Alright, I finally had a break in my other New 52 re-reads to once again gobble down these literary morsels of delight!
Thoughts: I love this volume of Harley Quinn.
The original series (that began in 2000) was kind of…meh (those Dodson covers sure were nice, though), so when this one began in 2013, I thought “I love Harley, but can she work in a solo ongoing this time around, given how lackluster what I’ve read of the original series was?”
Oh, she worked in The New 52 and then some!
If I wrote a Harley ongoing, it’d probably be just like this series was: heartfelt, zany, “fun” in all the right ways and with an ample dose of pop culture references dropped in along the way.
I’ve been a fan of Amanda Conner’s since 2005 when JSA Classified debuted. Her Power Girl is quite powerful indeed, as is her Harley.
When I think of favorite renditions of some of my favorite characters, Amanda Conner’s takes on them are definitely among my top 10 GOAT list. She can do the serious just right, the comical and goofy to gut-busting grandeur and the cough other cough kind of art ain’t too shabby, either (seriously, JSA Classified #1 is just…yeah).
I’m glad that this series has had such a profound, positive impact on Harley and not only in the comics, but also her outside media representation as well.
The Harley Quinn TV series is effectively this series come to animated life, and I know for sure that a certain sizable segment of Harley’s fandom since 2013 can point to this series as their gateway into not just Harley, but the overall DC brand as well.
Some would argue there’s two different periods of Harley’s near-30 year existence…
-1. Batman: The Animated Series to Pre-New 52 (1992-2011), where she was a fixture of the DCAU from '92-'99, then debuted in the comics. In both animation and comics, she was largely the Joker’s squeeze.
Upon breaking up with him, she worked to better herself and went on adventures with Selina and Pam in Gotham City Sirens (which is one of my all-time fav series to star Harls).
-2. The New 52 to Present Day (2011-well, present day ): Her second ongoing explodes in popularity and comes to redefine the character for a new DC Universe, while also largely redefining her for live-action and animated representations as well.
The Rebirth volume of Harley Quinn continued that revitalization with aplomb (while Palmiotti and Conner were on the book) and both it and the New 52 series serve as some of the most standout series of the last decade to have dramatically reinvented (and improved) a character that was already great from the get-go.
…and to those who’d argue Harley’s existence fits that two-part mold, I’d have to agree, as I’ve been a Harley fan since Day One in 1992, and have followed her entire evolution.
That’s something I take a reasonable amount of pride in, because how many other triumphantly amazing, awesome, very well-known beyond comic fandom and highly-influential, decades-young characters can most of us say we’ve followed since they debuted? For me, Harley is the one.
In conclusion, these issues were a lot of fun to revisit. Thanks, @Razzzcat!
SN: Harley Quinn Annual #1 is one of my favorite issues of this series. In print, the rub and smell part wasn’t so spectacular (a fun idea, though), but digitally, that’s not an issue (so to speak) and one can just enjoy the book, stank-free.
SN 2: @Razzzcat and @darkstarz Thanks for the mention of that fella with the Harley omni, as I subscribed to his channel.