DC Universe Christmas Comics Review #1

I have the DC Universe app and they have COMICS on there, so I decided to review comics on my blog.


Harley Quinn Holiday Special
1 Holiday Issue
2014


Written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner
Pencils by Darwyn Cooke, William Tucci, Brandt Peters, and Mauricet
Inks by Darwyn Cooke, William Tucci, Brandt Peters, and Mauricet

Rating:


(Taken from the DC Universe app, linked above)

A gut-busting collection of short stories featuring Harley and her special brand of holiday cheer! Can she get through Christmas dinner without blowing something up? Who will survive the war of the department-store Santas? Don’t miss this one—after all, you can’t spell “holidays” without “Harley!” (give or take a couple letters).

Harley Quinn is one of those characters that has seemed to take on a life of her own. She has largely surpassed the stature of her original intention as the sidekick to the Joker. She has become immensely more popular from her “Batman: The Animated Series” days that saw her debut. She has starred in her own ongoing series, been featured in film (Suicide Squad), and has so many darn action figures and toys that you could create an entire room in your house devoted to her. This is why making a holiday special comic book with her featured was probably a wise move, financially, for DC comics. She has clout, simply put. This special takes all the antics you would normally expect from a character like Harley and just adds in the Christmas element to them.

There are several stories contained within this holiday special. The first one focusing on the fact that she loves animals, maybe a little too much. She has to get rid of some pets and so she goes around trying to get rid of them. Hilarity ensues as she tries to go about this and where it leads her to showcases that one of the reasons people like Harley is that even through all the crazy antics, the girl has a heart of gold. There is a quality to her that showcases that she loves deeply and understands when people are hurting. She does not want to see other people hurt. There is a great nod to the fact that she was a psychiatrist when she places on some glasses in one scene. Even though Harley is a bad guy, we feel that she is more of an anti-hero. This first story reminds us of both. She is not a good guy, but she isn’t all together the most evil person on the planet either. She is someone fractured and broken in many ways and recognizes that quality in other people. It greatly endears this particular character to my own heart. Knowing how it feels to want to help others and to feel broken and damaged yourself. Of course, the main difference is I am not going to threaten to kill anyone with an axe at any point of my life. I shouldn’t say that because then tomorrow I will probably threaten someone with an axe for some reason. The artwork for this first tale is really well-drawn. It takes on a more traditional and faithful comic book drawing approach, which works for it. The artwork keeps us grounded in the story, which is good since we are supposed to give Harley a more human side, as we read. It is definitely understood that this is part of the make-up of this particular Christmas Harley tale. 

The second story is all about Harley getting a christmas earworm. She keeps hearing humming from the earworm where ever she goes. Harley gets upset because she wants to stop hearing all these various Christmas tunes. Goodness, I could relate to this. At least once a Christmas season, I know I want the Christmas music to stop as well. As with all Harley stories, hilarity again ensues in her quest to end the humming. The ending of this tale is satisfying and definitely fits with the Christmas season. It made me warm and fuzzy, like any Christmas story should do. The issue with this tale though is the artwork. It is definitely removed from the traditional style of comics and takes on an exaggerated form. In the story, Harley’s head is bigger than her entire body, due to the artwork. This removed me from the story greatly. While I enjoyed the storytelling that artwork really was upsetting and I wish they had went in a different direction with this highly relatable tale of Christmas music woe. This artwork is the primary reason that this is not a 5 christmas ornament review. If it had been better, I think I would have given this 5 christmas ornaments for sure. Overall it was the only real flaw throughout.

The third story was the friggin’ weirdest of all of them. It is about Harley getting upset about a gray hair and realizing that time is marching on. A side character introduces the idea of father time to her and the story takes off from there. The storytelling of this one is great, just like the others. It takes what could have been a real disaster of a story and cements its place in the holiday special. It has a reason to be there and is focused more on the New Year’s aspects of the holiday season. I enjoyed that this was included. Reminded me that the “holiday season” focuses on more than just Christmas. The artwork here feels a little like a mix between the first and the second story, but unlike the second it doesn’t distract from the tale. I think this is because it takes on a more “Batman: The Animated Series” feel to it than just a weird take on the character, which is what the second tales felt like. This style is something we are used to with Harley, so it didn’t make me enjoy this story any less. I found myself really enjoying Harley Quinn, which is a character that I haven’t read a lot of. I have seen her in the film “Suicide Squad” but never took the time to get that into her stories. I am glad I read this holiday special because I can see myself enjoying the other available comics featuring this character. She is cooky, zany, and seems to be a deeply relatable character even if she is friggin’ crazy!  

Harley Quinn has her own ongoing series as well! Some of these are available on the app!


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