You’re not going to believe me, but before I read this comic, I was seriously considering whether or not I was being too hard on this series. That was before I read this comic.
This comic made me sick to my stomach. It made not want to have to write this review because that would mean I’d have to go back and think about it and experience it again.
For this review, I will not be referring to the main character as “Harley Quinn,” even though that’s the name in the title. I’ll just be referring to her as “Quinnpool.” Why? Because the character in this comic has absolutely nothing in common with Harley Quinn. I really wouldn’t want Harley to be associated with this kind of stuff anymore.
The Only Good Joke in the Series?
The comic opens with Quinnpool getting out of the time machine and stepping on Wonder Woman as she’s being created as a clay baby. I thought that this was the only joke in the entire series that has worked so far. That’s because, instead of throwing out random events that happened to explain how Quinnpool got rid of the Justice League, this is a direct call back to how ludicrous Wonder Woman’s origins have always been. But that’s the end of anything positive I can say about this book.
The artwork is serviceable and I didn’t really have any complaints with it. The character designs aren’t very nice to look at despite how sexy Logan Faerber tries to make the. I suppose that fits with this kind of story, however.
As for the rest of the book? Think of it as if you’re back at school, talking with your friends, and then a 14 year old boy comes up to your table, and keeps saying “poop, poop, poop, sex, sex, sex, “ over and over again as if it’s funny just to try to get a reaction out of people. This comic is filled with such awkward dialogue and forced mentions of feces and bodily fluids that it feels like the writer himself didn’t care what he was doing. There’s also no sense of rhythm to make this comic feel like it has comedic beats. It’s just the writer tossing in gross words and sentences.
Quinnpool is an Abhorrent Character
In addition to the awful dialogue, the book continues to make no sense as Quinnpool’s doppelgänger knows everything about everyone with no explanation as to how. She explains to Quinnpool that her stepping on the clay baby killed Wonder Woman. At the mention of Wonder Woman, Quinnpool becomes horny again and briefly fantasies about how she’d like Wonder Woman to “tie her up…” Ah, another kinky sex reference from the character whom DC wants me to think is Harley Quinn – you know, the character they still use to sell costumes and toys to little kids.
This is added to the fact that Quinnpool has been portrayed as wanting to screw every adult Justice League member she has met. That through line continues to make the character even worse.
Quinnpool is an Abhorrent Character Part 2
Remember how Aquaman’s origin begins with his father rescuing his mother at sea and them having a baby? I bet you can see where the story is going now. Aquaman’s father finds Quinnpool at sea instead and, despite Quinnpool saying he “smells like Davey Jones’ Crotch,” decides to get “freaky deaky” with her. That’s Eisner award winning dialogue right there! And I suppose Frank Tieri just REALLY wanted to hit it home just how much of a strumpet Quinnpool is. “She’ll have sex with anyone! Even if they’re a smelly, disgusting stranger! Isn’t that fun?”
Of course, after that, it gets worse as Quinnpool describes Aquaman’s father as being a furry, but for fish. (That’s a person who has a sexual fetish for animals, or in this case, fish, for those who don’t know). We then get a page where we get to hear the dialogue of that encounter. All the while, Quinnpool keeps talking like a child which makes the whole ordeal even more gross and creepy. There’s also this odd tone where the characters appear to think that this encounter is weird and scandalous… but Quinnpool continues to go along with it anyway?
Quinnpool is NOT Harley Quinn
I would like to point out, however, that this kind of behavior is NOT a part of Harley Quinn’s character at all. It’s not how she’s being portrayed in her current comics. It’s not how she was in pre-New 52 comics. Even the Max Harley Quinn show, as raunchy as it tries to be, does NOT portray Harley as a character who just wants to have raunchy, disgusting sex with anyone she meets, whether they are open to it or not.
The only comic you could possibly point to in order to back up this behavior is Harley’s first origin story in Mad Love that implied she seduced her professors for good grades. However:
1. She did that as a means to an end, not just for the heck of it.
2. That’s a plot point that has been revised out of most Harley Quinn origin stories. Why? Because most people DON’T want to portray Harley as a harlot!
The only people who portray her as a trashy, hooker character who wants to have sex with everyone and everything are Amanda Connor, Jimmy Palmiotti, and their associate, Frank Tieri.
I don’t get the joke. What’s funny about making a character who acts like a child try to hook up with everyone? Amanda Connor once described Harley as a character who “does the things we’re not allowed to do, but we wish we could.” So, is it all just a bit of wish fulfillment for them? Are they basing their Harley Quinn rendition off of their independent character “The Pro,” who was portrayed as a “Superhero Prostitute” ? The answer is yes. The character in this book is not Harley.
The Consequences of DC’s Actions
I felt really horrible reading this book, knowing that this character carries Harley’s namesake, but I had a catharsis last week that made it better.
Last week, it was announced that Harley Quinn would be a part of the first arc of a new Birds of Prey series by Kelly Thompson. Kelly Thompson said that those at DC knew that this would be divisive. She claimed that this was because Harley has a big fanbase and a big hater-base. That’s the thing though, Harley DIDN’T used to have a big hater base. She legitimately used to be a fan-favorite character. It used to seem like she was universally beloved. Most fans of superhero media had a special place in their hearts for her.
Obviously, Internet opinions need to be taken with a grain of salt, but the big proof is in the sales themselves. Are people buying Harley comics? No, and they haven’t for a long while. When she appears in other books, there’s backlash. People HATE this character now, and that makes me incredibly sad. She used to be such a gem, but DC has no one to blame but themselves. As I heard former Batman News writer Joshua McDonald point out, both fans and comic news outlets have voiced their problems with Harley Quinn ad nauseam for years. DC is aware of this per Kelly Thompson’s tweets. The problem is they don’t care how low the sales get or how fans feel about it. They don’t care about changing. This leaves us with a once fan-favorite character who is hated now through overexposure and horrible representation.
However, like I said, that clarity almost makes me feel better. One of the worst things over the years has been hearing long time Harley Quinn fans claim that they aren’t fans of the character anymore because of how she’s been changed. At least people know this isn’t who Harley is supposed to be. At least these aren’t the kind of comics people want to pick up.
No one is buying this comic. It will be forgotten. It is about as relevant to the Harley Quinn character as a bootleg video game is to the real thing. If Harley is rescued as a character in years to come this comic will not be the inspiration for that. I’m sad that Harley as a character has been destroyed like this – so very sad. But at least I know that this isn’t what anyone is asking for. Readers know better than this. The problem is the management at DC Comics.
- I mean, did you think I was gonna recommend this comic after all that?
I don’t know what else to say that I haven’t said. I guess if you want to understand how a company can completely destroy a character, you can check this book out? I’m pretty convinced at this point that this book was pitched as “Harley Screws the DCU,” and DC just inserted the “Up” into the title to make it safe for release. It seems that Frank Tieri is mostly concerned with making Quinnpool try to hook up with everyone in the DCU.
…Until next time, when we find out Harley prevented Batman’s parents from being murdered because she was trying to have sex with Joe Chill.
Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News a copy of this comic for the purposes of this review.