*These review will be SPOILER FREE*
Today I am bringing you a review of a graphic novel, well, technically I guess this is a collection of comics? As you can tell I am no expert in the genre, though I have really enjoyed what I’ve been reading so far!
Mad Love 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
As I’m sure you know by now, since I mention it pretty often, Mad Love is Harley Quinn’s origin story, from Arkham Psychologist, to the Joker’s favourite harlequin. Admittedly I did want a little bit more from the story. More what? I don’t even know. More obsession? More crazy? More violence? More sex? All of the above! There are a couple of extra panels in comparison to the Animated Series episode, that aren’t quite child friendly. Despite that, it does really show you the unhealthiness of the relationship, but keep it light with plenty of humour. I’d definitely recommend, and this can be read/watched as a stand alone for any who wants a little bit more Harley (and let’s face it, everyone should!).
Going Straight 🌟🌟
This was pretty interesting, and worked almost as a whistle stop tour of Batman villains, as we visit a couple of different villains in their own stories. We begin with Alfred and Batman discussing how Arkham often fails to rehabilitate it’s patients, just as Batman had apprehended Roxy Rocket. We then visit some of these villains in question before returning before returning to Roxy’s story. Unfortunately the ending to Roxy’s story was just a little anticlimactic, especially in comparison to some more exciting villains.
Puppet Show 🌟🌟
This was a little bit dull. I always say that the villain is the most important character for me, and the villain here is a guy called the Ventriloquist. But, for me he just was not compelling enough to make me care. Still, this is a fun little story, that may not be all that memorable, if you’re looking for something quick, and a little different.
24 Hours 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Another great Harley story, that really captures the vicious cycle of her relationship with the joker within a 24 hour time period. We also get to see Harley out of her costume, which humanises her a lot, and gives her story a touch of realism in comparison to when we see her interact with the joker in costume. What it also fantastic about this little story is that there isn’t any dialogue. I guess it’s a testament to the power of illustration, or that their relationship doesn’t need to be put into words.
Study Hall 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Study Hall is my first experience with the much talked about Scarecrow, and I had a blast. Though I know bits about the character, his general MO mostly, I’ve never had the pleasure of reading about him. As someone who loves psychology, I find the psychology of fear really intriguing, which makes Scarecrow so attractive to me as a villain (here we go with compelling villains again). It also was an unconventional plot, with somewhat sympathetic motives for the villain, and I’d love to read more Scarecrow stories, especially something really dark.
Laughter after Midnight 🌟🌟🌟🌟
You remember that days, right? When it was just you and Mr J., just hanging around, no master plan, just on your way home? Well, this is that story. And it’s not as boring as it sounds. Especially when… (have you guessed it?) Harley Quinn makes an appearance. This isn’t a Joker x Harley story but their relationship is really summarised in the short, short, length of one phone call. And, it was beautiful. But, regardless of Harley’d cameo this is a fun little adventure on the Joker’s day off from fomenting Batman. What stands out for me, above everything else (even Harley!), is the madness, the unpredictability, of the Joker, a villain who does not need to have a grand plan to be villainous.
Cruise to Nightmare 🌟🌟🌟
All I know about Poison Ivy is the Clooney Batman film (it’s too late for me, but you cans till save yourself), and that she’s sometimes Harley’s girlfriend. Did I lean much more here? Not really, but there was something about her that intrigued me, and that was her ability to poison with a kiss. I’d like to see more from Pamela Isely, but there wasn’t quite enough in this story to make it memorable, though I did appreciate the seaweed dragon.
Jolly Ol’ St. Nicholas 🌟🌟
I might re-read this in December, and I would probably end up putting my rating up. Is there such thing as a Batman Christmas special, because I want that! This was a perfectly okay story, but the villain wasn’t really present enough for me, and the abilities not quite outlines enough. Maybe this isn’t the best introduction to the character of Clayface, but I don’t see myself seeking him out in other stories. I did quite like the inclusion of Batgirl, who I haven’t seen since The Killing Joke, and for some reason I kind of like see the familiar faces Montoya and Bullock.
This was definitely a unique Batman story, though it was, probably, the hardest to follow, in my eyes. I kind of got some June Moone (Suicide Squad) vibes, which I liked, but i but I didn’t understand a certain transformation. I think I’m probably right in scything that it was a cross-over, or character reference that I just didn’t know. I love DC, but I am an amateur when it comes to the comics, lore, and anything that isn’t commonly known. I liked seeing Ra’s Al Ghul, but I loved Thalia, so any Thalia x Batman recommendations would be much appreciated. I though I was more of a Bruce x Selina kind of girl, but I could be swayed…
P.S If you can explain the Jason Blood thing, it would be much appreciated
Two of a Kind 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Man, if this was a couple of pages longer it would be up there with Mad Love, because, guess what? That’s right, I’m talking about twisted, crazy, relationships! Only, this time you can breathe sight of relief because (for once) I’m not talking about Joker x Harley, but Harvey Dent. Even though it was short I feel as though it really captured this pull to the ‘dark side’, and would kill for a Killing Joke version of this story.
Overall, I had a lot of fun, with this much lighter take on the DC universe, but I have to admit that I do crave the darkness.
I always find story collections hard to rate, because some are always better than others but, overall I gave Mad Love and Other Stories 🌟🌟🌟🌟
What’s your favourite DC character? What’s your favourite comic book/grpahic novel?
Thanks for reading!