Author: Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti
Genre: Graphic Novel, Superheroes
Fresh from BATMAN: DEATH OF THE FAMILY and SUICIDE SQUAD, Harley Quinn returns to her first solo series in the New 52! The writing team of Jimmy Palmiotti (ALL STAR WESTERN) and Amanda Conner (BEFORE WATCHMEN: SILK SPECTRE) unleashed Harley on an unsuspecting DC Universe, as she encounters various heroes and villains … and leaves no one unscathed in her wake! With art by Chad Hardin and a slew of comics’ best artists including Darwyn Cooke, Sam Kieth, Tony S. Daniel, Paul Pope, Walter Simonson and Art Baltazar!
Hot in the City is an excellent start to the new series of Harley Quinn comics. The first issue included in this volume is especially great as it pays homage to all the artists who have drawn Harley before — from comic to TV adaptations. It honors the past and then uses that to lead into the new. It was an excellent way to start off a new series, and I loved that Connor and Palmiotti — a wife and husband team — took the time to nod to those who came before them before truly starting their new series.
That feeds into what I loved most about this volume — it’s sincerity. It’s obvious that both authors are big fans of Harley Quinn and don’t want to let her down. The weird plots make it akin to the first run of Howard the Duck in that it’s just the perfect mixture of wacky and wonderful. Since many comic artists like to oversexualize female characters (see: the Hawkeye Initiative), I was especially happy to find no gross fetishization of Harley. She seemed her absolute self, and Chad Hardin never strayed into grossness with his art.
While I found Harley’s characterization mostly on point, sometimes her airheaddedness seemed over the top — at least where her psychiatry skills were involved. She did a few things that I thought didn’t really embody who she is, and those actions seemed to drive the plot, but overall, I thought she was done very well.
I’m really happy to see this New 52 installment doing so well. For those new to comics, it’s a great introduction to Harley, and for those who’ve been with her for a while, it has a touch of nostalgia and a lot of freshness. I look forward to reading the next volume, and I hope to see Conner, Palmiotti, and Hardin continue to do well with her.