I love comics, but, I hate costumed superheroes. Weird, huh? I love horror comics like Tim Seeley‘s Hack/Slash, Josh Howard‘s Dead@17, Chris Roberson and Michael Allred‘s iZombie, and Sam Humphries’ Fanboys vs Zombies, among many others. Josh Howard, by the way, is my favorite comic artist because he draws the most adorable sexy girls ever! Yes, I said “adorable”.
I love strong, sexy female characters in comics and, as such, I have even embraced some costumed superheroines. For instance, I love Wolverine‘s female clone X-23, and, I am definitely enjoying X-23, and the other teen superheroines, in Marvel’s awesome Avengers Arena [which is an unashamed homage to Kinji Fukasaku‘s iconic Japanese film Battle Royale (2000)]. And, I love Catwoman, especially in DC‘s The New 52 reboot. But, Catwoman is more of an anti-superheroine. Finally, I have embraced some super villainesses, too. In fact, I love, and am currently obsessing over, Harley Quinn, who appears in DC‘s The New 52 reboot of Suicide Squad.
Yes, I adore this new Harley Quinn. Her twisted obsession with The Joker is the same, but, her look has been completely revamped for The New 52, with bleached skin and a much skimpier “stripper clown outfit.” Her only power is the ability to quip with mad skills, but, she’s bat-shit crazy and wields a giant mallet! I love her unbridled insanity, and I love Suicide Squad because of it! Harley Quinn is, as far as I’m concerned, the most compelling character in the DC Universe, next to Catwoman. But, I’m not a superhero fanboy.
Task Force X (aka Suicide Squad) is a team of Belle Reve Prison death row inmates forced, by director Amanda Waller, to perform covert government missions. The team includes Deadshot, Harley Quinn, King Shark, and various other DC supervillains. Suicide Squad is dark, action-packed, and cool, but, obviously, I bought into this comic solely for Mr. J‘s “little bag of crazy.”
My second favorite Suicide Squad story arc is “The Hunt For Harley Quinn” [originally published as Suicide Squad Vol. 4 #6 and #7 and collected in Volume 1: Kicked In the Teeth]. Harley Quinn, while on a mission, is told that her lover, The Joker, is dead, skinned alive. She betrays her team, and goes AWOL, in search of Mr. J‘s face, which she learns is locked deep inside the GCPD. So, of course, she turns herself in to the Gotham City Police, thus making it difficult for the team to retrieve her.
In this story arc, we learn about Harley Quinn‘s origin, The New 52 version. Dr. Harleen Quinzel, a new psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum, falls in love with her manipulative patient, The Joker, and he convinces her to free him. He takes her to the A.C.E. Chemical plant where he, then, throws her into the same vat of chemicals that created him, thus liberating the sexy Harley Quinn, who jumps on her Mr. J like a wolf in heat! It’s a beautiful love story!
Meanwhile, back at the GCPD, Harley forces Deadshot to wear The Joker‘s face so that she can have a conversation with her dead Mr. J. “Why did you leave me?” she asks, but, Deadshot lures her closer and shoots her. Poor little Harley Quinn. I don’t care how psychotic that little clown girl is, I think could love her if The Joker can’t.
My favorite Suicide Squad story arc, so far, is “Running With the Devil” [originally published as Suicide Squad Vol. 4 #14 and #15 and collected in Volume 3: Death Is For Suckers], which is part of DC‘s “Death of the Family” event. This is the arc that really made my heart explode for Harley Quinn! The Joker is back, and, on a rampage. He kidnaps Harley from Deadshot‘s funeral [yes, Deadshot is dead], and subjects her to some extreme domestic abuse, poetically consummating their pent-up passion, previously on hold due to Mr. J‘s absence, in all its violent glory! Is it wrong that Harley Quinn getting her ass kicked by The Joker and liking it is appealing to me? But, she deserves it, right? I mean she is criminally insane, but, so criminally sexy, too!
Anyway, The Joker offers Harley a deal, asking her to do something for him [read Batman #14 (The New 52)] so he won’t desecrate Deadshot‘s body. She does what’s asked of her, and later, meets him at the A.C.E. Chemical Plant, where he tries to dump her in a chemical bath, again, because he feels he’s lost his Harley Quinn to Dr. Harleen Quinzel, due to Harley‘s good deeds with Task Force X. But, she escapes. He unleashes rabid hyenas on her. She prevails. She and him fight some more, but, finally, The Joker subdues Harley, and chains her in a room filled with the skeletons of his “other Harleys!” He says: “What? You thought you were the first one?!”
Eventually, Harley frees herself with “a little blood, a little pain and a lot of wiggling,” and, makes her way back to Amanda Waller at Belle Reve Prison, Task Force X‘s headquarters. “Welcome home, Harley,” Amanda says, surprised, as Harley collapses at the gate. “Thanks,” Harley replies, sarcastically. I think that’s funny. Later, in “Killing In The Name of …” [Suicide Squad Vol. 4 #16], after Deadshot [yes, Deadshot is not dead and he gets his ass kicked by Harley!] is abrupt with Waller, she says to Harley, who has a thing for Deadshot: “Not sure what you see in this guy, Harley.” And, Harley replies: “Hello! I obviously have low self-esteem.” I think that’s funny, too. Then, in the weapons room, Harley grabs a bull whip, glances at Deadshot, and says: “This has nothing to do with me reading Fifty Shades of Grey. I swear.” Now, that is funny!
“Roses are red. Violets are blue. I’m a schizophrenic, and, so am I.” Harley Quinn is to die for!
Oh, and Harley Quinn #1 (Detective Comics #23.2) is pretty cool, too! Harley‘s origin is slightly different, and, the story and artwork are lighter in tone, but, I like it anyway. This story arc is continued in Suicide Squad #24, a “Forever Evil” tie-in. However, when it comes to costumed superheroes, I wait for the graphic novel collections, and Suicide Squad #19 is the last issue collected in Volume 3. Yes, Deadshot is dead again, it seems, and, I definitely can’t wait for Volume 4.
Apparently, I don’t hate costumed superheroes as much as I think I do.