Comic Reviews: Harley Quinn and The Illegitimates!


HARLEY_Cv1_R1_tk051e3bb3_ Harley Quinn #1-DC Comics

 After last month’s #0 issue, Harley has a new lease on life, and more importantly, the artist for her ongoing series. That artist is Chad Hardin, who’s penciling the script by Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner. Harley Quinn #1 is nothing like the previous issue. There’s no fourth wall breaking humor or jabs at the creative team. That doesn’t mean that it’s not fun though. Ms. Quinn’s first solo ongoing in the New 52 is full of surprises, and the characterization of Harley is particularly strong.

Learning that she’s been given an apartment on Coney Island by a recently deceased patient, Harley makes her way to the beach looking for a fresh start. Unfortunately, she needs to land a (legitimate) source of income.  This leads to Harley interviewing for a therapist position at a local patient center in disguise, and also trying out for a roller derby team.  At the same time, she learns that someone has put a hit out on her, and is attempting to kill her everywhere she goes.

Palmiotti and Conner’s script keeps the plot moving, and actually fits a lot into this opening issue.  The writing duo introduces us to Harley’s new status quo, her supporting cast and introduces two conflicts, all within this issue. They also have a clear sense of how Harley acts, and in many ways, it’s almost like a continuation of her stories in Batman: The Animated Series, just with a different costume. Seeing Harley’s struggle with going legit is a lot of fun, and you really root for her to get on the right side of the tracks.  Of course, we know this won’t last, but it’s really fun watching Harley attempt to do things like collecting rent from the tenants in her building or try to sneakily ace a job interview. This book throws a lot of reality into Harley’s world, something that I wasn’t expecting after reading last month’s “zero issue”.

It’s not a surprise to see that Chad Hardin was the man picked for this book. His art is really good, and manages to not be extremely gratuitous, which could have been a major issue with a book starring Harley (especially when you look at her “New 52” costume). His art is clean, fluid, and has a killer amount of detail; Harley’s facial expressions are fantastic, and really show Hardin’s strengths as an artist. I wasn’t aware of Hardin’s work before, but I definitely am now.

While I was expecting something more along the lines of a “caper of the month” style of story from Harley Quinn, but I’m pleasantly surprised with the story that I got. A book featuring Harley could’ve gone horribly, horribly wrong, but I’m glad to see that some of the zaniness of the character hasn’t been completely erased.  For fans of the character, this is an absolute must buy, and I’m genuinely excited for future issues featuring Ms. Quinn.



The Illegitimates #1 (of 6)-IDWthe-illegitimates-1-comic-book-pre-order-4

Ever hear of an idea for something and think, “Damn, why didn’t I think of that?” The Illegitimates is one of those ideas.

From Saturday Night Live cast member Taran Killam comes The Illegitimates, a team comprised of Secret Agent Jack Steele’s illegitimate children. After he’s killed in action, Jack Steele’s commanding agents are at a loss for how to handle their ongoing case. That is, until Steele’s boss reveals “Project Sire”, a project that has been keeping tabs on five children Steele conceived while on various missions. Now, they have to assemble these five and train them to help save the world!

Simply put, this is an extremely fun opening issue. Killam and Marc Andreyko’s script has a lot of set up, but their spoofs on classic James Bond tropes are hysterical, and right on target with everything Bond fans know and love.  Everything from the pick up lines to the evil genius villain (named “Dannikor” here) is here, and they’re spoofed so well it hurts.

Kevin Sharpe’s art is amazing. The final train battle between Steele and Dannikor is really well done and surprisingly gory.  The page revealing Steele’s fate actually made me pause and look over it for a few minutes. I had to take in all of the gory detail of Steele’s final mission. Another stand out is the full-page reveals of each of Steele’s offspring, which features spectacular design work on Sharpe’s part, with the mothers of the different children surrounded by the histories of their children.

 The Illegitimates is the kind of big-budget spy spoof that you would see in your movie theater over the summer (and who knows, maybe you will in a few years). It’s a lot of fun, and definitely a book to keep your eye on. Usually comics created by celebrities are crap, but with The Illegitimates Taran Killam has really surprised me. Hopefully he gets to create more books in the future.

Posted on December 18, 2013, in Comic book reviews, Comic Books and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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