Don’t judge a book by its cover. Now there is a lesson I learned at a young age, but somehow I find myself relearning it over and over again throughout life, in many situations. I learned it today, in the literal sense, when I decided to pick up Harley Loves Joker. On the outside it looks silly, cartoony, and perhaps flat out ridiculous. But that could not be further from the truth. Okay, it’s silly and cartoony, but it’s most certainly not ridiculous. I think lately, I have been so caught up in intricate story-lines, realistic art, and complicated premises that I have forgotten to let loose and enjoy something that is just outright fun. Paul Dini brings us the first of a two-part story that intrigued me so much, I felt compelled to write a review for it when I never planned on writing one in the first place. Let me also tack on that, yes, the art seems a little cartoony. But really look at it. Artist Bret Blevins and colorist Alex Sinclair drew this comic to perfection. The details, the body proportions, the shading… Every panel was drawn with care and drawn to match the story that was being told. As odd as it may seem to read what I’m about to say, this was the perfect comic.
What is the only situation that would ever have the reader rooting for the bad guy? Rooting for the manipulative, psychopathic murderer and his victim who is not only insane but suffers from an extreme case of Stockholm syndrome? Of course the Joker and Harley Quinn. The story, as mentioned before is light-hearted, totally random, but so much fun. Harley wakes up in bed next to the Joker. Hilariously, they stole the deed to an extravagant home from some rich people by locking them in the bowels of a cargo ship and sending them off around the world. I mean come on, that’s funny if you think about it. After stealing the house, they had it remodeled by some fellow Gotham criminals, the Wonderland Gang. They owe them 3 million dollars for the work. So what does our beloved Harley do? She robs places to get the money. The only bad part is that a criminal called the Grison keeps beating her and Joker to the scenes and stealing the loot before they do.
Fed up with Grison, Harley and Joker set a trap on the Penguin’s yacht, and Harley’s disguise is so amusingly obvious that all you can do is laugh and keep reading. Harley inadvertently finds herself kidnapped and face to face with the Grison. We see Grison’s whole backstory, to which Harley falls asleep during the telling of it (another haha moment). As it turns out, she is an old nemesis/coworker of Harley’s, before Harley went crazy, who underwent a procedure to become half human half Grison. In the end, she reveals that she has only been trying to get the Joker’s attention, and she gives him all of the loot she stole. The issue ends on Harley Quinn’s shock that the Joker welcomes Grison to the team.
All in all, pick this title up. It’s fun, it’s silly, it’s serious, it’s not-so-serious, the art is fantastic, and I truly do want to know what happens next. It’s nice to take a break from being so stern with the comics I generally read. I don’t normally give comics a full 10/10, but for what this comic is… Call it the genre, if you will, it gets a 10. If this was meant to be, say, part of the Metal series, definitely not a 10. But go into it with the understanding that this is purely fun. I truly wish this was more than just a two-part story. But hey, sometimes the best things in life are short-lived. We see that a lot with music, i.e. Nirvana, Sublime, Jimi Hendrix…etc… Very well done!
(Oh, and props to me for somehow relating my review to a couple awesome grunge bands and the purple haze artist himself. Lol, epic.)