Brandon Borzelli's Geek Goggle Reviews
Harley Quinn #1
Conner, Palmiotti & Hardin
Now this is a fun comic book. The launch of the Harley Quinn series began last month with the zero issue, but the story and series really kicks off with this comic book. The book is almost entirely character driven. Sure, there is a chase scene and an attempted murder here or there but the comic book is literally a get-to-know-you kind of issue and it works perfectly. I urge anyone looking for a fun read that doesn't exist inside some continuity heavy universe to check this comic out.
The comic begins with Quinn en route to her new digs in Coney Island. This is more complicated than it sounds. She's riding a motorcycle with a bag of "stuff" strapped to the back. She also has a companion in the form of a gopher. Along the way she procures a sad puppy dog and gets attacked by a mysterious hit-man. It makes for a very entertaining introduction to the comic book.
Quinn owns a building in Coney Island and upon arriving we meet Big Tony who seems to fill the role of resident helper. He appears to be a seedy character, but helpful character, which is a perfect fit for Harley. After learning about the building and the residents, Quinn realizes she needs a job to help pay the bills.
The remainder of the comic is spent with Harley going on interviews for some not-so-ordinary paychecks before all hell breaks loose in the end.
The comic works on many levels. First of all, the book has a strong pace as the scenes change through the phases of her everyday life. It's helpful that the situations in of themselves are different and amusing. Second, the book introduces a decent supporting character in Big Tony. This helps to give Harley a sounding board and he isn't a cookie cutter character, which helps. Finally, the book is fun and has unexpected twists here and there. The book adds up to a very fun read.
The artwork is mostly good but struggles in some areas. The highlight of the book is the pages that need to supply a "wow" factor, such as, the initial scene with the loaded bike or the first view of her new building. The book definitely has a lot of these types of images that drive the highlights. The parts that are tougher are some of the action sequences. I had a hard time understanding how Quinn wrecked her bike (or didn't she?) and understanding some of the placement of the girls at the roller rink. Overall, this is a strong visual effort though.
Harley Quinn is off to a great start. The comic book uses strong focus on the lead character to introduce her and set up her everyday life. It might sound boring but the execution is strong enough that it not only carries the comic but it is the driver of making it a comic book built around a character and not a plot. This is definitely something to seek out and pick up.
4 out of 5 Geek Goggles