By Damien Becton
With the wedding of Batman and Catwoman right around the corner, it was expected that we would be provided with a bunch of cash-grab comics that would take advantage of this monumental event. And, of course, the books have been met with a mixed reception from critics and fans alike. With all of these prelude books going around, the one that I was looking forward to most was Harley vs. Joker, and I think that it is safe to say that of all of the ones that have been released so far, this is probably the best.
As implied in the title, Batman: Prelude to the Wedding - Harley vs. Joker takes place before Bruce’s and Selina’s wedding. The Joker, still upset that he hasn’t received an invite to the wedding, looks to cause havoc in an attempt to garner that invite. However, Harley makes it her business to stop the Joker before he evens get started. And even though it ends up exactly how you would predict, it is still executed well.
Writer, Tim Seeley, does an excellent job finding the voices of both Harley and the Joker well. The dialogue between the two feels true to the characters and plays out how you would expect in the situations that they are put in. It was cool to see Harley’s plan (almost) come to fruition and how she used her knowledge of the Joker to develop a plan to attempt to capture and kill him. Her elaborate plan to use a delicious treat was unexpected but, like I said earlier, completely in character and fun.
The gripe that I have with the book is that it is extremely predictable, and ends exactly how I thought it would. Harley had this seemingly bulletproof plan to intervene in the Joker's attempt to disrupt the wedding, but, of course, we all know who had the advantage the entire time. I think that it would have served the story a little better if, just for once, another character was just one step ahead of “Mistah J.” Doing this probably would have conflicted with King’s story, so I understand why it probably didn’t happen.
Regardless, the book is gorgeous and a delight to look at. His pencils are clean, crisp, and expressive. The Joker looks great and Harley’s action scene toward the end is executed well. Sami Basri is extremely talented and I hope that we see more of him in the future.
In short, this book is extremely well done. It ties directly into the previous two issues of Tom King’s Batman, and sort of enhances the story. Seeley does an excellent job finding the characters voices and their interactions are great. The predictability is an issue, but I can imagine that Seeley’s hands were tied and definitely makes the most out of the cards that he was dealt. This book is definitely worthwhile if you have an extra $4 to spend!
Batman: Prelude to the Wedding - Harley vs. Joker #1