Every once in a while, DC puts out a comic that surprises me so thoroughly that I have to go back on everything I’ve ever said about that character. Harley Quinn was not my favorite DC character. I’ve always found myself irritated by her incessant need for Mr. J (the Joker for those not in the loop). She felt fake, one-sided and a woman desperate for attention. Then Harley Quinn Volume #1: Hot in the City found its way to me. I have been so wrong about Harley Quin..
Starting just after an “explosive” break up with the Joker, Harley discovers that she has been left a building all to herself as an inheritance from a former patient. While her new penthouse apartment seems like a lark, she also is now responsible for being a landlord to her tenants and paying off the IRS for property taxes. She gets a job at an old folks’ home as a therapist (it’s as good as you think) and sets to make friends in her new home. She also joins a local renegade roller derby league to make a little extra cash on the side (even better than you think). Unfortunately, there is a bounty on her head and assassins keep finding her. With some help from Poison Ivy and her new friends, Harley starts to settle down in her new home with humorous consequences.
Harley Quinn Volume #1 pulls no punches making fun of DC’s recent missteps and imperfections. Artists, authors and even company heads are mocked openly and with colorful artwork. In one panel, a DC meeting regarding recent titles is bombed with animal waste. I applaud DC for being able to make fun of themselves as they are trying to build back up a female fan base after many recent errors. Harley Quinn is sarcastic, funny and just plain insane. While much of the art is drawn for an audience who loves the ladies (butt poses, cutesy faces, unnatural positions), there is still enough girl power between Harley and Ivy to set this reviewers heart ablaze. Her time with the local roller derby team is hilarious (albeit mostly innaccurate) and the Harley Quinn roller derby costume is something I want desperately for those myriads of Quinn cosplayers to take up the mantle of.
Harley, I was wrong about you. You’re insane, plain and simple. You’re my kind of anti-hero.
Harley Quinn Volume #1: Hot in the City is available now from DC Comics.