When I first heard about this book when it was originally solicited, I thought to myself “Is this a joke?” Oh wait, yes it was. So initially I thought, pass. Then I heard about the plot of using Harley Quinn’s alter ego Doctor Harleen Quinzel and have her open up a 12 step support group and said this looks like a ton of fun!
In a world where most superhero stories have been done to death, this seemed to be an untapped gold mine of possibilities. I wasn’t sold 100 percent until I heard Jim Lee was tapped to draw it and I was ALL aboard.
Now having read the issue in my hands, this was a great choice. We had a great premise, a fun wacky main character and guest stars galore. (I will try not to spoil them all)
We start our session with Harley sitting on the couch gazing aimlessly into her TV, when she has a day dream that sets her on a strange life altering course. (Is there any other type in comic book land?)
She comes to an address that she was provided and finds a folder that says “Evil Anonymous”. Harley is skeptical at first, but since the contents are written in cut out letters in ransom note style it grabs her attention. She then realizes that she has a true purpose. She will create a 12 step program to help wayward super villains. (No worse than politicians, I suppose)
Her first patient? The maniacal Man-Bat. Talk about a fixer upper! She chases the former Dr Langstrom from the skies and actually mounts him on the back mid flight and tries to diagnose him. This makes for quite the visually comical sequence and I enjoyed her inner monologue even if it did seem quite “Deadpoolish.” Of course this outing goes all but terrible and Harley and Man-Bat almost die in a horrific crash because Man-Bat’s serum wears off and he reverts back to his human self unconscious in an alley. Good Ol’ Harley though takes it as she cured the monster and she chalks this one up as a W in the record books.
With new found vigor, she decides to get the word out that she is there to help all those evil souls who are down on their luck, realizing they may have just had one bad day too many.
At first it does go swimming like and a cadre of lesser known B villains start coming to see the “Shock Doc” but then something funny happens. Harley starts getting bored and her altruism streak is in jeopardy. So too the advice of her favorite gal pal and sinful bestie, Poison Ivy she decides to go a little foul play with her treatments. (Look out Kevorkian) She starts using her patients for their inner most secrets on their hideouts and scores. It pays off too, until … the Justice League shows up.
Well you can pretty much guess what goes on from there. Beat, retreat, repeat. However there’s a twist. Harley in her damaged psyche thinks she really is trying to help people and she believes the heroes are the true bad guys, holding the likes of her and brethren down. The only one to take pity on her is Batman, and she headbutts him right in the face. (Oh boy if you ain’t supposed to tug on Superman’s cape, what does it say about headbutting Batman?)
It seems back to status quo for our lovable scamp Harley, but wait.. wasn’t there someone behind the scenes who set this all up?
Now I’m going to stop right there and let y’all see it for yourselves.
Overall: As for this book, I absolutely enjoyed it. It was very different and just plain fun. The twist at the end was nice but I wish they would have kept this angle for Harley for more than one book. Even though she doesn’t make her big screen debut until this August (played by the wonderful Margot Robbie) in the very anticipated movie Suicide Squad, it was good to get a nice peek into what we may be able to expect. The art was as epic as only Jim Lee can bring. He does wonderful action sequences and splash pages, but also handles the quieter moments with some flare. Sean Galloway brought his ultra cartoony style to a small portion of the book and given the subject matter, I didn’t find it detracting as it normally is. Now I’m not too familiar with writer Rob Williams but he seemed to have a great handle on how to handle Harley’s loose cannon candor.
Sure the jokes might have been about as subtle as being hit with a wooden mallet over the the head and a little on the nose, but hey that’s not always a bad thing. We’re all a little bit damaged in some way and sometimes its just nice to sit back and be part of this imperfect world. After all it takes all kinds… first step is to admit it.
Story: Rob Williams Art: Jim Lee & Sean Galloway
Story: 8 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy