Over the last year and a half, Harley Quinn experienced a major surge in popularity as her ongoing series became a surprise hit for DC Comics. Regularly one of the top-selling titles each month, Harley Quinn is an irreverent, off-kilter superhero comic that has become DC’s answer to Marvel’s similarly popular Deadpool, although Harley’s success is especially noteworthy because she’s a female character. In the midst of a wave of new titles spotlighting female superheroes, Harley is the figure that has made the biggest splash, and her influence is increasing with this week’s Harley Quinn #16 as she prepares to build a gang of Harleys with all the people that have applied for the assistant position at the building she manages.
This preview of next week’s issue breaks down Harley’s plan after a trip to the movies with her best friend Poison Ivy, giving co-writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner the opportunity to poke fun at current pop culture. After being disappointed by the new Mad Max and 50 Shades Of Grey, the pair heads to a diner where Harley figures out the future of her new gang, but Ivy has doubts that this endeavor will lead to less stress for her pal. The Harley and Ivy relationship is one of the best parts of this title, and the book is at its strongest when it’s a buddy comedy (Power Girl has also appeared for a very fun team-up with Harley, and their madcap adventure will continue in June’s Harley Quinn And Power Girl miniseries).
Chad Hardin has done great work with both the characters and environments on this title, bringing cartoonish expression to the former while providing a gritty urban aesthetic for the latter. The opening splash page of Harley Quinn #16 spotlights Hardin’s talent for diverse character designs, and later pages of this preview highlight the wide range of emotions he captures in his line work. Hardin and Harley are a perfect match, and it will be exciting to see what he does with a slew of new characters influenced by the harlequin antihero when Harley Quinn returns after Convergence.