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Harley Quinn & The Birds Of Prey #1

Writers: Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti
Artist: Amanda Conner
Colorist: Paul Mounts
Letters: John J. Hill.

Conner and Palmiotti are back at it again. After finishing their run on Harley Quinn in the middle of last year the pair moved on from their now career defining book, but an off from DC to write a Black Label mini series was just too much to pass up.

SPOILERS BELOW!

Book one started with Harley,Ivy an a nearly naked Redtool are holding Superman, hilarious referred to as Pooperman by Harley. And what is the trio of anti-heroes doing with Superman you ask? Why they’re making him make them some strong as Kryptonian shots. Superman reveals that the reason he was killed by Doomsday was because of is x-ray vision, which showed him a little more than he wanted to see and distracted him. Harley is already bored and gives Supes the location of his friend Jimmy Olsen and Superman flies off to save the day. Harley then wakes up in a full bed, with her Gang of Harley’s. Harley escapes to the roof and after a run in with Powergirl and fills her in on why her and Ivy are no longer together. Harley & Ivy went on a little vacation to a deserted island and Harley (intentionally?) didn’t drop the anchor and the love birds were trapped on the island. They were eventually rescued by Harley’s half robot Sy Borgman, but Ivy needs some space and leaves Harley for a break.

Harley then reveals she and her Gang were attacked by the people that were letting her rent her hotel on Coney Island, when she fell behind on payments instead of getting penalties her friend gets the shit beat out of him. Harley and her Gang go to see her friend Tony and Harley decides she’s gonna get even. What happens is the reason this book is published under the Black Label. Harley brutalizes the muscle of the Defeo Mortgage Company! She catapults the hotel sign in their window and cuts a guy in half! After learning that the whole attack was caught on camera Harley blows up the last muscle, and Mr. Defeo puts out a hit on Harley if she steps foot back in Gotham, al of which is being watched by Huntress. Harley, one her of gang members and Redtool board a train to Gotham, but Harley waits until they fall asleep and cuts off their car, so she can go to Gotham and handle her problem on her own.

Harley is then warned by an incognito Huntress that there are armed men on the train coming for her, sent be Defeo. Harley & Huntress get everyone off the train and then Holy Beatdown, Batman! Harley an Huntress make short work of the hit men, except one who easily has the drop on them…until Cassandra Cain comes out of nowhere and kicks him out of the train. Harley asks how the rest of the Birds are s they trio are getting off the train…and runs into Gotham’s best cops Renee Montoya, who immediately tells Harley she needs to get the hell out of Gotham.

Thoughts: Conner and Palmiotti are some of the best plotters in comics currently working. And Conner is almost unmatched in her fluid, constantly amazing artwork. The fight scene between Harley and Defeo’s muscle was absolutely perfect. The train fight scene is fantastic as well. I will be 100% honest in that I don’t enjoy Harley Quinn. I can appreciate what Conner & Palmiotti do, but the character just doesn’t connect with me, and this story didn’t change my opinion at all. It was exactly what I knew it would be, and there’s nothing wrong with that it’s just not for me. I love violence, I fucking love swearing, I love blood and brutal dismemberment, but there has to be something that leads to it. Violence for violence’s sake doesn’t do it for me. And that’s how this feels. Harley gone overboard, because she’s a sociopath, and it just doesn’t ‘o’ anything for me. Sorry that makes it sound like I didn’t like this, which is not at all true. It’s a perfectly fine Harley Quinn story, and for fans of Conner & Palmiotti it feels like a continuation of their series.

Grade time: Easy B for me. Strong art with an ok story is good. The dialogue feels natural, well as a natural as a story about a mass murdering super hero can feel, and the creative team has spent so much time with Quinn that they know exactly what does and doesn’t work for the character. I love that Harley’s queerness hasn’t been erased from the comics and that Conner and Palmiotti don’t shy away from it at all. Ivy’s anger at Harley again feels natural. If someone stranded me on a deserted island you best believe I’m gonna be mad as hell as well!

Overview: If you liked Conner and Palmiotti’s run on HQ hen you’ll love this. It works in the Harley-verse that they’ve set up. The art is fantastic. Conner’s fluidity is awe-inspiring. The bad guy feels like he’s actually dangerous. Clearly Harley and the Birds are going to come out on top, but he has some serious firepower he’s throwing at them. I can’t wait to see how Canary, who I don’t believe has killed anyone in canon, will react to Harley just pressing down on Huntress and Cain’s blood lust buttons. Plus Montoya is Gotham’s best cop and I can’t wait to see how she reacts to all of this!

What did you guys think of the book? Leave a comment below!

Charlie Flickinger lives just outside of Cleveland, Ohio with their husband of 3.5 years. Gender Queer. Pop Punk at heart. Disaster Bi. They inspire to write queer comics and love pro wrestling (Please give them Sasha Banks vs Becky Lynch for the rest of forever), super hero comics (Catwoman is the best part of the Batman universe) and music (P!nk is their Queen and they will fight you about her).

February 22, 2020
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