Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Harley Quinn Holiday Special #1 Review

Written by: Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti
Art by: Mauricet, Brandt Peters, Darwyn Cooke
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: December 10, 2014

A Holiday Treat

Harley is one of my favorite books and while I enjoy getting my nutbucket dose in the normal issues, I've really enjoyed the special issues the most.  Well, it's December and that means the Holiday Special has arrived.  It's pure nutty madness all wrapped up into three stories that are a bit more than I expected.  Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti give us a little cleaner book for the Holidays.  It's still not all-ages, but it comes closer than this book has ever been.  I don't know if that will turn off some readers, but I really liked it.  In fact, when I read the last two stories with my eight year old son, it was one of the best experiences I've had with Harley in the New 52.

The first story has great art by Mauricet and a whole lot of baby cats and dogs.  It seems that Harley didn't follow Bob Barker's advice and now her and Tony are trying to figure out what to do.  It's Christmas time so Harley figures they can just give them as unsuspecting people.  Sounds fun, right?  It is, but when Harley gives away her favorite puppy, she wants to get him back.  What happens involves home invasion, fruit cake, barfing and an axe.  It's actually a heart felt story involving a cute little girl who hates Christmas until Harley uses her Psychology background (awesome) to make things right.  It's like an animated Christmas Special put through the Harley blender.  The final panel is a great treat for those who like all the characters old and new in this series.

The next story has a really trippy art style by Brandt Peters.  It's a bit Nightmare before Christmas mixed with those Bratz dolls, not that I know what those are.  I was a big fan...of the art, not the dolls.  The story is a cute little tale about a "humbug", an annoying little thing that wedges in it's victim's ear and drives them nuts by humming Christmas songs nonstop.  The bug lodges in Harley's ear and she gets nuttier than usual.  She gets into all sorts of trouble until a Shopping Mall Santa solves the problem with a Candy Cane.  I'll tell you, I really was worried where that Candy Cane was going!  The story ends with Santa and Harley digging into a corned beef on rye and some matzo ball soup at a Jewish Deli.  Like I said, this was a cute story that made me smile.

The last story has art by Darwyn Cooke which is exactly as you'd expect...awesome.  This is a New Years story that starts with Harley finding a grey hair.  Instead of washing that grey right out of her hair, she declares war on Father Time (or Harold Tyme in room 1204 of the Free Spirit Assisted Living Home).  She dresses up all classic Harley-like, gets her sled cats and dogs and heads off to the old folks home. Harley once again revs up the madness by attacking the poor old man in an attempt to stop time. However, she is stopped in her tracks by a cute baby that is not the Baby New Year, but does get rid of Harley's grey.  The story ends with a sweet moment involving Harley's pets helping make it a great night for everyone.

Between each story are Harley Quinn pinups by Billy Tucci with colors by Hi-Fi.  They look great and are such a great little bonus for readers.

Bits and Pieces:

Conner and Palmiotti tone down the inappropriateness a bit to give three really good Holiday stories.  Harley is involved, so things still get nutty and hilarious, but it was a nice break for the Holiday Season.  All three artists do a great job and at the risk of sounding cheesy, this was a great early present for anyone who picks this issue up.  Highly recommended.


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