Harley Quinn Annual #1

by Tori B. on October 30, 2014

Harley Quinn is essentially your go to series when you’re looking for something silly, in this annual it gets even more out of control with some strange hallucinogens and readers get the full experience with some scratch and sniff panels.
Writer: Amander Conner & Jimmy Pamiotti
Artists: John Timms & Paul Mounts (also: Stjepan Sejic, Joe Quinones, Ben Caldwell, Kelley Jones, Rico Renzi, and Michelle Madsen)
Cover: Amanda Conner & Paul Mounts
Publisher: DC
Typically I’m quite harsh on the Harley Quinn series because she’s such a unique character and I have rather high hopes for her story, but for an annual issue it’s easier to kind of let loose and just have the fun that the creators clearly want the audience to have.
What’s nice about the annual, much like the #0 issue, is the gallery of different artists that put into the issue. It’s clear that Harley is a character everyone loves, and a project that everyone wants even just a little part of, so what makes this annual truly special is the Harley Quinn love that goes into it. It’s also written in a way that allows for a change of artist in the narration, it’s abrupt at times, but it’s not surprising. Harley & Co. are under the influence of a hallucinogenic gas that Poison Ivy was developing, and as we go through each character’s hallucination, we are given another artist and wonderfully enough, and most likely on purpose, each artist’s style fits perfectly with the overall theme of the hallucination. A personal favourite is Ivy’s hallucination that we see first, art done by Stijepan Sejic, and it kind of feels Apocalypse Now-ish with its orange tones but obviously not as doom and gloom, either way it’s beautiful and elegant like Ivy herself. Also I’m in love with the regular art from John Timms who gives us Bombshell Harley as she goes about her rescue mission into Arkham Asylum to save Poison Ivy.
Aside from the great art that we’re spoiled with in this issue, it’s a little surprising how much fun the scratch and sniff parts were. It’s a lot like being a child again, but then again there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. And of course, there’s always the risk of scratch and sniff of not really knowing what kind of smell you’re going to get. Luckily for us, this issue comes with a handy mini-Harley to guide you through the scents. The leather jacket, banna-butter lotion, and mysterious mist all smelled delightful to me, but considering who we’re dealing with here, and the creative team’s goal to keep Harley quirky, there’s some less than pleasant scents to go through.  But overall the scratch and sniff was fun and interactive, and it’s something I wouldn’t mind seeing in more of my comics (but maybe without the more gross scents).
What was nice was the premise of the story. When Poison Ivy is involved with Harley it’s typically a good formula for something exciting. The dynamic between the two is stronger than ever, and while some of it can be seen as fanservicing, it’s still nice to see two (villainous?) female characters constantly being there for each other and supporting each other. The story certainly falls into exciting, but there are moments that are still too quirky or offbeat in an adequate attempt for humour that I’m still not totally comfortable with, but it’s the angle the creators have been going for since the beginning of the series so it should be expected. As previously mentioned though, it’s easier to let go for an annual because it doesn’t really affect the total series too much.
Overall, it’s a fun issue, it doesn’t really advertise to be anything but— scratch and sniff! So it’s certainly worth the pick up, just to have a good comic that’s a breather from everything else that might be a little more dramatic right now.

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