Review — ‘Harley Quinn: Black + White + Red’ #1: Colors of Madness

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DC Comics surprised us with a new digital-first comic today, an all-star anthology featuring Harley Quinn. Below, a review of the first issue, available now on all digital platforms. And stay tuned after the review for the official DC press release and images from the first issue.

Harley Quinn: Black + White + Red #1 – Stepan Sejic, Writer/Artist

Ray – 9.5/10

Ray: Stepan Sejic’s Harleen was a huge hit for DC, but it was also a very different Harley Quinn story than DC has been putting out in recent years. While most modern stories, especially those by the Palmiotti/Conner team or Sam Humphries, cast Harley as an eccentric antihero carving her own path, Stepan Sejic’s Black Label drama plunged her right back to how it all began—as a lovestruck rookie doctor who is sucked in by the Joker’s sadistic web and turned from a competent genius into a madwoman. This opening chapter of Harley’s new digital-first anthology serves as both a sequel to Sejic’s work and a bridge between the two versions of Harley we know. It’s a near-perfect epilogue to Sejic’s series that enhances it after the fact.

Taking place almost entirely within Harley’s cell in Arkham Asylum, an indeterminate time after the events of Harleen #3, it focuses on her interplay with a new young doctor, Leah, who is determined to get to the root of Harley’s obsession with the color red. When she asks Harley what it means, Harley launches into a stunning, almost poem-like depiction of what the color red meant to her in the context of her relationship with the Joker. It’s visually amazing, but those who aren’t a fan of that era of Harley’s life might be left cold. The good news is, a twist ending brings the whole story home in a very crowd-pleasing way and sets up a better future for the character. It’s a great way to start a new series celebrating all eras of the character.

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.


First Chapter of DC’s Newest Digital First Series Available Now

Future Chapters to Feature Stories by Harley Quinn Co-creator Paul Dini, Eisner Award-Winners Saladin Ahmed, Erica Henderson, and Joe Quinones, Fan-Favorite Team of Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Chad Hardin, Along with Comics’ Most Dynamic Storytellers

DC proudly announces the launch of its newest Digital First series, Harley Quinn: Black + White + Red! Publishing each Friday and spanning 14 chapters, this digital series is an anthology of standalone stories told in the vein of the classic Batman: Black & White. The first chapter is available for purchase now on participating digital platforms, including, Comixology, Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, and more.

Each chapter of Harley Quinn: Black + White + Red will be told in traditional black and white with the color red utilized in unique ways throughout each of the individual stories. The debut chapter of the Digital First series is “Harleen: Red” by writer/artist Stjepan Šejić with lettering by Gabriela Downie. Set in the world of Šejić’s New York Times bestselling graphic novel Harleen, this story hints at a “red” that will have meaning only to Harley Quinn!

Harley Quinn: Black + White + Red is a great addition to our Digital First lineup,” said Hank Kanalz, SVP of Publishing Strategy & Support Services. “Each story stands on its own, and this series gives our talent teams the freedom and flexibility to tell innovative stories that could be part of or separate from regular continuity. Everyone has a unique vision for Ms. Quinn—it’ll be fun to see what their creativity delivers.”

Future chapters will feature a fan-favorite lineup of talent, including Harley Quinn co-creator Paul Dini; the team of Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Chad Hardin; Saladin Ahmed and Javier Rodriguez; Tim Seeley and Juan Ferreyra; Erica Henderson, Daniel Kibblesmith, and more to come throughout the run. And Harley Quinn: Black + White + Red is also the DC writing debut for several acclaimed illustrators! Artists Mirka Andolfo (DC Comics: Bombshells), Dani (The Low, Low Woods), Joe Quinones (Dial H for Hero), and Riley Rossmo (Martian Manhunter) are all developing chapters written in their own voice, paired with art in their distinct styles.

“This is such a cool series with killer art,” said Mark Doyle, DC Executive Editor. “Senior Editor Chris Conroy had the idea to riff on the classic Batman: Black & White series but to do it with Harley in that irreverent, fun way that only Harley can do—and DC Digital First seemed like the perfect format to tell these stories.”

Harley Quinn: Black + White + Red promo art is by Jorge Jiménez.

Harley Quinn: Black + White + Red’s first chapter, with story and art by Stjepan Šejić and lettering by Gabriela Downie, is available now. Subsequent digital chapters of Harley Quinn: Black + White + Red will publish weekly on Fridays through its 14-chapter run. Andolfo’s story will publish July 3, Ahmed and Rodriguez’s collaboration will publish on July 10, and Seeley and Ferreyra’s chapter will publish on July 17 to round out the first month of the series.

DC’s comics are available on participating digital platforms seven days a week, including, Comixology, Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, DC UNIVERSE, and more.

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