Review: Mad Love by Paul Dini, Pat Cadigan

Published by Titan Books, Mad Love is the novelisation of Mad Love and Other Stories, the Batman comic, an adaptation of Batman: The Animated Series (S.4, Ep.21). Essentially this is the origin story of the one, the only, the insatiable, Harley Quinn.

Let’s start at the very beginning…

If you’re going to have a prologue you should have a really good reason for doing so. This is not one of those prologues, and I feel like it’s a waste of a page and a half. All the information given to us could have easily been woven into the first couple of chapters.

Then we move to the first couple of chapters which take place when Harleen is a small child. We learn about her family life, and the relationships she had with her parents. Most importantly we see her father, and his shady business. Now, there are two things about this section that really annoy me. The first, is that the narrative voice is annoyingly young which makes it hard to read and makes it hard to get a nice flow. The second, is the inclusion of these chapters at all. They are not carried over from the original Mad Love, which is fine as I understand that you need a lot more material to fill a novel. However by showing this part of her childhood I feel as though the innate darkness of Harleen is disregarded in favour of a girl with ‘daddy issues’. In this sense she is beging uncomplicated as a character and that’s a dissapointing choice to makes.

Speaking of issues…

I have two main issues with this novel and the first is the pacing of this novel. The pacing was all over the place. It’s a short book but the pacing is all over the place. There is far too much set up, as I previously discussed, then the author moved on to Harleen in Arkham. This is proably the strongest and most interesting section on the novel. The last hundred pages return to the original Mad Love story line and with Harley Quinn, the Joker, and Batman all playing thier roles.

My second issue is also with the writing, though it could be the author’s fault or the powers that be. With a comic you don’t get a lot of opportunity to develop your characters and as a result as a writer, if you’re a good one, you have to be a lot more adept at this that the layman might realise. Look at the mad love comic, for instance. How do we know that Harleen isn’t a model student? Because there’s a pael or two implying that she has an inappropriate relationship with a porfessor. This novel carries over traits that we recognise but doesn’t do anythign with them, and as a result the characters are left feeling incredibly two dimentional.

What about you? Have you read the novelisation of Mad Love, and if so what did you think?

Why not check out… Mad Love and Other Stories Review

9 thoughts on “Review: Mad Love by Paul Dini, Pat Cadigan

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