Comic book fans never needed any proof that the Joker’s Girlfriend had the hearts of thousands of readers the world over – but DC Comics’ “Rebirth” made that abundantly clear. With the company wide relaunch coinciding with the arrival of DC’s Suicide Squad in theaters, it was easy to predict that the villains depicted in the film would gain some fans, and some of those would be picking up their brand new comics. But Harley’s success was unprecdented: the first issue in “Harley Quinn: Rebirth” sold over 400,000 copies alone.
In keeping with the spirit of the manic heroine – and little to the knowledge of those picking up the #1 Issue – Harley’s “Rebirth” wasn’t a relaunch of any kind. The links between her solo series and the larger DC Universe are tenuous at best, so writers Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti simply kept their story rolling forward. Since then we’ve seen Harley team up with a Deadpool knockoff, but her latest mission is a transformative one – literally. Gone is the pigtailed princess of Coney Island, replaced by a brutal punk rock frontwoman out for revenge (and applause).
Harley’s Suicide Squad Makeover
While her colorful world of crazy characters, oddball friends, roller derbies and a beloved neighborhood went largely unchanged by DC’s Rebirth events, Harley did undergo some changes in the lead up to her film debut (played by Margot Robbie). While the New 52 Harley had shifted to a color scheme of red and black, from hair to clothing, the issues leading into the Rebirth relaunch shifted her closer and closer to the movie design (a move commented on by Harley herself, as seen above). Palmiotti and Conner kept the core of the character intact, but it’s a testament to the movie version to say that the two heroines actually did have plenty in common.
Looking the part for those movie fans interested enough to pick up Harley’s new #1, Harley dove into some strange stories following the “Rebirth,” battling zombies with help from Poison Ivy, and tackling robot security droids in an Indian call center. But just as things seemed to be settling down, a random attack by a new gang of thieves changed everything. Why? Because they killed Harley’s favorite neighborhood postman in the process of stealing his packages. Learning that the gang moonlights as a punk rock band, Harley rounded up her musically-gifted friends and started a band of her own – beginning with a makeover.
Punk Rock Harley is Born
It was actually the Chief of Police who sought Harley’s help in bringing the gang to justice, due to one of their members being a prominent senator’s son. Keeping it off the books, Harley was to track down their band – dubbed Purple Satin – and put a stop to their criminal careers by any means necessary. The proceeding “Undercover Punker” story arc places Harley as the lead singer, confidant Tony as guitarist, Deadpoo– sorry, Red Tool on bass, and Egg Fu on drums. Together, they are ‘Skull Bags’ led by the beautiful but deadly ‘GG Harlin.’
Harley’s plan pays off almost immediately in Issue #6, as her brutal beating of a heckling concertgoer gets the crowd on her side (despite a terrible singing voice). Her attitude and edgy new look soon gains the attention of more than one member of the gang, which has us convinced she might decide that this punk rock look is a permanent one (either way, it will be some time before her hair grows back to normal).
We’ll only know for certain if her budding career is already over when the net issue drops… following Harley and her new friends as they take in a “Superhero and Super-villain Fetish Club.” So as different as her style may be, this is obviously the same old Harley Quinn.
What do you think of her brand new look? Does it only make sense for Harley to go to brand new extremes these days, or does her mohawk look leave something to be desired?
Harley Quinn #6 is available now.