Future State: Harley Quinn #1 is the first comic I read as part of DC’s Future State and if it’s any indication, we’re in for a treat of two months. With the multiverse saved in Dark Nights: Death Metal and a world of possibility now open, DC has taken that opportunity to take two months to tell stories about possible futures. New creative teams with new concepts breathing some fresh air into a line that has been all over the place.
In this future Gotham, The Magistrate has come in getting rid of Batman and the outlawing of “masks”. A high-tech police state, the world feels like the futuristic takes we’ve seen in so many anime, neon yet dark.
Writer Stephanie Phillips delivers a very interesting start of things in Future State: Harley Quinn #1. Harley has been captured by a reformed Jonathan Crane, aka Scarecrow. Instead of being executed, she’s tasked with providing her expertise and knowledge in how to capture other villains still loose in the city. It’s a spin on a concept we’ve seen so many times before and near perfected in Silence of the Lambs. Harley plays Hannibal Lector’s role to Crane’s Clarice.
It’s a very interesting spin on the character and one we’ve only seen here and there. Phillips lays heavily into Quinn’s previous experience working with inmates in Arkham and that expertise is what’s on display. It’s a welcome change to the dynamic moving away from the wacky jokes and off the wall energy and instead giving us something familiar but new. This Harley still makes cracks and goes on tangents but is less of a Looney Tunes character. It’s one I personally enjoy reading a lot more and hopefully this is what we can expect when her regular series returns.
Phillips also really digs into the drive of some of Batman’s rogue gallery. It’s something that’s not explored enough and to see this solution of dealing with them makes you question what’s been done before. Harley points out what’s driving these villains and uses it against them to capture them.
The art by Simone Demeo, colorist Tamra Bonvillain, and letterer Troy Peteri pops. As I described above, the style reminds me much more of manga and anime with brighter colors highlighted by pinks, purples, blues, and reds. There’s a dayglow aspect about it all that catches the eye as it looks so different than what DC regularly publishes. The character designs too are fantastic with an animated/anime style about them. It’s visually fantastic to go along with a solid story.
Future State: Harley Quinn #1 is a hell of a start and I world I want to see more of. There’s so much teased and hinted at, I want more! Two issues are not enough! The look and story are fantastic and such a change from what we’ve seen so often with the character. While some aspects are familiar and been done, the overall package is fresh and new. It’s a fantastic comic with Harley Quinn and that’s coming from someone who’s not the biggest fan of the character. If I’m recommending it, it’s a solid buy.
Story: Stephanie Phillips Art: Simone Dimeo
Color: Tamra Bonvillain Letterer: Troy Peteri
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review