Future State: Harley Quinn #1 Review - The Cupid of Crime Unleashed
Since I started reading DC comics regularly I haven't been blown away by any mainline Harley Quinn comics. The "Black Label" Harley Quinn stuff has been great (Harleen, Criminal Insanity) but the regular DC Harley is basically the DC's version of Deadpool.
Future State: Harley Quinn exists in the Future Gotham status quo and somewhat dials back the goofier elements of the character. The story isn't bad but it's nothing to write home about either. The book follows Harley after she has been incarcerated by the Magistrates and their agent Jonathan Crane (Scarecrow). Crane offers a lesser sentence if she agrees to take down some of Gotham's most wanted.
Harley reluctantly agrees to work with the Magistrates and performs admirably in her tasks. We see her use her skills as a psychologist in matching wits with Professor Pyg, She eventually gains favor with Crane and is sent out to take down Black Mask which weirdly makes a connection to DC's Birds of Prey Film.
The issue is okay but the art direction prevents it from getting high marks. Simone Di Meo is providing linework and If you've followed my blog you may know that he is my favorite artists working today. The problem is that Tamra Bonvillain uses a bright but muddy color palette that detracts from the overall art direction.
At one point Harley lays out a plan to take down Firefly. The encounter between the magistrates and the villains is conveyed in the background but the colors get so murky that it's hard to make out what is actually happening. This isn't usually an issue from Simone based on my experience with his work, I'm guessing it's just the wrong artist/colorist combo.
This isn't a horrible comic. The story is decent enough and the art while not Simone's best isn't the worst. The story does provide more context for what's going on in Gotham in the Future State landscape. There also wasn't much provided when I read The Next Batman #1. This is a growing criticism with the overall Future State project You may get more out of the issue if you're a Harley Quinn fan but I'm not sure that this comic needs to exist aside from editorial mandates.