The zero issues of DC’s new 52 have been reserved for origin-type stories that go back into a character’s past.
But the chaotic Harley Quinn never follows the rules — not entirely at least.
Harley Quinn #0 begins in the present, setting up 21 pages of art from some of the industry’s legends and some of its hottest newcomers to tell the origin of the title’s creative team.
How’s that for meta?
In her dream state, Quinn gets pages from industry legends like Walter Simonson, Sam Kieth, and Adam Hughes as well as some artwork from newer-comers like Stephane Roux and Becky Cloonan. Sections move frenetically from one to another as each new idea for Harley’s ongoing series gives its artist a chance to interpret Quinn with different themes and possible storylines which get thrown out for one reason or another.
There’s a Mad Men reference, an appearance on a late-night television show with the Joker as host, and a scene from Thelma and Louise if it starred Quinn and gal-pal Poison Ivy.
There are also some inside jokes, industry digs, and even that controversial suicide page drawn by contest winner Jeremy Roberts. The page in question has been changed from its original script, and it’s possibly one of the tamer pages in the issue now that’s it’s finally finished.
Quinn frequently breaks the fourth wall — most of the issue is an ongoing conversation with writers Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti who even get a chance to see themselves inserted into some of the panels. It’s very reminiscent of Marvel’s Deadpool, and this title could give the Merc with a mouth a run for his money with all of the mayhem and hijinks. Not that future issues will have the creative input of 20 or so individuals, but it’s clear that Palmiotti and Conner are thinking outside the box.
After she wakes up from her dream, Harley discovers she’s become the heir of some prime property in Coney Island. The pencils by Chad Hardin — the artist going forward — are dramatic with a Hughes-like quality, and the colors give the page a soft-focus look that’s artistic and edgy. It’s exciting to see that future issues will be in talented hands, and who knows what the creative team will come up with for Quinn’s adventures.
If the plotlines that were thrown about show any promise about the possibilities and direction, it could be one very humorous and crazy ride — even if the authors don’t stick to their word about the fourth wall.
Harley Quinn #0 (2014)
Words: Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti
Pencils: Charlie Adlard, Art Baltazar, Becky Cloonan, Amanda Conner, Darwyn Cooke, Tony Daniel, Chad Hardin, Adam Hughes, Dave Johnson, Sam Kieth, Jim Lee, Tradd Moore, Dan Panosian, Jeremy P. Roberts, Stephane Roux, Walter Simonson, and Bruce Timm
Inks: Charlie Adlard, Art Baltazar, Becky Cloonan, Amanda Conner, Darwyn Cooke, Sandu Florea, Chad Hardin, Adam Hughes, Dave Johnson, Sam Kieth, Tradd Moore, Dan Panosian, Jeremy P. Roberts, Stephane Roux, Walter Simonson, Bruce Timm, and Scott Williams
Colors: John Kalisz, Lovern Kindzierski, Lee Loughridge, Tomeu Morey, Paul Mounts, Alex Sinclair, Alex Sollazzo, Dave Stewart
Letters: John J. Hill
Next Issue: Harley Quinn #1 Review