REVIEW: ‘Harley Quinn: Villain of the Year,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

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Harley Quinn: Villain of Year #1, written by Mark Russel, drawn by Mike Norton, colored by Hi-Fi and lettered by Dave Sharpe, is DC Comics’ attempt to bringing the award season into readers hands. DC set up an online voting system with categories for, “Villian of the Year,” “Comeback Villian of the Year,” “Most Obsessed Villian,” “Best Supporting Villian,” “Best Villian Upgrade,” and “Best Justification for Evil.” Occurring in the Hall of Doom, Harley Quinn hosts this fan-fare event.

Killer Croc, Enchantress, Poison Ivy, Bane, and Black Manta are the first of many recognizable DC evil do-ers. The strength of this book lies with its artistic team of Norton and Sharpe. Norton makes all the baddies of the DCU look dapper and dazzling, and it is thoroughly entertaining. From Killer Croc sporting a full suit with eyeglasses to Bane with a bowtie on, it feels nothing short of amusing. Harley, herself, has seven different costumes shown throughout the award ceremony.

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Fans of Harley will be ecstatic to see so many cosplay opportunities. Norton, also, humors readers by drawing Harley in costumes celebrities have worn. Björk and Cher are both referenced, and it makes the humor of Harley Quinn: Villain of the Year #1 shine through. Hi-Fi’s colors are bold and bright, adding to the glitz and glamour atmosphere Norton has created. Sharpe’s lettering is easy to follow and embraces the lettering choices that certain characters are known for having. Seeing that type of love and respect for fellow letterers is a treat for fans.

While the artistic team sticks the landing, the script for Harley Quinn: Villain of the Year #1 is stiff and frequently misses the mark. Harley’s opening lines are “Ladies and genocides,” feeling inappropriate and unnecessary. Firstly, it feels out of character to have Harley call the males in the room “genocides.” seeing as it is a noun that means the mass killing of a particular ethnicity or nation. Having never heard anyone refer to a group of people as “genocides,” the use of the word feels tone-deaf and misplaced when Harley could have easily said, “ladies and prison mates,” and I would have laughed instead of feeling puzzled.

Harley also makes fun of readers who voted by calling them, “lonely enough to send in a ballot.” Having DC set up a fun, comic community activity to end the year with is awesome. The engagement readers took their time to partake in is valuable and shows the dedication they have to the publisher. To have the author of this book write a meta-text joke poking fun at those who voted feels rude. A check at the expense of your readership isn’t clever or funny, it’s rude and diminishes the sense of community between publisher, creative team, and consumer.

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With so many dynamic characters, the opportunity to provide clever and engaging jokes and dialogue are never fully utilized. Instead, Norton’s humor seems more of a mean-spirited critique of the characters he’s utilizing. This one-shot is 40-pages long and features 24+ villains. It is easy to notice there is not a lot of time spent per character. A subplot occurs featuring a villain who feels as though his evil-doing peers don’t notice or respect him. This feels jarring compared to the main plot of the award ceremony. This villain’s characterization feels lazy since he is utilized as a “twist” to a story that already feels overly-stuffed. It is just upsetting that the script isn’t as funny or well-thought-out as it could be, compared to how strong the creative team was.

Harley Quinn: Villain of the Year #1 is overall, disappointing. There is so much potential to make this a fun addition for lovers of both Harley Quinn and some of the best villains in all of the DCU. With floundering humor and a lackluster script, this 4.99 title feels more aligned with a cash grab than a fun experience for readers who engaged in the vote.

Harley Quinn: Villain of the Year #1 is available wherever comics are sold.

Harley Quinn: Villain of the Year #1
2.5

TL;DR

Harley Quinn: Villain of the Year #1 is overall, disappointing. There is so much potential to make this a fun addition for lovers of both Harley Quinn and some of the best villains in all of the DCU. With floundering humor and a lackluster script, this 4.99 title feels more aligned with a cash grab than a fun experience for readers who engaged in the vote.

1 Comment on “REVIEW: ‘Harley Quinn: Villain of the Year,’ Issue #1”

  1. I’ll never understand comics’ obsession with biting the hands that feed them and undermine their own followship.

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