Review: ‘Future State: Harley Quinn’ #1 Is Like A DC Version Of ‘Silence Of The Lambs’

by James Ferguson


Harley puts on her psychologist hat in a twisted form of Silence of the Lambs to help capture some of Gotham’s costumed criminals. Check out a new side of the anti-hero as she stands on her own…even if it’s behind bars.


Harley Quinn has been captured by the Magistrate. Instead of going to her usual stomping grounds at Arkham Asylum, she finds herself in a high tech prison with Dr. Jonathan Crane (aka the Scarecrow) asking her all sorts of questions. It seems he’s reformed and has need of Harley’s particular set of skills in bringing in some of Gotham City’s costumed villains. No, she’s not joining a new version of the Suicide Squad. Crane needs her psychologist side for this.

I’ve had a hard time getting into the Harley Quinn comics. She feels like DC’s version of Deadpool, another character I have difficulty with in the comics. She’s often played for laughs with lots of corny jokes and innuendo and that only gets you so far. This is so not the case with Future State: Harley Quinn. Writer Stephanie Phillips shows us a completely different side of her and I love it.

There’s a Silence of the Lambs vibe here with Harley filling the role of Hannibal Lector, albeit a more adorable, playful version, and Crane as Clarice Starling. It’s amazing what Harley can do from her prison cell if given just a bit of information. It makes you wonder why Batman didn’t seek her help ages ago as she not only knows all these bad guys, but she knows how they think. That makes them predictable for her and easy to capture.

While there are still quite a few questions as to what’s going on in this version of Gotham City, we don’t really need them answered to enjoy Future State: Harley Quinn. The character development stands strong with lots of great moments with each character that speaks volumes about their personalities and their current situation.

Although much of this issue is just Crane and Harley talking, artist Simone Di Meo keeps things moving at a nice pace that’s always visually interesting. His sharp, angular style has been a delight on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and We Only Find Them When They’re Dead, so I’m so glad to see him on titles like this too.

Letterer Troy Peteri guides us through these conversations well. There’s an awesome double page spread where Harley is dropping knowledge of Professor Pyg. It consists of eight vertical panels and Peteri pulls our focus between them like a sine curve going up and down, focusing on the key visuals in each one.

The action that does pop up is shown in quick flashes and with many panels. It adds to the intensity of the scene as the officers rush in to try and stop folks like Firefly, armed with the information Harley provided. I love how the panels become more erratic based on the action in a scene.

Colorist Tamra Bonvillain provides a futuristic look for this comic with dark greys contrasting with pink and yellow lights. The scenes in the prison have a cold, sterile look like a florescent light that saps the soul out of any who stay under it too long. Meanwhile, the streets of Gotham are brighter, but still cloaked in shadow as can only be found in this city.

We’re just getting started with Future State and judging from the likes of Harley Quinn and the other titles under this banner, I never want it to end. This is another solid entry into this event full of potential for new and interesting stories. This issue hits on those marks right out of the gate and I can’t wait to see more.

Future State: Harley Quinn #1 from DC Comics is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

%d bloggers like this: