Connect with us
'Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity Secret Files' #1 review
DC

Comic Books

‘Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity Secret Files’ #1 review

‘Criminal Sanity Secret Files’ is a fascinating approach in defining Joker via mixed media and realism.

DC Comics has outdone themselves this week with a mixed media, procedural crime comic that feels more like a document of evidence than a traditional comic book. Written by Kami Garcia and Ed Kurz, M.D.(listen to Kami talk a bit about her work with Kurz on the AIPT Comics podcast) with art by David Mack, Jason Badower, and Mico Suayan, this work puts us into Harley Quinn’s shoes as she attempts to profile and capture the Joker. The one-shot aims to transport us into the detective chair and it does a stellar job doing it.

This is the kind of comic you’ll want to prepare yourself for before reading it. Wash your hands, pull back your hair, and make sure your phone is off before delving into this complex work of mixed media and creative design. It’s basically a retelling of Harley’s work as she profiles Joker’s murders in Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity but also peels back the curtain on the types of documentation a profiler uses when trying to capture a criminal. It’s thoroughly done and I’d wager everything here is something you’d actually see in a police department.

Listen to the latest episode of our weekly comics podcast!

As you turn each page a new discovery is found, like the psychological profile report, coroner’s report, and artwork by the Joker himself. The art is done exceptionally well, with David Mack drawing Joker’s mad watercolored pieces. Like I said, these tend to used mixed media — a key on top of art with spreadsheets and quotes intertwined with the watercolor — further adding realism to the comic. Interspersed is art from Jason Badower and Mico Suayan as well as vividly real reports. It all comes together in a beautiful bit of chaos and magic that is certainly not a traditionally told story, but a fun experience.

criminal sanity secret files

This book steps up the realism!
Credit: DC Comics

This one-shot comes at an opportune time too, since in Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity #4 Joker and Harley finally come face to face. This book serves as a primer on who Joker is as we get to the meaty conflict between the characters. While reading this I kept thinking this is Silence of the Lambs-quality psychological drama condensed into a creative comic book format.

The only way DC could have topped the production value of this book is if they released all the documents and art in a box set for the reader to handle as if the reports were real. That said, the non-traditional storytelling going on here will likely not be everyone’s cup of tea. It’s also a slight bummer this version of Joker isn’t in canon, although based on what Kami Garcia has said about the research that went into this series it’s as real as Joker could ever be.

Each piece shines a light on the personality of Joker in the most realistic way possible. If you like your comic books steeped in heavy reality, don’t pass on this one-shot. Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity Secret Files is an experience unto itself with as realistic as possible detective work.

'Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity Secret Files' #1 review
‘Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity Secret Files’ #1 review
Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity Secret Files #1
Each piece shines a light on the personality of Joker in the most realistic way possible. If you like your comic books steeped in heavy reality, don't pass on this one-shot. Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity Secret Files is an experience unto itself with as realistic as possible detective work.
Reader Rating2 Votes
9
An exceptionally well done experience, mixing media and creating even more believable realism to the series
Fascinating psychological drama going on here
David Mack outdoes himself yet again
The non-traditional storytelling going on here will not be for everyone
This would have been even better if done as a box set of loose files and art!
9
Great

Like what we do here at AIPT? Consider supporting us and independent comics journalism by becoming a patron today! In addition to our sincere thanks, you can browse AIPT ad-free, gain access to our vibrant Discord community of patrons and staff members, get trade paperbacks sent to your house every month, and a lot more. Click the button below to get started!

Comments

In Case You Missed It

tacoma fd 3.11.1 tacoma fd 3.11.1

‘Tacoma FD’ season 3 episode 11 review: An unconventional Thanksgiving

Television

DC Preview: Nightwing Annual #1 DC Preview: Nightwing Annual #1

DC Preview: Nightwing Annual #1

Comic Books

EXCLUSIVE Marvel Preview: Death of Doctor Strange: Spider-Man #1 EXCLUSIVE Marvel Preview: Death of Doctor Strange: Spider-Man #1

EXCLUSIVE Marvel Preview: Death of Doctor Strange: Spider-Man #1

Comic Books

DC Preview: Wonder Woman Historia The Amazons #1 DC Preview: Wonder Woman Historia The Amazons #1

DC Preview: Wonder Woman Historia The Amazons #1

Comic Books

Connect
Newsletter Signup