Artist: Neil Googe
This is one of the Villains Month issues that I was half looking forward to, but was slightly sceptical about. I did however become more excited about the issue, as after finding out that Harley Quinn was getting her own series I've been really looking forward to it, seeing this as a teaser.
Now out of the Suicide Squad, Harley returns to Gotham City to wreck some havoc.
This was a decent story, though it didn't feel like the same Harley Quinn I've enjoyed over the years. Matt Kindt did however do a decent job of making a very interesting story, that was well structured, it was just a shame he got Harley's characteristics off a bit. Kindt did however do a good job of showing the turmoil that Harley is going through, as although I've not been following Suicide Squad it has been made clear that she isn't too happy at the moment. Due to this it was probably fitting to go with a dark tone of story, but I personally feel that she needs a fun edge to her, which she was missing for most of the issue, and I hope that the upcoming Harley Quinn series is much better.
I really enjoyed the artwork in this issue, as although the style isn't what I usually prefer I think it suited Harley perfectly. Neil Googe is an artist I'm not overly familiar with, but his cartoonish style was brilliant in this issue, though I wasn't too sure if it was fitting considering the dark nature of the story. I did however love the layout, especially near the start, as it added a lot of depth to the story. I also loved how Googe handled the emotion in this issue, as although Harley isn't a character that I'd call over emotional, it was shown well in this issue. I also felt that the colours went well with Googe's art, and that Wil Quintana did an outstanding job.
This issue would show what it was like for Harley growing up as Harleen in a family that was very different from her. Now I personally enjoyed this part of the story, as although not overly entertaining, it allowed some light to be shone on her time growing up, showing that she's always lived a unusual lifestyle. I also found it interesting to find out that even from an early age that Harley was an intelligent person, as although it doesn't always come across that way, it's nice to see that it's always been the case.
With this issue being mostly an origin story it would also naturally show Harley during her time as a psychiatrist. What I loved most about this was that it showed her doing the same job outside Arkham Asylum prior to moving to Arkham for more of a challenge. I liked this as I never thought that Harley would have had a job prior to Arkham, whereas it makes sense that she would, adding a bit of normality. I did however feel that it was the moving to Arkham that showed her unique way of being a psychiatrist, and how it ultimately lead her to become Harley.
Talking about becoming Harley this obviously also showed that, and this was my personal favourite bit, as it showed signs of the Harley that I enjoyed from Batman: The Animated Series in the 90's, also adding a little bit of fun to the issue. I also loved how it would show that she was basically put together from a lot of on the spot decisions, which seemed appropriate, and the way she went about got her outfit and giant hammer was very entertaining, though not enough to change the way she was shown through most of the issue.
Overall this wasn't a terrible story, but the characteristics of Harley Quinn were a bit off, as although it appears to be going along with the current status of Harley it doesn't quite feel like her. The story did however shed some interesting points about her life leading up to now. The story is also quite dark, but doesn't have much of the fun tone that usually comes along with Harley. It's hard to recommend this as part of me wants to, and part of me doesn't. I would however advice caution, especially if your a Harley Quinn fan.