Kami Garcia has done an exceptional job bringing a level of realism and research to this true-crime Harley Quinn and Joker story. You can see it in how deep the book goes with Harley’s forensic and knowledge and it gets even better with issue #3. Can anyone say “full Joker profile”?
This issue poignantly opens with Joker at work in his “office” and Harley doing the same. It’s a nice way to juxtapose their two lives and show how Joker is demented and obsessed, while Harley is obsessed with her work, but at least it’s not twisted. In a lot of ways, this issue propels both characters ever closer to meeting for the first time. That’s exciting, especially since this DC Black Label story has put a very different twist on both characters. Garcia continues to show us key moments in both of their childhoods which helps explain their thought processes and character. If you’re a fan of psychological drama or character studies, this is the comic book for you.
There is yet another body to be found and once again the art by Mico Suayan is out of this world good. It’s hyper-realistic, somewhat digital, and pleasing to the eye. Jason Badower takes over for Mike Mayhew this issue and does a good job changing up the look as Mayhew has done in the last two issues. Annette Kwok adds an appropriate amount of dark atmosphere to the book via her colors. There’s a tricky reflection shot of Joker that she pulls off wonderfully.
The biggest takeaway is the profile Harley has written up about the Joker. If you listen to the podcast interview with her above she goes into detail about what went into writing this. Once you realize this profile is based on hard research with a professor who teaches this stuff, it’s all the more enticing. This is a great example of how superhero comics can bleed into reality when the right amount of research is done.
My only gripe with this issue is something that has been troublesome for the entire series, and it involves the flashbacks. They tend to not have great segues and feel dropped into the narrative. A Joker flashback does more or less work this issue, since it ties into his not getting into college, but it’s still jarring especially since there is no text caption to tell us when we are. It’s hard to understand when we are and by extension why it matters.
Aside from a nagging narrative flow issue, I’m digging what Garcia and company are doing. We’re getting a true to life depiction of what Joker would be like while at the same time getting an empowered and complex version of Harley Quinn that could stand up to all other versions of the character.