I'm a well read grad student who's bluntly honest about all things, although I try to be most honest about myself.
There's less focus on her bisexuality/implied polyamory**, and it's simply less witty. It's also less crazy. That is, Harley seems offbeat here, but not quite as predatory, homicidal or mentally ill as in the next series.
And the thing is that all those things in the third sentence may not seem to make for a good character, but they did. Because the thing that Harley and Deadpool have is common is that they both break the fourth wall, realize that they're in a comic series, and are mentally ill. That is, we, as readers, know that they see through the veil of fictional reality, but no one else does. This wisdom comes with a heavy price, it seems. They are so outside the norm of the fictional world in which they live, how can they not seem unhinged to the other characters? And being treated as if you're crazy? It might drive you crazy if seeing the reality doesn't.
They are puppets. They know they are puppets. Why play by the rules? I mean, even if they do kill, if they are amoral, or even downright evil, well, it's not their fault, right? The writers made them do it! And each time I put it this way in my head, I think about what I'd do if someone told me that. If someone truly believed it. Well, I wouldn't believe them. Their reality would be so outside mine, and everyone else's that I know, that I'm not sure I could even fathom what living that way would mean.
And the more I think about it, the more I realize how little free will these characters have. In the end, we can talk about moral responsibility, codes of conduct, and on and on and on, but the only one who has any real 'moral responsibility' is the author. It's the author writing everything: every code broken, every sentence that makes us shudder, or go 'ew'? It's all the writer. It's this weird dissonance: you're not responsible for anything, so you can do anything, but you also have no free will, so you really can't do anything. You're aware of both of these facts. It must be a living hell. There's a pathos in this situation that draws me to these characters.
But I thought, hey, this can't be too bad, right? I mean, it's Harley before the Harley I know.
When you strip away the knowledge that she's a comic book character, you strip away a lot from the character. Those dilemmas, the pathos, but I thought she can still have that playful insanity, right?
Except she didn't, not really. The Harley in this had the same passion as the one that I'd read about, but not so much the same magic. The other Harley was more self-aware - and not just the 'I know I'm a comic book character' thing. She knew herself far better, she felt more comfortable with herself, and she ended up being much more fun to hang out with.
I kinda ended this, and I have this 'ugh, you mean I have three more volumes that I bought and feel like I have to read because I want to see where she came from?' reaction right now.
Then again, it wasn't as bad as Kelly's Deadpool. I'm just disappointed, whereas Kelly's run made me want to anger-vomit. Still, it made me sad enough that I couldn't read this all in one sitting, or even a couple. I struggled through bits and pieces at a time.
It's not horrible, and thus my rating. The art was amazing, and I really loved how Ivy stood up for Harley, even in this run. It's just a shame that I have something so wonderful to compare it to. I think I might have enjoyed this more if I'd read it before the other Harley run first.***
*I know I don't have to say it, but sorry, Troy :(
**I'm thinking of the tweet where the authors said that Harley and Ivy were girlfriends without the jealousy of monogamy. She does seem to be in love with Ivy, but there's nothing to suggest that they're in a relationship in which they can't date with, or sleep with, anyone else.
***Yeah, I just wanted to say, whee, footnotes. Because I'm feeling silly right now.