Batman Prelude to the Wedding: Harley Quinn vs. The Joker #1 – Tim Seeley, Writer; Sami Basri, Otto Schmidt, Artists; Jessica Kholinne, Colorist
Ray – 6/10
Corrina: Harley/Joker Confrontation Accomplishes Little
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: As the Wedding Prelude issues by Tim Seeley wrap up, all five of them have been significantly bizarre, with only the Damian issue having any real emotional core (dealing with his anxiety over his family being shaken up) and all five having some seriously odd takes on famous Bat-villains. This final issue reunites Harley Quinn and the Joker as they battle over their individual plans for the BatCat wedding. Joker, as we know, has figured out that the wedding is happening and is enraged that he hasn’t been invited. Because he’s insane. Harley, meanwhile, is determined to make sure her bestie Selina’s wedding goes off without a hitch. Given how dysfunctional Harley and Joker’s relationship is, it’s no surprise that her approach to persuading him involves trapping him in a silo and attempting to drown him with Tapioca pudding. Her attempt to simulate the hopelessness and near-escapes of their relationship could be an interesting turnabout – if it wasn’t for the fact that this in no way serves her intention of protecting the wedding.
If she wanted to ensure Joker didn’t actually do anything, she would kill him, incapacitate him, or make sure he was locked away somewhere secure. Maybe get Amanda Waller in on it? But no, because she ultimately doesn’t want to stop him, she wants to persuade him to stop. She’s still stuck on him, which doesn’t really mesh with the Harley we’ve seen in recent years – she went through this crisis already and came out stronger the other end. This Harley, while well-intentioned, feels much more like Mad Love Harley, and as such it’s no surprise when Joker takes advantage of her hesitation and turns the tables on her in a disturbing segment. If you like your Joker and Harley in a never-ending dance of manipulation and reunions, this might be a very good book for you, but I don’t. The ending sets Joker up for his attack on the church in Batman, which basically means these five issues accomplished very little. Just a lackluster mini-event that didn’t really add much to the coming wedding story.
Corrina: The entire issue is an unnecessary Harley-Joker confrontation that is yet one more rehash of their dysfunctional relationship.
The definitive confrontation between Harley and the Joker happened several years ago, in her own book, where she was allowed to triumph. Sadly, this time, the Joker wins (of course, since it leads into the Batman/Catwoman/Joker confrontation in Batman #48 and #49)
That means the story is one long rehash where Harley seems to be once again stuck on the Joker–though she’s moved past that in her own book–and she loses, the Joker is free, and the story essentially goes nowhere.
I’m not blaming Seeley. He writes the confrontation well-enough. It’s just that DC probably ordered a Harley/Joker book to goose sales of the run-up to the wedding. Seeley does as well as he can with what he has.
I hoped these Prelude to the Wedding issues would get me excited for the big wedding, much as I wanted the lead-up in Batman to get me excited for the marriage.
Instead, I find myself dreading the wedding issue.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.