We used to be mad love: "Harley Quinn Vol. 1: Hot in the City"

Book: Harley Quinn Vol. 1: Hot in the City

Release date: October 28, 2014

Pages: 224

Publisher: DC Comics

Genre/category: Graphic Novel, Superheroes

Rating: ★★★★

The Cyclone ain't the only roller coaster in Coney Island...

At least, not after Harley Quinn rides into town. When Gotham's favorite sociopath inherits a building off the famous boardwalk, she feels right at home in the (literal) freakshow. Unfortunately, the legion of bounty hunters after the price on her head seem to know it, too. Who else but Harley Quinn could handle all that Brooklyn’s underbelly has to offer – Russian spies, senior citizens, and rival roller derby teams included – and still have time for a double chili dog or six?

I am in love. Harley Quinn has hit my heart with her mallet and I am a goner.

I've always been a Marvel girl, but I'm educating myself on DC. I've dabbled in Batman lore and have been going further down that rabbit hole lately. Then there's Wonder Woman. I've read a few of the graphic novels from her original run, and when the trailer for the new film came out, I told all my co-workers they needed to watch it and report back to me or they couldn't be my friends. And I am DEEP in the Arrow-verse — ironically, I've seen every show except Arrow. I'd watched all of Supergirl and The Flash before the recent alien invasion crossover, and just finished the first season of Legends of Tomorrow.

So with Suicide Squad recently hitting the box office — I skipped it, because Heath is the One True Joker and everyone else can fall back — I focused the next phase of my DC deep-dive on Harley.

Her first book in the New 52 had such wild energy. It started with a fantasy in which Harley and the writers try out different looks for her story by auditioning different artists. It was a fun, visually engaging and creative introduction, and its wackiness fits with Harley's vibe.

Then it's off to the races with Harley befriending a crew of oddballs with gal pal/love interest Poison Ivy by her side. They investigate who put a hit on her while Harley becomes the violent star of a roller derby league and uses her newly clean record to go back into psychiatric practice with a bunch of senior citizens. Along the way, she wrestles with a pheromone mishap, liberates a pack of shelter animals, takes on an aging spy's vendetta and receives counsel from a taxidermied beaver. Every bizarre twist proves endearing and Harley is so at home with the madness that you just roll with it, too.

I know New 52 Harley isn't everyone's cup of tea. But I love to see this version of this character, living on her own terms away from the toxic influence of her Puddin'. She's sexy, she's batty, she kicks ass. I'm keeping my eyes on this antiheroine. She's too much fun.