By Kelly Gaines
What would the DC universe’s most chaotic anti-hero/ anti-villain do with unlimited wishes from a magical genie? In the case of Harley Quinn, the answer is to screw it up- big time. Harley Quinn Be Careful What You Wish For Special feels like a classic “What If…” story while remaining comfortably nestled in the continuity of Harley’s rebirth universe.
We enter to a day in the sun on Coney Island for Harley and her crew. After becoming frustrated with the pollution on her beach, Harley decides to confront the supposed culprits- nearby shipping vessels- with bazooka in hand. In the ensuing chaos, Harley finds her very own piece of sunken treasure. She resurfaces with a bottled genie (whose name she never quite gets right), and is promised as many wishes as she desires.
As expected, Harley spends a few ill-fated wishes asking for ridiculous things (bigger boobs, superpowers, and a ton of kebabs). Each of her wishes predictably come back to bite her in the butt. The more profound her wishes get, the harder they are to undo, proving to Harley that perhaps thinking things through is for suckers. All is predictably not well until Harley makes a wish that her genie is powerless to undo.
There is a silver lining to Harley’s bad wishing; she takes some accountability for the long-lasting effects of her actions and helps a new friend out of (after first bringing him into) a tough spot.The concept is fresh and offers endless possibilities for Harley-esq hijinks. Unfortunately, writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner failed to write an adventure that stands up to the clown princess of Coney Island’s potential. The story feels as though it’s lacking a real climax, mixing rising action and falling action into one underwhelming sweep. The most disappointing part is that the ideas are all there. Harley’s requests feel true to the character, but simply don’t have the entertaining payoff. It’s a fun-ish read that consistently risks wading into boring waters.
Despite the book's shortcomings, Harley Quinn Be Careful What You Wish For is visually a good time. As a personal fan of Amanda Conner (yes, the same Amanda Conner that co-wrote the book), I am never disappointed with her artwork. Harley Quinn has never looked so close to bursting with life than she does when drawn by Amanda Conner. Overall, I’d recommend this special for fans of fun, quick reads- and any diehard fan of Harley Quinn.
Harley Quinn Be Careful What You Wish For #1