Written by: Kelley Puckett
Pencils by: Mike Parobeck
Ink by: Rick Burchett
Colour by: Rick Taylor
Letters by: Tim Harkens
Edited by: Scott Peterson, *Darren Vincenzo. (*Associate Editor)
Harley Quinn is a beloved character in the world of DC Comics, having first been introduced on the famous television show ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ back in 1992. Nowadays, Harley has become an icon of comic book fandom, and in her stories she has been adapted into multiple team up groups such as the Suicide Squad and Gotham City Sirens, as well as making it out on her own in her self titled solo series as she has evolved from Joker’s sidekick/love interest into a villain/anti-hero who doesn’t take any crap from anybody. Her latest adaptations include her own animated show on the DC Universe streaming service, as well as a popular live action portrayal back in 2016 by actress Margot Robbie who is reprising her role for the upcoming 2020 film ‘Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn’ as well as the new Suicide Squad film that’s currently in production and is due for release sometime in 2021, though that is yet to be confirmed as it is possibly subject to change. Whatever you know her from or whichever portrayal you prefer, Harley Quinn is unmistakably one of the most fun characters in the DC Universe and her rise to fame in comics all started with ‘The Batman Adventures #12 – Batgirl: Day One’.
In this issue, Barbara Gordon is attending a costume party with her friends. After a discussion with her father about Batman, who is currently away from Gotham, it is revealed to the reader that Barbara Gordon’s costume is a Batman-esque costume to show her love of Gotham’s Dark Knight. However, when she arrives at the party and attempts to find her friend, she instead has a run in with Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, who are working together to kidnap Barbara’s friend and demand a ransom from her rich family. Dressed in a Batman-like costume, Barbara is mistaken by Harley as one of Batman’s allies sent to stop them, and after some humorous conflict that leaves Harley Quinn dazed and confused on the floor, and Barbara using the life of a plant to distract Ivy whilst Barb and her friend Sandy escape, Barbara, Sandy, Ivy and Harley are all captured by goons dressed as police officers.
Tied down onto tables, the four of them awaken to find that the goons belong to none other than the infamous jewel thieving villain Catwoman, who Harley accuses of trying to steal their idea, when in fact Catwoman has no interest in ransoming a child and instead wants to steal a precious diamond that is being kept secure in the room above. After she attempts to make a successful getaway, Barbara convinces Ivy to help her get loose from her binds, and in return, Barbara saves her friend, and retrieves the jewel from Catwoman. In the end, she is successful in saving the day, but in the end she throws her costume away and no one is any wiser as to who was beneath the mask.
This is a great issue from a series that’s entertaining for kids and adults alike. The art style fits the animated series, which also means the violence in it is humorous and not very violent at all as there is no bloodshed and certainly no graphic imagery. Harley Quinn’s character is written just as she was in the show, with a little anger thrown into a mix of desperate attempts to succeed and of course let’s not forget her aspect of humour in serious situations, such as being nearly knocked unconscious by her own attempt to headbutt someone.
Overall, this is a story that you could give to a younger reader to introduce them to Harley Quinn and other DC characters, and this entire series from what I’ve read is just as humorous as the animated show itself, so it’s suitable for younger audiences, but as we all know, it’s definitely older readers beyond their 20’s like myself that enjoy these books more than the younger readers, so if you haven’t yet, I’d recommend finding this series on whatever platform you use to read comics digitally, as finding some of these issues physically is going to cost you well over a reasonable price in my opinion.