Harley Quinn the Queen of Comic Villainy

Let’s be clear: I’m not on the Harley Quinn train that DC seems to be on.

To me this is the same thing that was done with Wolverine and Deadpool over at Marvel. You get a breakout character and you plaster them everywhere. Harley is that breakout character for DC Comics. This means we get to see the character get their own book and show up in every other book. In today’s cinematic world that would get the character their own movie or TV show.

Unlike most comic characters Harley Quinn’s start was on TV. Harley Quinn was meant to be a one-off character in September 1992 on Batman the Animated Series as the Joker’s girlfriend. The character was a hit and made it to comic book pages in September 1993. Now after getting her own book title and starring in a live action movie, Harley Quinn is the star of her own TV series on the DC Universe streaming service.

Harley Quinn is not your kid’s cartoon. Like every other DC Universe original show, Harley Quinn is adult themed and laced with profanity. The series tells the story of Harley Quinn striking out on her own. She realizes that she is not as important to Joker as she thought she was. She always thought of herself as his partner. He treats her like a sidekick. This is about her breaking away from the Joker and becoming her own woman.

But just as the Joker is obsessed with killing Batman, Harley is obsessed with showing Joker that she is her own woman. Now take that concept and add comedy. In recent times, DC is learning that taking the dark approach to everything is not the route to go. Harley Quinn takes a more comedic look on the Batman universe and Gotham City. It doesn’t glorify crime or the evil of the villains but just takes a more comedic look at the dark underworld of Gotham.

Kaley Cuoco does an excellent job as Harley Quinn. The series shows you the real character that is Harley Quinn. She’s crazy but she is also smart. She is underestimated as the Joker’s girlfriend and often dismissed, and she wants to show the world she is more than that. The series delves into the history of the character in that she was once a prominent doctor who was turned by the Joker into a villain. She’s a crazy lady who still retains the knowledge of her old profession.

We cannot talk about this show without giving prompts to the supporting cast. So far most of the Gotham underground has been represented along with some other villains. One main stand out is Lake Bell doing the voice work for the Poison Ivy character. Poison Ivy is like Abbott to Harley’s Costello. Harley is like every bad kid going to the Chocolate Factory and Ivy is like Willy Wonka calmly sitting there going “No. Wait. Stop.” But Harley does it her way anyway leaving Ivy at the end going “Did we learn anything from this?”.

However, the one thing that translates from the comic in this series is the friendship between the two women. Actor Alan Tudyk does an awesome job with Joker. It’s really some Mark Hamill Adventures of Batman level work that this man puts into it and that’s a good marker to have. He shows the random craziness that is Joker and how you never know what the Joker could care about or not care about. Another stand out is Frank the Plant voiced by J. B. Smoove.

This is some Little Shop of Horrors kind of stuff and a great comic relief in a show that is full of comedy. Almost every villain you can name shows up on this show voice by some very notable actors. Listen for talent such as Wanda Sikes, Sanaa Lathan, Jason Alexander, Tisha Campbell-Martin, and Howie Mandel. One of my favorites is voice actor Matt Oberg who does a few of the villains but the main one that stands out to me is Kite Man and the running joke with him. It will have you on the floor.

Like I stated in the beginning, I am not a big Harley Quinn fan. However, this show is worth taking another look at the character. New episodes every Friday. Check it out.

Kenny Walker Jr

Hush: Don’t Mention This Movie Exists

The DC universe has done it again. If their goal is to let down their fanbase, they have been on fire. More realistically, they are playing cash grab, trying to catch up to the MCU. Hush is one of the most revered Batman story arcs, just like the Killing Joke, and just as they did with the Killing Joke, they ruined a fan favorite.

If they keep this up, the LEGO comic book universe will be the MCU’s closest competitor. Hush, the animated movie, followed some of the story. Batman tries to catch Batwoman in the opening scene, but his Batarang line is cut, causing him to free fall and resulting in a brain injury. In the opening scene in the comics, Killer Croc is the villain Batman and Catwoman converge upon, whereas the movie chose to use Bane.

The casual DC fans would be more familiar with Bane than Killer Croc, so there is a certain profit-based logic, but it does not add to the story. But at least that only didn’t add to the story, compared to other alterations which ruined this animated adaptation. The animated movie again stuck to the source material in the Batman versus Superman fight.

Poison Ivy was able to put Superman under her spell with Kryptonite lipstick, then used him as a weapon against Batman and Catwoman. This scene was a rare bright spot. Batman using the Kryptonite gloves and running in lead lined tunnels to counteract Superman’s superhuman strength advantage always appeases Batman fans.

The Batman and Catwoman love storylines intrigued readers since its inception, Hush the movie capitalized on this to the “Umph” degree. The audience went “Umph” when this story about the manipulation and betrayal at the hands of childhood best friend became that love story. Fans probably would have been happier if it ended in the wedding of Batman and Catwoman than they were with this movie’s twist(ed) ending.

Introduce Dr. Thomas Elliot, like the comic, the fans are introduced to Thomas Elliot as Bruce Wayne’s childhood friend to operate on Bruce Wayne. The scenes between Bruce and Thomas were supposed to set up an emotionally driven reveal, instead, they turned it into another tragedy caused by Bruce Wayne being Batman.

In the comic, Joker looks guilty of killing Thomas Elliot, and Batman almost breaks his code as he brutally beats the Joker then almost stabs him to death. The animated movie closely followed this scene, then turned the entire story on its head. The animated movie decided to kill off Thomas Elliot, it was not another of Hush’s ploys.

In the comics, this scene was staged, as it is finally revealed, Hush was Thomas Elliot. This emotional impact of this personal betrayal is one of the main reasons Hush goes down as one of Batman’s best stories. Another missing emotional piece to this puzzling movie, was the absence of the Clayface as Jason Todd scene.

This scene was absent due to continuity issues, as Jason Todd is not a part of their DC animated universe. But the scene in the comics where Batman confronts Jason Todd was one of the most pivotal scenes of this story arc. Instead of drawing the fans in with this scene, they foreshadow a decision that would make Batman fans squirm and dissociate from this animated film.

Hush, the animated movie decided to put their own twist on the surprise ending, and The Riddler revealed as Hush. Their apparent logic comes from the very end of the comic when Batman visits The Riddler at Arkham Asylum. While their reasoning makes sense, it completely ruins the impact of the reveal, and thus the movie in its entirety.

Hush, the animated movie, another DC movie let down. DC animated movies, such as Under the Red Hood stuck to the source material and was a hit amongst DC fans and blew Marvel animated movies out of the water. DC comic fans want their favorite comics to come to life whether live-action or animated, however, they will stop spending their hard-earned dollars if DC continues to butcher some of its best storylines.

Hush is a movie no Dc fan will recommend to another, diehard or casual. With movies like the Killing Joke and Hush, it is getting harder to be excited for any future DC animated projects. Here’s to hoping there is a major twist in the DC production team so Dc fans will once again be proud to discuss their favorites story arcs come to life on the big or silver screen.

Mike Hoff