Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity #1 Review - If only Mainstream Harley Quinn was this good
• Francesco Mattina (Cover Artist) • DC Comics (Publisher)
• Get it Now From Green Brain Comics
I shy away from about 90% of Harley Quinn's stories. I had a hard time getting through Injustice 2 whenever I had to play as the character. I had no interest in the Birds of Prey film because the character is the epitome of being loud and over the top. I also find Harley to be painfully unfunny in most instances.
Shockingly, I'm a big fan of the DC Black Label versions of Quinn. They let me know that there is a great character buried underneath the fluff. I just wish DC would choose either the Criminal Sanity version or the one from Stjepan Sejic's Harleen and make it canon. The Deadpool lite version of Harley Quinn was old about a decade ago and at this point just burns my soul.
Kami's voice for Harley is great. The character feels competent and a lot of the uncertainty or underlying weakness you see in regular takes on the character are gone. I couldn't imagine this version falling for the Joker. The story could end up going down that path but I doubt it.
Criminal Sanity is one of the few serious takes on the character. The book puts her in the role of profiler trying to take down the Joker. These are also some of the most unique takes on the characters mainly because they seem so realistic. This feels like the world outside your window. It's so realistic that when Batman shows up in an obligatory cameo it feels out of place.
Joker doesn't actually show up in the issue but his presence looms heavily throughout the installment. He's depicted as a serial killer who dismembers and stages their bodies like marionettes. There is some really disturbing stuff in this book and I loved it. The illustrations are heightened even further by the hyper-realistic art from Mike Mayhew and Mico Suayan. I'm not sure if there is a realistically portray Batman but I can't wait to see what they come up with.
The book reminds me of "Dexter". The way the bodies are staged reminded me of the storyline that ran through that series when John Lithgow showed up. It's my favorite arc of that show. I don't know that this series was taking swipes from that one but if it does I wouldn't be mad at all.
DC Black Label has always been a great concept and the line has been solidified with every release. The imprint seems to have the best writers- artists and the format just feel right. We may be looking at the future of comics. Criminal Sanity is off to a great start and we may be looking at a modern-day classic.