REVIEW: ‘Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity,’ Issue #2

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Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity #2

Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity #2 is published by DC Comics under their DC Black Label, DC’s mature imprint, written by internationally bestselling author Kami Garcia (Beautiful Creatures, Unbreakable, X-Files: Agents of Chaos) with art from Mike Mayhew (The Star Wars), Mico Suayan (Bloodshot: Reborn), and Jason Badower, with letters by Richard Starkings of Comicraft.

Previously, Jim Gordon and the GCPD turned to profiler Harley Quinn for assistance in hopes of catching the mysterious and terrifying serial killer terrorizing Gotham. Now, Harley continues her investigation as more victims are discovered. The amount of detail with each kill fascinates Harley but it remains to be seen whether the killer’s distinctive M.O. will lead to his downfall. But as the killer continues his rampage, Harley’s search leads her to face uncomfortable truths about her own past.

Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity #2

The murders in Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity #2 are gruesome and the way in which the bodies have been mutilated is incredibly disturbing. Garcia’s narrative seems to take inspiration from realistic crime dramas like Criminal Minds and even more recently Netflix’s Mindhunter. Harley attempts to understand the killer and knows a kill this detailed takes practice. The hyper-realism of  Mayhew, Suayan, and Badower’s art compliments the dark, heavy themes of the narrative. The panels switch from black and white to color. The past, which primarily focuses on flashbacks of Harley’s childhood, is displayed in full-color.

The choice to make the present in black and white is odd While I understand the attempt is to show the gravity of the situation by adding to the shadows and darkness of the story, it just mutes the panels. Seeing the body fat, that has been melted into candles by the killer, and the body dismembered and strung up in full-color would have been a more impactful image. That being said, the art itself is beautiful and while very different from anything else currently on panels is very well done.

Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity #2

Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity #2 sheds more light on Harley Quinn than the killer himself. However, the best moments within the issue feature the gory details of the crime itself. So far, the series is wildly different from anything else currently taking place in Gotham City. Even though it features classic Batman character, Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity is a hyper-realistic series that fans of criminal investigation series and true crime will still enjoy. I intend to keep reading the series but hope continuing issues have better pacing and more focus on the investigation itself.

Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity #2 is available now wherever comic books are sold and online.

Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity #2
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TL;DR

Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity #2 sheds more light on Harley Quinn than the killer himself. However, the best moments within the issue feature the gory details of the crime itself. So far, the series is wildly different from anything else currently taking place in Gotham City.