During the heyday of the Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, Rebirth series, we saw the formation fo a Harley themed crew and her everyday life on Coney Island doing whatever she wanted and getting into trouble.
As a return to those days, DC hired the same writers and artists to create a Black Label version that adds more sex jokes, allotted by the Black Label medium, and the same amount of excessive violence and childish humor we expect from a Harley Quinn series.
Alongside Quinn, this series also casts the Birds of Prey to align with the current film. We see Huntress, Montoya, Cassandra and Black Canary all get involved in the series. Compared to their source material, this series also showed Cassandra in an outfit that fit closer with the film as opposed to her traditional look and costume, as seen in series like the current run of Outsiders.
Another strong element of this series was that the authors managed to do a good job of generating a four issue storyline to coincide with their previous run, as opposed to the current Harley Quinn run. In this series, we see Harley going after a criminal money lending company, stationed out of Gotham. This sets the precedent for Harley returning to the people who want her dead, and will probably feature Black Mask in an upcoming issue, since this run appears as a means to promote the film.
While authors Conner and Palmiotti return to form with their old run, the series still feels more written towards a younger demographic. Including food jokes or dick jokes among other things, felt like the kinds of things that teenage me would’ve enjoyed heavily. Nowadays, that humor isn’t something I strongly seek out. As a character, the humor fits for how they authors depict Harley, which has become the standard at DC, but I still miss the puns and sometimes more subtle elements of the character during the Dini era of her creation.
Every author has their own version of Harley and unfortunately, this is not the version that I like so the jokes and characterizations weren’t a strong point for me, though I acknowledge that it works for the world that Conner and Palmiotti had created around her.
What this series did excel in was creating a strong storyline to focus on and find a way to include the jokes in a manner that still allowed for story progression. This made for an issue that didn’t feel like the authors lost sight of the plot, instead it created a strong reason for the storyline to exist and maintain Harley’s personality when reacting to various situations. Though I’m not the target audience, this issue proved that Harley’s rebirth legacy lives on as the goofy character she was.