At the moment, the DC Extended Universe is in the spotlight, big time. The controversy over their Suicide Squad movie is the biggest blip on every film and comic fan’s radar as it releases en masse tomorrow. Whether or not the new movie proves that critics are wildly off-base with regards to some superhero fare, or that DC dropped the ball yet again comes down to personal perspective and box office muscle. One thing’s for sure, all the hubbub over Suicide Squad is apparently doing wonders for DC’s related comic book sales.
With the Suicide Squad’s own Rebirth launching yesterday, DC's comic line is probably looking at big numbers even if their Warner Bros. co-venture fails to hit major pay dirt (although it’s already doing well overseas). The clear standout from both the film and the comic book realms is Harley Quinn.
Released yesterday, Harley Quinn Rebirth #1 hit the market to generally positive reviews and a reported advanced sales mark topping 400,000 issues, according to Bleeding Cool. “Die Laughing” part 1 was written by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti and features artwork by Alex Sinclair, Chad Hardin, with coloring by Alex Sinclair and Dave Sharpe. Harley’s Rebirth – which is really more of a perpetuation of her New 52 storyline with a fresh origin story – also offered comic purveyors a unique opportunity to ‘commission’ their own variant cover, depending upon how many issues they ordered in bulk. In all, DC released 74 variant covers. Take a look at the standard cover, followed by a couple of variant covers below (follow these links to more variant covers):
After a few pages of exposition (because it’s Rebirth), Harley Quinn #1 puts everyone’s new favorite chanteuse of chaos into a nightmarish scenario. Our anti-heroine gets a little movie-based makeover (all tongue-in-cheek) before hitting the town to catch the new flick, “The Kill Yourself Crew.” She discovers quickly that her knock-off of a knock-off stalker superhero superstar (phew!) Red Tool is on her tail again. His arrival is opportune, though, because a bad batch of laced sausages is turning everyone into something resembling the z-word (check out our official Harley Quinn Rebirth breakdown). Naturally, all sorts of fourth-wall shattering antics ensue.
Although no official tallies or sales reports on Harley’s Rebirth have been reported via DC, major sales wouldn’t be surprising given DC and Warner’s marketing campaign for Suicide Squad. Their gurus saturated social media, appealing to not only comic book fanatics but Hot Topic shoppers, lovers of garish '80s colors, and hip hop aficionados, in addition to an intrigued general audiences. With a comic book collector’s cornucopia of variant covers, a fun zombie apocalypse-esque storyline, and a Deadpool – er, Red Tool – crossover, the success of Harley Quinn #1 will only further push its star (originally created by Paul Dini for Batman: The Animated Series) into the spotlight.
Margot Robbie’s performance has already garnered praise from Dini as well as early screeners. If Task Force X’s solo shot succeeds with fans and conventional filmgoers, Harley Quinn’s pop cultural cachet could skyrocket to an all-time high, and DC’s entire catalogue will undoubtedly receive a huge sales boost as a result. It will be interesting to see what DC’s official sales marks hit for both the Harley Quinn and Suicide Squad Rebirths. From early marks, though, it looks like DC may have the last laugh with their villains-gone-good saga.
DC's Rebirth Harley Quinn #1 is currently available. Harley Quinn #2 arrives on August 17.