Previously-Falcon & Winter Soldier #5|Coming soon- White Knight: Harley Quinn #1
Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity was written by Kami Garcia, with art by Mico Suayan and Jason Badower. The colours are by Annette Kwok, and letters by Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Tyler Smith.
What do you need to have read?
It is a stand-alone series, as it’s part of DC Black Label, so you can read this series on its own. That said it is a retelling of the Mad Love story, you can read this in comic form, novelisation, or the Batman: The Aminated Series Episode.
What do you need to know?
After turning himself in Joker and Harleen find themselves face to face in an interview room. When the power fails, they find themselves cut off from the rest of the GCPD.
After the cliff-hanger ending of the previous issue, we return to see the panic outside of the interview room, as the GCPD scramble to get the power back on and to get Harleen out of that room. This is a great way to contrast how calm both Joker and Harleen act when we move to see inside of the room.
The time they have is all too brief, and while we are drip-fed some information, it ended up feeling like a missed opportunity to build their relationship. It doesn’t have to be the same “romantic” relationship we see in the traditional Mad Love story, but there should be some type of relationship between them. These characters are lacking in that department, especially when you consider that this is the seventh issue.
The composition of the panels draws visual parallels between the two, which I like to see. When the door does open and Harley lies to Gorden, choosing revenge over justice, this also becomes another similarity between her and Joker. Unfortunately, seven issues in this are just not enough to carry this story. I want more. I’ve wanted more for a very long time, and I have been patient but I just don’t see it paying off anymore. With only another three issues to go, I think that ship has sailed.
Every issue thus far has played around with timelines, so we could get a better idea of the past of these characters. However, this issue suddenly goes hell for leather with rapid changes between different past events and present events. Maybe this should make the pacing of the book feel a lot quicker, but the time I spent having to go back and reread panels killed any pacing it may have built up. Storytelling? Who is she? It felt rushed, as though the team had only just remembered they are almost at the end of the series and realised that there are some things we need to know. The panels also lacked clarity. For instance, it took me at least three reads of two pages to understand the connection between Joker and Edie. Honestly, I’m still not completely sure. The connection is not a complicated one, simply that Joker killed a man who lived in the same building. But the composition of the panels and what they show us just made for a confusing read.
We see Joker commit another elaborate murder, although the art references if they exist, are now beyond my rudimentary art history understanding. The panels following the murder imply that it was televised, which comes as a shock because there’s no hint of that happening.
When Harley arrives at the scene of the new crime, along with the GCPD, everything begins to feel very stale and repetitive. I was so excited to see Harley and Joker in that interview room, and this whole issue was a big disappointment for me. If I had to go to a shop and buy this every month, I probably wouldn’t do it.
One last thing, because I don’t want to end this on a sad note. Towards the end, we see Harleen holding a concert ticket, as she belives Joker will strike there next. The acts on the ticket all reference big DC events along with Black Canary. I thought was a fun idea. I always appreciate little things like this, even if the issue overall was disappointing for me.
Criminal Sanity #7 is available from Comixology, or you can grab the trade from Forbidden Planet, or your local comic book store.
Coming Soon… Criminal Sanity #8
In the meantime, why not check out… Criminal Sanity #1, Mad Love novelisation by Pat Cardigan, or Mad Love comic by Paul Dini and Bruce Tim.
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