Review: Harley Quinn Holiday Special #1

harley covHarley Quinn is probably the most bizarre of all supervillains across the entire medium of comics.  Although she is presented as certifiably insane and pure evil in some contexts, in other she is presented very differently.  In a way this is maybe even comparable to her major nemesis, Batman, who at times is presented very differently in his own titles, versus those of the bigger universe.  So Harley is either a murderous psychopath or a mischievous anarchist more interested in fun than harm.  It would seem as those that are big fans of the character regard her more as the latter, as a fun-loving character with the morality turned off.

For those fans of the latter, they are likely to enjoy the Harley Quinn Holiday Special (given #1 as an issue number, does DC plan to make this a yearly thing?)  This issue contains three stories, all of them loosely tied together with the concept introduced in the first one.  And those expecting to find a murder-themed Christmas special are only going to find puppies here instead.  Lots of puppies.  While the characters is not particularly Christmas themed, it is handled well here as her own neuroses and harley carpsychoses are melded well into the stories, two focusing on Christmas and one on New Year’s Eve.  In so doing she is shown to capture somewhat the Christmas spirit, even when the match doesn’t seem natural.

In terms of quality this is probably a bit far off of what most readers expect out of mainstream superhero comics, although fans of the character are likely to find this issue exactly on mark.  DC deserves some credit though for trying something a little different here.  Although trying new directions was lauded as one of the inspirations of the new 52, it has often been absent, and despite the previous holiday themed special falling flat (the Young Justice Valentine’s Day special), it is evident here that at times DC does let its creative teams have a wider net in which to catch.  This is by no means great comic writing, but it is quaint and fun, which is part of what Christmas is supposed to be about anyway.

Story: Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti  Art: Brandt Peters, Darwyn Cooke and Mauricet
Story:  8.2 Art: 8.2  Overall: 8.2  Recommendation: Read