Tag Archives: Harley Quinn

Suicide Squad, Volume 4 Discipline and Punish, by Ales Kot, Matt Kindt, Patrick Zircher

As always Suicide Squad is well drawn, descriptive and reasonably action packed. I once again fell in love with Harley Quinn and her spunky quips and it was an interesting concept to see the Suicide Squad’s progression from being submissive to Amanda Waller; to beating Waller herself into submission.

James Gordon Junior’s issues with the Mother complex and reading someone actually wanting to refer to Waller as ‘Mother’, was creepy and left a bad taste in my mouth. No doubt this was how it was meant to feel and it’s great that a graphic novel can produce such a strong emotion. It would be interesting to know how other readers reacted to it.

Suicide squad #4One thing in this volume, which I particularly disliked was the over-use of captions, such as ‘DEADSHOT. SHOOTS THINGS’. At first they were reasonably useful, a re-cap of who’s who, then with the introduction of James Gordon Junior and Cheetah they were snippets of potential back-story to flesh them out as characters, but after that they were unnecessary, irritating and a little ridiculous. Each subsequently unnecessary caption felt like a poor attempt at humour that, spoilt an otherwise entertaining page.

 

Getting several more detailed backstories was fantastic, it had to happen before the series is closed and it has been a long time coming. However I did feel that the inclusion of so many, made it particularly difficult to follow the plot as it became a little bit of a mish-mash.

 

I enjoyed the sudden appearance of Cheetah as she is fascinating as a character. One of the exciting things I take from these graphic novels is that you never know who might show up, who might get their head blown up and who might be (repeatedly) resurrected!

 

Overall I did enjoy the novel, it remains one of my favourite comic book series, but this particular volume is far from the best and certainly not my favourite as an individual novel. The Suicide Squad team had been Waller’s puppies since the day she rolled in, I find it hard to think that they would miss it as much, as the writers of this volume would have us believe. I feel there was much more potential and exploration to be had from this plot and it’s missing something. In the end it felt a little bland and out of character, in comparison to the previous 3 volumes. But I do look forward to seeing what volume 5 will bring and I hope we see more of Cheetah!

 

© Gemma Feltham 26th July 2014

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Harley Quinn #0 (The New 52)

So for my latest review I’ve moved away from novels and short stories and decided to celebrate and showcase my total obsession for all things Harley Quinn.

I was ecstatic when I found out Harley Quinn was getting her very own comic book series, I love her in everything I’ve read that she’s appeared in, loved the cartoons from when I was a kid and of course there are the computer games such as Batman: Arkham Origins in which she features once more as Mr J’s personal doting ball of crazy.

Firstly I personally think the cover to Harley Quinn #0 is stunning. The clothes and style in which Harley herself is drawn in (by Amanda Conner) portray her in her more sexual variant, while the inclusion of a large Mr J (iconic if not slightly odd in this form), covered in red lipstick kisses- presumably from Harley because who else would have him, pays homage to Harley’s ever eternal, sadistic and twisted infatuation with The Joker.

harley quinn

Moving on, the story for this issue focuses on Harley musing over the possibility of having her very own comic series, contemplating the different scenarios, clothing options and of course who would be the best artist for the job. Now I’ve heard of comic writers occasionally breaking the fourth wall- but Harley Quinn #0 doesn’t just break the fourth wall…it totally demolishes it and leaves nothing but rubble behind!

The first scene in which readers meet Harley is not the most flattering, featuring an assortment of rubbish, junk and a rather dirty and disheveled Harley; and she doesn’t seem to be in this state for any particularly stimulating reason. But she’s soon tidied up, whisked off, the fourth wall is smashed and the fun begins as Harley, the writers and various talented artists have her play out different scenes. 

One of my favourite inclusions throughout the whole issue is the use of typical Harley phrases such as ‘Puddin’, ‘Hunky Monkey’ and so on. Combined with the generally witty banter between the writers, artists and Harley Quinn, and the lighthearted approach; these phrases bring Harley’s character to life in a new way but also acknowledges the much-loved and iconic past of Harley’s character history. Also featured were other favourites of mine: Poison Ivy, Catwoman, The Joker, Batman, Harley’s trusty sledge hammer and a mention to my other slightly morbid love: Suicide Squad.

All the way through the art is again stunning, amusing and eyebrow raising- I never envisioned what Harley would look like as a pageant queen and now I know why, but interesting it was. Now it comes down to the nitty gritty. My favourite two scenes are the one by Jeremy Roberts- definitely want to see some future collaboration between Mr Roberts and Harley Quinn, and artist of Harley Quinn #1 Chad Hardin. Unfortunately having a most favourite means I also have a least favourite. Again I have two scenes by artists which are just as talented as the rest but who’s work didn’t really push my buttons, and they are Darwyn Cooke, because although the skill is evident I was never a huge fan of the Jetson; and Art Baltazar- again obvious skill but it was just far too cutesy for my slightly more macabre taste.

Overall I have high expectations for great things to come for future issues and would recommend to anyone looking for something new to try- especially people looking for something different to the regular novel. My only decision is whether to buy it as individual issues, or save some space on my groaning bookshelf and wait it out for the graphic novel- I’m just not sure I can wait that long for my next Harley Quinn fix!

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