After seeing all the hype about the upcoming Suicide Squad movie, I finally decided to check out a comic that involved Harley Quinn. I figured a girl-power story, teaming Harley up with a personal favourite of mine, unapologetic femme fatale Poison Ivy, and a hit-or-miss character, Catwoman, was the way to go. Plus it gives me vintage spandex onesie Harley, as opposed to her awful, tramptastic new-52 outfit.
First, let’s get this out of the way – yes, the art is full of ridiculously huge boobs and tiny waists, with women contorted into impossible positions while wearing skimpy outfits designed to chafe. Of course. But it didn’t really bother me (other than a single issue containing random nudity for no apparent reason). The art is so bright and colourful that I just couldn’t be overly irritated at Poison Ivy’s heaving green bosom being barely contained by a bodysuit made of leaves. These women are sexy, and they know it – it’s a part of their characters, and this book definitely had some fun with that. Besides, I don’t care if Harley struts around in tiny booty shorts, as long as she kicks ass in her classic harlequin suit.
The first issue starts with Catwoman recovering from a serious injury. She’s not quite back to her old self, and is getting her ass kicked by a random thug, when Poison Ivy shows up to save the day. Turns out that Ivy and Harley Quinn have been staying with The Riddler, who’s currently under Ivy’s plant-based spell. Catwoman offers the two women a chance to team up, and to move in to her newly refurbished mansion.
From there, the issues follow the growing trust and friendship between the sometime villainesses. It turns out that A LOT of people have a grudge against these 3 women, which gives the author a reason to have the ladies fight crime, as opposed to perpetuate it. They throw in a number of bad guys that I had never heard of, which I thought was a great way to have a self-contained issue. I always appreciate getting the whole story, as opposed to having to run to Google to try and figure out why someone is wearing Bruce Wayne’s face.
My main complaint is the same one that I have for any current DC book: they get confusing when you don’t know the history. If you don’t follow all the related titles, it can be hard to tell whether or not you’re supposed to recognize a random character; like female bank robber The Carpenter, or Gaggy, Joker’s original sidekick. This book was good at giving some exposition and context for new characters as necessary, but there are still some references that the reader is just expected to “get”.
As for our 3 leads themselves, I thought they were really well done. Each villainess has her own distinct personality, and the evolving dynamic between them is interesting to watch. Catwoman is the one with a conscience, trying to reign in her cohorts and keep them out of trouble. Dealing with her recent traumatic injury has made her overly cautious, and she seems to appreciate having some extra muscle behind her. I was previously familiar with Poison Ivy from the Birds of Prey series, and this depiction was along the same lines – haughty, cold, and badass. Ivy is the least human of the bunch, caring more for her plants than people, with the possible exception of Harley Quinn. I know there has been all kinds of speculation on that front, but it’s not clear here if the two are lovers, although they definitely have a close friendship. But Harley Quinn was my favourite. I had never actually read a Harley Quinn story, and so I only knew the character from various Batman comics or cartoons. But she’s just so much fun! In this book, Harley is obviously the comic relief, a stereotypical gullible blonde with some excellent lines. On the other hand, the whole creepy domestic abuse aspect of Harley’s relationship with The Joker has always bothered me, but I was happy to see this book poke fun at it. It’s a running joke throughout the book, and I appreciated how the other characters are quick to remind her how unhealthy the relationship with Joker was.
Overall, this book was entertaining and fairly stand-alone, and I am always up for more stories about ass-kicking ladies.
More details in my full review…