Harley Quinn: Potty-Mouth Bloodbath Version Fun for Adult Comics Fans

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Harley Quinn Season One DVD

If you go into the DC Universe streaming series HARLEY QUINN expecting it to be an extension of BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES or any of the other DCAU projects, then you've put up an unnecessary barrier to enjoying this show. Yes, the series has Batman and Robin and the Justice League, and yes it has more DCU villains than you could feasibly lock up in a single asylum. But this is the DCU as viewed through the lens of Mad Magazine, with the editors high on cocaine while wearing bondage gear. It's irreverent, it's foul-mouthed -- and it's funny AF.

The first season collected here onto DVD features 13 half-hour shorts following Harley Quinn (Kaley Cuoco) as she struggles to realize that her relationship with the Joker (Alan Tudyk) was a one-sided romance while stepping away to make a name for herself solo in villainy. Supported by her friend Poison Ivy (Lake Bell), Harley ricochets from one bad decision to another, as she forms a crew to achieve her ultimate end goal: acceptance into the Legion of Doom!

In the world of HARLEY QUINN, villainy is a business like any other, subjecting the insane to the inane and mundane -- building codes for secret lairs, family gatherings, and cancelling out members who engage in sexist behavior. When Doctor Psycho (Tony Hale) battles Wonder Woman on television and blurts out the "C U Next Tuesday" word at her, the L.O.D. ostracizes him because they're just not that kind of evil, leaving Psycho to become one of Harley's crew members in an atempt to get back his reputation.

Also joining the crew are Clayface (Alan Tudyk), the ever over-emoting thespian who can appear to look like anyone but first has to craft a compelling backstory for them; and King Shark (Ron Funches), a half-man/half-shark computer whiz whose quite civilized but doesn't do well around blood.

The storytelling here is a mixed bag. To be sure, there's an overarching plot to the entire season, and elements from one episode carry over to others. But the first even episodes are treated as more standalone stories, while the final six episodes jump from one to the next with cliffhanger endings, turning it into a multi-part epic. This is okay for bingeing on a DVD, but gets old when you have to wait between episodes; it makes it almost like reading comic books.

The blood and language in HARLEY QUINN are pervasive. It's not a peppering of profanity, it's an all you can eat buffet. Gotham City itself is a constant madhouse, with Jim Gordon (Christopher Meloni) regularly firing up the Bat-Signal to tell Batman (Diedrich Bader) the details on the crisis...of his failing marriage. Ivy's landlord, Sy Borgman (Jason Alexander) is a wheelchair-bound cybernetically enhanced war criminal, and her houseplant, Frank (J.B. Smoove) is a close relative to LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS' Audrey II. We also get to see how messed up Harley's life was even before she got hooked up with Joker -- and there's romance as Ivy slowly falls in not-hate with the irrepressible Kite Man (hell yeah!) voiced by Matt Oberg.

If you're mature enough to enjoy the immature, then check yourself in for some cartoon therapy with this thirteen-episode collection from DC Universe. On DVD June 2.

Grade: 
4.5 / 5.0