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Harley Quinn: Preludes and Knock-Knock Jokes

Karl Kesel (Author) and Terry Dodson and Rachel Dodson (Illustrators) D.C. Comics (Publisher)

> Review by Carolyn Marcille

I used to watch Batman: The Animated Series. That’s where I was first introduced to the character of Harley Quinn. She was never my favorite; her shrill voice and slavish devotion to that madman the Joker didn’t really endear her to me. So I spent a good many years dismissing her. But here, Quinn breaks out on her own after a betrayal by the Joker, using her singular skills to start up her own criminal franchise in the already crowded Gotham underground. Harley’s expressive eyes are part of what sold me; her expressions are beautifully wrought and amazingly subtle, especially considering she wears a mask. And the colors almost explode off the page, with the traditional “BAM!” “POP!” “BLAMMO!” that you may remember from vintage Batman comics and TV. It’s a pop wonderland, packed full of fast writing, great one-liners, small background details and numerous cameos. Harley is a wonderfully clever character, and incredibly fun to read. Seven issues are collected here, and not once does Batman make an appearance. Is he missed? Not in the least. When Harley Quinn hosts a get-together for Gotham’s female super villains in Issue Two, you find yourself hoping Batman never stops by to break up the party.

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