Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity #1
Writer: Kami Garcia
Artists: Mico Suayan & Mike Mayhew
Letterer: Richard Starkings of Comicraft
Cover by Francesco Mattina
Joker Variant Cover: Mico Suayan
Harley Variant Cover: Mike Mayhew
In THIS series, it’s all about Joker and Harley and their interaction with each other, obviously. Harley holds ill will towards Joker for killing her wife. Yes, her wife. The murder fits the same signature of other Joker murders, one of which was their downstairs neighbor and study buddy.
Five years later she is helping the Gotham PD find and capture the Joker. Now she goes by Dr. Harley Quinn instead of Harleen Quinzel. Even though she is a valuable asset and has helped close a number of cases for the department, Dr. Quinn is laughed at by the department’s detectives. None of them take her seriously and they continue to harass her with insults and demeaning comments. This doesn’t seem to really get to her as she is a tough chick. She’s a criminal psychiatrist and behavior analyst. She’s got hard core independence and a take no shit kind of attitude. And she seems to know her stuff.
The Joker has gone underground, off the grid, having vanished after committing a particularly horrific murder. Therefore, we don’t actually get a Joker appearance in this issue.
However, the artwork in this issue is fantastic!! Some of the panels are black and white and some are in color. The ones in B&W are phenomenal with a shattering spot on use of shading to accent every facial expression, every wrinkle in the clothes, every shadow. The bold contrast has a strong impact when put together with the text in those panels. The color panels, now those look almost like oil paintings and I’m almost certain they used live models for a lot of them.
One small problem I did have with this issue, and yes this might be nitpicking, was that the writer gives the wrong definition for criminal insanity. It bothers me because DR. Harley Quinn is supposed to be really good at her job and she gives this definition while giving a presentation. I feel like it takes away from her credibility as a character. So, we’re gonna have another quick little lesson.
First of all, the term ‘insane’ only exists in the legal profession. Medical and/or mental health professionals don’t use the term ‘insane’. Now, to be declared “legally insane” you must meet one of the following criteria:
You were not capable of determining right from wrong at the time the offense was committed.
You were unable to determine and understand the consequences of your actions at the time the offense was committed.
The author writes that “a person is considered criminally insane if, at the time of the offense, they were not in touch with reality to know they were committing a crime or if they could not stop themselves”. This is not only a gross oversimplification, it’s also incorrect.
So, now, hopefully we’ve cleared that up.
I will say that I did really dig all the true crime references in this issue. Those were pretty accurate which is why the above problem was so annoying to me. But it didn’t make me like the issue any less.
Any Joker and/or Harley Quinn fan will like this series. I’ve already got the next book ready to read. I’ll get the review up once I get through issue two. But this is definitely a series worth getting.
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