Gotham is under the control of the Magistrate. A new set of laws govern the city and among them is a 0 tolerance for masks and vigilantes. Of course Harley is no exception to this and finds herself captured by the forces of the magistrate. She has a chance at freedom and a new life though. Help Jonathon Crane capture the other villains in Gotham.
With this being part one of a two-parter, there is a lot to say and a little time to do it. Stephanie Phillips is the writer and she isn’t unfamiliar with the genre having written superman prior to this. What is immediately obvious is that this is a whole new approach to Harley. We often see her in action, cracking jokes, and fighting alongside the Suicide Squad, but this time Stephanie gives us a very intelligent Harley and Scarecrow. We see Dr. Harleen Quinzel and Dr. Jonathan Crane, two psychologists working together to arrest the mentally disturbed criminals of Gotham. Which makes this sort of a two-person Suicide Squad. so it still has the foundation in something familiar. The good part is that the end goal ‘big fish’ is also addressed, Black Mask. So, we know where the story is leading us… or do we?
The art by Simone Di Meo is good, mostly. It’s incredibly stylized and a new vision of Gotham illuminated with colorful neon lights and futuristic technology. I wanted to see more of it. I also like to see new takes on characters like this and I regard Gotham as much a character as the citizens themselves. The problem arises when the panels become too narrow to get a good understanding of what you’re seeing and the characters jump around them creating a disjointed flow from panel to panel. That is to say nothing of how dark some of the scenes are, but I am beginning to suspect the dark is meant to contrast this new neon take on Gotham.
This is a good read for the concept alone. Seeing the characters you know in a light you’ve never seen them before. That alone makes this a worthwhile read. The art both elevates the experience and drags it down occasionally.