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New 52 Harley Quinn

DC Direct
by yo go re

Since DC's "New 52" started, no one character has engendered as much complaining from the fans as Harley Quinn. They hated her outfit, they hated her origin, they hated the way she was written, and they hated her solo book as soon as it was announced. Of course, her outfit was basically the Arkham City costume, her origin only had one small change, she was written consistently with her old characterization, and her solo book... well, that was just good old-fashioned unabashed ignorance.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, most of the idiots went away after the book in question came out and they realized that maybe getting outraged about something that no one anywhere has read yet is a stupid thing to do. Harley's new book is fun and silly, just like a Harley Quinn comic should be - and it's still in continuity with the earlier appearances that people wouldn't stop complaining about. When New 52 started, she thought Joker was dead, so she was acting all self-destructive; then during "Death of the Family," he came back, she realized what a dick he was and decided to move on with her life. Logical writing? Natural progression? Who woulda thunk it!

The new comic is written by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, and Conner designed her new look, as well. This figure was sculpted by our old favorite Dave Cortes, and you can instantly tell it's based on Conner's art, but there's something just... "off" about the face. It's too pointy, or sits too high on the head, or something. Cute, but not perfect.

Harl's new costume actually shows more skin than the previous one, yet isn't subject to the same sort of griping. Why? That is a good question. It first appeared on the cover of Harley Quinn #0, but didn't make it into the story until issue #10 - it's a typical roller derby get-up, just done in her traditional red and black. She's wearing a tight bodice that zips up the front and laces in the rear, booty shorts, knee-length socks, open-back gloves, and all the requisite pads. And because Harley's Harley, her hair is in ponytails and she's wearing a collar of jingle bells.

The sculpt may be symmetrical, but the paint isn't. She's got one red sock with a black star, and one black sock with red stripes; one kneepad has a single diamond, the other has two (same goes for the elbows); her shorts have three black diamonds on the right hip, and a red star on the left butt cheek; a star on one breast and a diamond on the other; three red diamonds on the right should pad, and 5150 on the other. That's apparently the California police code for an involuntary psychiatric hold, and not a Countdown reference. Makes sense for a former psychiatrist who's gone off the deep end!

Apparently DC's brief flirtation with reliably giving their figures waists is coming to an end, because Harley doesn't have one. She does have a balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders, hinged elbows, swivel wrists, balljointed hips, hinged knees, and swivel ankles. Yes, just swivel ankles. That's really weird. If you want swivels in the legs, put them at the top of her socks. Or better yet, the top of her kneepads, so she can actually point her lower legs in different directions.

She's armed with a pistol that can holster on her hip, but her trademark weapon is the giant mallet - it's got a silver handle and a metallic red head, and she can hold it in both hands at once. What's really unexpectedly awesome, though, are her rollerskates: not only do the front and back wheels roll independently, but they're actually removable! Seriously, they're packaged separately in the tray, probably because no one would realize it otherwise. If you want a plain-footed Harley, you can have it - but remember, between the rolling wheels and the swivel ankles, it's hard to find a pose that will be stable.

New 52 Harley Quinn isn't a better character than Old 52 Harley Quinn, but that's only because they're pretty much the same exact character. Her comic is a lot of fun, and her roller derby design is cool. This action figure isn't the best it could be, but it's still good.

-- 06/03/15

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