This week Harley Quinn invades San Diego Comic Con, and the X-Men receive the “Last Will and Testament of Charles Xavier”!
Harley Quinn Invades Comic Con International San Diego #1 (DC Comics)
I’ll admit it; I dropped Harley Quinn a few months ago. As much as I loved the character, I wasn’t a fan on this new “Deadpool” spin that writers Amanda Connor and Jimmy Palmiotti were giving her. After two really good opening issues, the book quickly devolved into an unfunny, incoherent mess. But for some reason I was compelled to pick up Harley Quinn Invades Comic Con International San Diego. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because the premise, which has Harley trying to pitch her own comic book, seemed similar to the zero issue that I loved. Maybe I felt I was being too hard on Harley’s main series and wanted to give her another shot. Or maybe I just simply like Harley Quinn and wanted to see her at San Diego Comic Con, the nerd Mecca that I’ll probably never go to in my lifetime. Whatever the reasoning, I picked up this one shot issue and actually found that I enjoyed it quite a bit. It still has a lot of the same things that irk me about the regular series, but I found myself being able to look past that and really enjoy the main story.
That story, of course, is Harley attending San Diego Comic Con. It really doesn’t get much more complicated than that. Harley’s there to “help” her carnival show neighbors’ booth, but in true Harley fashion trouble has a way of finding her and preventing her from enjoying the show. There are a lot of Meta jokes, and it is pretty weird seeing the DC universe acknowledge the fact that people probably dress up like the characters that they publish. However, it is pretty cool to see, and not that much of a stretch when you think about it. We’ve seen young kids in the Marvel universe dress up like their favorite heroes, so why shouldn’t the kids and fans of the DC universe dress up like Batman, Superman, and Harley Quinn?
Writers Amanda Connor and Jimmy Palmiotti have a lot of fun poking fun at not only DC, but the comics industry at large. They have a lot of fun with the convention experience, and are frighteningly accurate with a lot of it. Speaking as someone who’s worked at a lot of shows for my employer, there’s a lot mentioned in this comic that brought back good (and bad) memories, like setting up for the show, checking into the hotel room, meeting celebrities, and having to deal with lines for everything. Connor and Palmiotti poke a little fun at comic fans as well, but it’s nothing that goes beyond just a little playful ribbing.
This issue packs a serious bang for your artistic buck. There’s a TON of talent listed in the books credits. Artists Paul Pope, Javier Garron, Damion Scott &Robert Campanella, John Timms, Marco Failla, Dave Johnson, Stephane Roux, Lovern Kindzierski, Paul Mounts, Brett Smith, Dave McCaig, and Amanda Connor herself all lend their artistic talents to Harley Quinn Invades SDCCI, and for the most part, they all work really well. The only negative is that the different artistic shifts are pretty jarring. Once you get used to one penciler’s style, it changes. However, there isn’t an artist listed in the credits that does a completely horrendous job, so it’s not a complete mess.
Harley Quinn Invades Comic Con International San Diego is pretty fun one off book. Is it going to get me to give Harley’s ongoing another chance? Maybe. It was the kind of book that I was looking to read when I picked it up: fun, light, and entertaining. I won’t lie; I even chuckled at it in a few places. If you’ve got the comic con blues, then do yourself a favor and pick it up. There’s a lot to like for $5 cover price, and there are plenty of moments that will make you smile.
Uncanny X-Men #23 (Marvel Comics)
Uncanny X-Men gets into the Original Sin business with the start of “The Last Will and Testament of Charles Xavier”, the newest X-Men storyline that promises to “change everything”. As someone who’s only checked in on Uncanny here and there, I picked this up because I wanted to see just what exactly is in Xavier’s will. Of course, this is a comic written by Brian Michael Bendis, so that isn’t revealed in this issue.
That being said, this issue actually did a pretty good job of not only filling me in on what I’ve missed from Uncanny recently, but also explaining why I should care. Dazzler has recently discovered that Mystique has been posing has her, and is naturally pretty upset about it. There’s also Cyclops’ team of students that he has to look after, and Bendis writes a pretty good scene where Scott Summers has to apologize to a student that he had kicked off of the X-Men previously. There’s a lot of pretty solid character work in this issue from Bendis, which means that even though the main story hasn’t been presented just yet, I’ll definitely be back for the next issue. As for Xavier’s will, really the only thing that we learn about it is that it has come into the possession of Jennifer Walters, aka She-Hulk, and the only way that it can be opened is if the Jean Grey School X-Men can convince Cyclops to join them in at the reading.
Kris Anka handles the art duties with this issue, and I have to say, he does a pretty stellar job. One of the big things that always left me cold about Uncanny X-Men was the art. It wasn’t that it was bad; I just never thought that it fit with the tone of the book. Anka, however, is able to express a lot of emotions in the cast of the book, something that works wonders when we see the anger on Dazzler’s face, or the look of shock on Storm when she learns what She-Hulk has. Hopefully this is the start of a long run on the title for Anka. He’s certainly a very good fit so far.
While Uncanny X-Men #23 barely scratches the surface of the “Last Will and Testament of Charles Xavier”, I’m still very intrigued with what’s to come for Cylclops’ crew of mutants, and I’m even intrigued enough to try and fill in the gaps of my collection too. There’s plenty of really interesting things going in Uncanny X-Men, and I hope it lives up to what I’m expecting from it.