I am a comic book geek (or recent convert) but am unfamiliar with the canon of popular comic book stories. I am unqualified to compare and contrast anything in this genre. Moving forward, I picked up MAD LOVE (2009) because for some odd reason I have a fascination with the Joker. The Joker is a rather interesting villain to me. He’s dark, edgy, psychotic and wholly unpredictable. Did you know that someone actually fell in love with the Clown Prince? This brings us to “Mad Love” the main story arc that’s highlighted in this hardcover reprint edition published by DC comics.
Mad Love is a love story, of sorts, as the title suggests. The Joker, who has escaped from Arkham is still determined to destroy Batman, as usual, in some elaborate master plan. Only this time he has an accomplice: Harley Quinzel. Miss Quinzel is a psychiatrist working at Arkham who befriends the Joker. She laughs at his jokes and gives him a sympathetic ear. She believes his lies and he gains her trust. Eventually she falls madly, deeply in love with the clown and breaks him free. She also sheds her good girl persona and changes her name from Harley Quinzel to Harley Quinn. There’s backstory on Ms. Quinn that showed just a hint of mischievousness that logically explains her character’s transformation. Moving on.
Since the two have been together, Harley Quinn’s affections for her “puddin” seems to be one-sided. She blames Batman for standing in the way of their love and decides to do something about it. So, she plots and schemes and actually succeeds where Joker has failed only he doesn’t see it that way. No. Joker’s rather large ego allows Batman to use that to his advantage in the climax of the story. My take on this love story: awesome storyline and dialogue. I enjoyed it immensely. Almost worth the cost of the hardcover price. Artwork – very nice as well. Also, I liked that even though Harley was never taken seriously, she was no dummy. She had a brain and she used it. Too bad she had poor taste in men.
As for the other stories, well, none were as good as Mad Love unfortunately but are worth reading I guess. One of the other stories I just skimmed completely. The other tales featured Scarecrow (that was good), Two-face, Bat-girl even puts in an appearance as does Batman’s adversary Selena Kyle aka Catwoman. There’s also the Arnold Wesker aka the “ventriloquist” and Scarface story (weak) among a few others. Simple, quick read. Worth reading at the library for the Mad Love story as that was quite excellent. B.