Return to the world of ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ with this digital-first series! Harley Quinn is ready to declare her independence, but what will that mean for Gotham City? Your Major Spoilers review of Harley Quinn And Batman #1 awaits!
Writer: Ty Templeton
Artist: Rick Burchett
Colorist: Keiren Smith
Letterer: Wes Abbott
Editor: Kristy Quinn
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: 99 Cents
Previously in Harley Quinn And Batman: “Harley Quinn is a legend in her own mind, so when she realizes the Joker thinks of her as a sidekick, she takes her revenge. Harley’s now faced with a hard decision to break out as her own super-villain, and she’s willing to go for it!”
THE PREQUEL TO THE ANIMATED FILM
We open in the Joker’s Ha-Hacienda, where the Dynamic Duo of Batman and Nightwing has busted in, ruining the Joker’s afternoon. He’s puzzled by how they found him, but quickly moves to wacky defense, but it’s just not his day. His trucks of poisoned hot sauce are taken out, the pie cannon explodes, even his giant Mecha-Joker malfunctions, leading to the source of his misery: A woman scorned. Joker, it seems, has been taking his Harley for granted, and she’s systematically sabotaged his equipment to get even with him. Even as the police are dragging him away, Joker focuses entirely on Batman, ignoring his girl until she puts her harlequin-booted foot right into his (ahem) family jewels. But before Batman can lock up both villain and sidekick/therapist/terribly unhealthy lady friend, Poison Ivy makes the scene, using her plant-creations to tie up the Caped Crusaders and the GCPD alike. Ivy even says the magic words: “I need her,” causing Harley to nearly swoon into her vaguely verdant arms…
BREAK-UPS ARE NEVER EASY
As a digital-first release, this chapter is 22 half-pages, but it doesn’t feel like a fragment or a partial story, like some shorter narratives do. We leap back in to the B:TAS universe with ease (probably because Templeton and Burchett have a long history with this world, being the team on ‘Gotham Adventures’, which adapted the cartoon heroes to comics twenty years ago) and the strength of the characterization makes it easy to pick up where we are. Harley’s rage at Mistah J makes perfect sense, and we even get to see the Harley & Ivy team reunited which, when this series is complete, should put everyone in position for the ‘Batman & Harley Quinn’ animated movie due later this month. Burchett’s art is kind of fascinating, too, combining the cartoon’s clear linearity with a more comic-style roughness, making for an odd but compelling hybrid of two styles, which fits with this book’s slightly more adult tone. (Ya can’t kick Joker in the nards on Saturday morning TV, Faithful Spoilerites.)
THE BOTTOM LINE: SETTING UP SOMETHING INTERESTING
That problem of ‘Can’t Do That On Television’ is actually the biggest reservation I have about this issue, as it seems to be something of a tonal shift. We’re taking the cartoons of the past and adding modern DC’s more adult themes (and yes, I know that the subtext of Harley and Ivy as casual sex-buddies was there, as well as the clear emotional abuse in her relationship with The Joker) which makes for an odd kind of nostalgia. I’m unsure whether this book is aimed squarely at fans like me who have grown up with these characters but don’t want to give them up for a new generation, but nonetheless, Harley Quinn And Batman #1 is pretty good stuff, earning 3 out of 5 stars overall. Even if I’m not entirely comfortable with the juxtapositions, this chapter successfully balances the old and the new, and will hopefully be a satisfying story of its own to lead into more animated B:TAS adventures…
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