Somehow I completely skipped over Harley Quinn’s first solo run in the 2000s. I figured I would just let loose with some general thoughts and others could add their own about what they think about the book. First thing I’ll say - this is probably the best solo book for Harley Quinn. When I started going through Harley’s solo books, I started with the New 52 and moved forward. Every era has its own unique strengths and weaknesses. Maybe it’s because I saved her first run for last, but I think every writer for Harley is trying to find a way to recapture/improve what worked in this first run.
It’s true that every solo title for a specific character is going to have similarities. But there are traits and echoes that can be clearly seen in succeeding solo books. Everything that Harley has done since New 52 - making her own criminal/vigilante group named after her, leaving to set up base in a new city, exploring a relationship (romantic or not) with Ivy, facing the consequences of her past back in Gotham - it can all be traced back to the first book. And I think that speaks to just how good this first volume was. The art is excellent, with memorable supporting characters, entertaining action/mischief, and even a little bit of heavy drama. This is mainly in regard to the final storyline of the first volume. I don’t want to spoil it in case you haven’t read it. However, I urge you to read all 38 issues to find out. I’ll guarantee you won’t be forgetting about it for at least a little while.
The first Harley Quinn solo book, while admittedly not perfect (there are a few loose ends never addressed) is an excellent read that still remains highly influential to the character. Please check it out!
I have no strong opinions about this take on Pre-new 52 Harley Quinn but I do have found it interesting Martian Manhunter comes around in issue 23 alongside his old police partner Diane Meade. It’s a arc centered on him which is funny in a Harley Quinn book but that’s irrelevant.
Harley Quinn after dying but her soul coming back and jumping into different people was pretty funny when J’onn attempting to stop her keep accidentally kidnapping people like her Harley jumping into two girl scouts.
In this story, The Martian Manhunter and Meade are implied to have romantic implications and towards the end it seems like this might be the case but thankfully nothing official was confirmed and that was good. Meade and J’onn make me appreciate a platonic couple with someone who is your opposite gender. They work way better as friends.
It’s also cool this book brought back Bette noir from the John Ostrander series. I hope we could see her again in the current comics.
The New 52 solo is a mixed bag because it still mixes bad writing that could be found in a lot of New 52 titles. And I think there is more good in her first book than your giving credit for. But that’s just my viewpoint
The New 52 volume of Harley Quinn is one of the more impactful representations of Harls, as much of what’s popular about her today, be it in comics and/or outside media, can be traced back to that series.
I thought the writing in the New 52 series was a vast improvement over the previous solo gig, as one advanced Harley to a great degree, while the other often floundered and felt very forced.
That said, Terry and Rachel Dodson’s art for v1 was fantastic.
Even when the writing fell short, the series always remained an absolute feast for the eyes while the Dodsons were on it.
While I might disagree with the writing in general for both volumes, I will admit that the New 52 did put in the work to establish Quinn as a more independent character. And while I think the writing was mixed for the New 52 solo, it wasn’t as bad as a lot of other titles in that area. I think her Rebirth book took what worked best and helped it evolve