Gotham’s femme fatale not joking

By Marie-Claire Backhaus

In Gotham, the story of good and evil is not the only interesting conflict. In the first comic book of the new series Harley Quinn, we take a trip into the untold world of the criminally insane. Gotham isn’t easy for a girl nowadays. Sure, there is fun, but there’s also crime. And what about disillusioned love?

Our story starts with a clever escape from prison by our criminal heroine, Harley Quinn. The madly-in-love Quinn makes her escape with her "Puddin" (The Joker). After he is rescued, the Joker has no intention of being her "Puddin" anymore. "Harley has her uses–running and fetching me out of mine shafts, like a good Lassie," the Joker jests. He starts his plan to have the last laugh on her.

While this is going on, a new amusement park is being completed. This park mocks the highlights of Gotham. Capitalizing on what is considered by the park owner to be an urban legend, there are versions of the criminal element of Gotham and the Dynamic Duo (Batman & Robin). The old Batman television show is the butt of this joke, with the mock Robin saying "Holy unholy alliance, Batman!" The amusement park also has a rollercoaster called "The Jokester’s Return."

The Joker plans to take out two birds with one stone. By taking Quinn down, the Joker will get the last laugh. However, Quinn is smarter than she seems, so who will truly be getting the last laugh? This remains to be seen.

This book is a lot of fun, letting us play in the darker side of Gotham instead of just Batman, Robin and BatGirl. Harley Quinn develops character changes fast in her own comic, moving from a flat character to a dynamic character. The art is fitting to the story, but changes and develops as the book progresses from old-school Jetsons art (thick outlines and blocky colouring) to a more defined DC comics style (highly shaded and shaped).

It suits the story. Harley becomes independent of the Joker, especially by the way she is drawn she becomes more of a defined character. Though this comic leaves you with a great girl power feeling because of the strong female characters like Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. This book could be enjoyed by anyone. In the end Harley Quinn’s romance isn’t perfect, but the joke’s on you if you thought it would be.

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