series. They represent beloved Bruce Timm’s Harley Quinn, who is the original clown princess, Mistress of Mayhem.

We enter the story with Harley owing 3 million bucks to No-Good Nicks, the Wonderland Gang. She runs into an old nemesis, the Grison. Who (spoiler!) is Quinn’s ex-medical colleague from Arkham Asylum, Gabriela Matias. Man, that place just keeps rolling out the hits.

Along with her pretty-nude appearance, she has one unique power that I could never imagine male writers would ever put in, but it’s hilarious. It brings even the Joker to tears. The Grison releases skunky gas out of her body to repel her opponents. She merged herself with ferrets to give her that animal appearance. Another criticism I have of this issue is questioning why women who merge with animals are drawn so sexy and naked, while when men that are merged look like man-Bat. Like give us equality like the sexy robot from Lost in Space, please.

Paul Dini has a gift for writing Harley, and we don’t get enough of the princess being in her doctor persona. Because people forget, the woman has Ph. D. and was a well-established researcher before the clown prince manipulated her heart. Dr. Quinn rolls in, and her love of the animals in the research facility is apparent.

Writers often use animals to show when the heart of the anit-hero is pure itself. Even as her colleague called the trapped hyenas disgusting, Harley happily took them in as her best friends. I loved that purity.

If you ignore the amount of butt and chest shots, the art is on point! Writing 10/10 but the art soured me a little. Still, it’s nostalgic and cartoonish. Harley’s original costume will always be my favorite, and Blevins nails it. The comic humor portrayed in this issue is 5-star. For example, as Harley is being sawed underneath the museum, the way she turns her head you could hear the swish of her turning, and the saw buzzing.

A bad citizen in my city of Toronto murdered 10 people, 8 who were women; he was part of the community that praised objectifying women (https://globalnews.ca/news/4166830/toronto-van-attack-what-is-incel/) . I’m upset by the blatant misogyny in this world. I think comics can do better, and on the whole they have been! There is some severe male eye candy throughout this issue (crotch-shots, cleavage, details of women’s hands and feet, but little-to-no details on men), but the story itself is brilliant. This would fit perfect in the Golden Age. The Joker is more sincere in this write-up (I’m guessing to modernize him and make him look like less of a jerk!) but you can see Mark Hamill in him. He’s proud and disastrous at the same time.

Conclusion

Harley Quinn’s blast from the past is also a great juxtaposition between the two villains. Both Dr. Gabriela Matias and Dr. Quinn went down the path of insanity and power; but Harley listens to the goodness inside her (sometimes). Dini gave us a charming insight to the possessive jester. I have to admit, I’m a bit spoiled by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti’s version of Harley and how progressive they’ve made her, with both art and behaviour. But Dini’s work on Harley is always amazing. Lots of love and hope that way!

Images Courtesy Of DC Entertainment

http://www.darkknightnews.com/wp-content/themes/maxblog/assets/img/Batman-Icon.jpg

Sharna Jahangir

Lover of all things Batman. Majored in English and Biochemistry at the University of Toronto. Passionate about Defending citizens as much as Batman, found herself at Defence Research Development Canada working under Dr. Ming Hou. Also a Graphic Designer, avid blogger, and hobbies in drawing comics. Sharna's not the best at maintaining a secret identity, but more than strong enough to protect her loved ones.