While chowing on pizza, cakes, and candy in her storage shed stocked with toys and comic books, Harley Quinn begins to ponder what it would be like if she had her own comic. Who would write it? Who would draw it? She starts a conversation with herself, which in turn grows into a conversation with one of the stuffed animals in the shed and then gets even crazier as she starts a dialogue with Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, the very writers of this comic. It’s meta, it’s weird, it’s Harley Quinn #0.
Be sure to place special emphasis on the #0 while reading this issue because it definitely takes place outside of what the series will actually come to be. If anything, this feels like a quirky special, a one-shot more than the premiere installment of an all-new ongoing series. Even the final page serves as a teaser to what the true opening arc will be and even promises readers that there will be no more 4th wall breaking from here on out. So really I still don’t know what to expect from this series until I get my hands on issue #1, but Palmiotti and Conner have definitely made it clear that they have the humor down. Issue #0 doesn’t really have a story at all, but is instead a bizarre series of unrelated events that we just watch our Harley react to and thankfully it’s a Harley more in line with what Timm and Dini created and nothing like the stoic child murderer we saw back in Villains Month. The book clearly has a more lighthearted tone. Even though there are quite a few gunshots, explosions, and mallet smacks throughout the book, it’s handled in such a cartoony way that things never get dark. You’re here for a laugh!
Nearly every page is drawn by a different artist who is “auditioning” for the chance to draw Harley’s ongoing comic. In these pages we see the unique style that the artist has to offer and the sort of adventures Harley would most likely find herself in under their pencil. During these brief scenes, Harley offers up quips and commentary on the world around her and the artist’s style, which is fun at first but after a while I was honestly ready to move on. Still, it’s commendable to see a mainstream book this experimental. The artists you’ll see draw this book include:
- Charlie Adlard
- Amanda Conner
- Art Baltazar
- Becky Cloonan
- Darwyn Cooke
- Tony S. Daniel
- Sam Kieth
- Bruce Timm
- Jim Lee
- Stephane Roux
- Tradd Moore
- Chad Hardin
- Adam Hughes
- Dave Johnson
- Dan Panosian
- Jeremy Roberts
- Walter Simonson
I recall Paul Pope being announced as one of the artists, but he’s not included here nor is that controversial fan competition page that involved Harley attempting suicide in a bathtub. That’s not to say that the winner of that competition didn’t get to draw a page though, in fact, he will be illustrating issue #30 of Stormwatch next!
Harley Quinn #0 is a wonderful showcase of artistic talent and amusing jokes and is sure to add some energy to your pull-list this Wednesday.
- You’re a huge fan of Harley no matter what she does
- You’re in it for the art. There’s not much story here, it’s basically a big showcase of talented artists at their goofiest. We won’t get a real sense of what the story of this new Harley Quinn series will be like until issue #1 where the 4th wall breaking stops
- You’re in-the-know about the comic industry. The careers of writers and artists, monthly sales, etc. There are a number of jokes that serve as an amusing commentary on the industry itself
- You love Deadpool
- You’re in the mood for something utterly ridiculous
The page-by-page shift in artists and Harley’s commentary about their style and the increasingly absurd situations they plant her in is really fun for the most part, but it did get a little repetitive for me near the end and I was just ready for the real story to begin (it won’t until issue #1, by the way). Still, there are more than enough funny lines and terrific artwork on display to make this an oddly entertaining done-in-one comic for Harley Quinn fans. And I also have to applaud Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiottt, and all other parties involved for doing something so experimental. A creative approach like this is worth checking out.