Detective Comics #23.2





Release date

September 11, 2013
Between this handling of such a damaged character and her also somewhat shattered partner – Deadshot – in his Villains Month issue last week, I’m really pretty geeked about the upcoming SUICIDE SQUAD material we will be getting from Matt Kindt. And it gives me hope for a company that has done a pretty crappy job of dealing with talent recently that they can snag one of Kindt’s caliber to do all this work he has so far this month and convince him to (hopefully) run as wild as Harley did this issue on a book such as SUICIDE SQUAD.
1 out of 10
Brace yourself. Are you interested in seeing an emotionally numb Harley Quinn kill countless children? Because that’s happening! The closing pages of this book showcase the once cheerful and vibrant Harley Quinn handing out hundreds of explosive gameboys to children and grown-ups (but a lot of children) all over the city and just as you think she might possibly snap out of this and we get a joke out of the whole thing (dark though it may be) she pulls the trigger and boom, boom, boom… Hundreds of people are blown-up.
With the exception of Alex Ross’ black and white Joker story, this storyline really stands out amongst the rest. There’s a great ending splash page in this issue, and leads to a tie-in for Forever Evil. It’s definitely worth picking up and cannot wait to see what happens next.
2 out of 5 stars
This issue was kind of baffling. I got the impression that this was an attempt at transitioning Harley from the hardcore psycho New 52 version we've seen in Suicide Squad and the old school loony version it appears we'll be seeing in her upcoming solo book. I have to give Kindt and Googe credit for at least trying to make it so that the two versions aren't completely at odds. But they are. Everyone knows it. And that dissonance hurts this story. It also doesn't help that this version of Harley apparently pretends to be a criminal in order to understand them, and then decides she likes the life, going so far as to say it was freeing to be able to "play dumb." And maybe that's an attempt at saying that each version of Harley is just an act, but that seems to completely change the character.
I loved this comic. Harley being give her own forum was one of DC’s best decisions, especially with how much they made the comic about her and not about her love of the Joker. We know she loves the guy – she’s crazy for him (no pun intended). But to see the impetus for her decisions – to know that buried under the runny makeup and garish colors lies a calculating and aware woman – makes the character all the more disturbing and powerful.
2 out of 5
I’m probably just being stubborn, but there wasn’t much for me to enjoy here. I think I’m just not the target audience.
Grade: C-
This is a case of not having much direction, as this tale of Harley Quinn goes in two directions without having a focus on what’s important: the character and the story. Neil Googe might do his best, yet the mediocre showing of Matt Kindt and Wil Quintana hinders the issue as a whole, creating an unsatisfying reading experience.
2 out of 5 stars
This issue is every bit as twisted as Harley Quinn's New 52 mentality. It's commendable Kindt went against the expected, but unfortunately, he went too far in the opposite direction and has -- to me, at least -- transformed Harley Quinn into an irredeemable and unlikable character.
5.9 out of 10 (Mediocre)
Great art can't save a disappointing revamp of Harley Quinn's origin story.
2.5 out of 5 stars
The art is the star in "Detective Comics" #23.2, an otherwise useless origin story that brings little to no real insight into Harley Quinn. That said, tackling Harley Quinn's origin is a thankless and near impossible task and it's unsurprising that Kindt was unable to deliver a fantastic one-shot with all of that working against him.
7 out of 10
Overall Kindt isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel. He does succeed in making sure we know that this Harley has the potential to be just as twisted as the Joker. Neil Googe handles the art on this one and it’s inconsistent at best. There are some really great, smaller character moments when Harley is home with her family but his art doesn’t come across with the same kinetic energy that say a Humberto Ramos Spider-Man book has.
9 out of 10
This Harley Quinn one-shot is pretty good overall. It’s an interesting take on the character from her own perspective with an underlying sense of tragedy (but not the kind that’ll make you feel too sad for her) and also some great artwork that fits the character. Not the best Batman villain one-shot to come out this week, but certainly a very enjoyable one worth a look.