Shows like The Blacklist or movies like Silence of the Lambs have played with the tropes of "using a monster to catch monsters." Future State: Harley Quinn #1 is a rather clever manipulation of pop culture concepts casts "daddy's little monster" as Red Reddington in a brilliant manipulation of things that only a criminal/psychologist could pull off.
Dr. Jonathan Crane has hung up his fear gas and burlap mask and now works with the fascistic law enforcement apparatus of a near-future Gotham City that has lost the protection of the original Batman. When the titular Clown Princess of Crime is brought in, he offers her a chance to work as a criminal profiler, helping him capture the colorful criminal element that still haunts the streets. Of course, anyone who knows Dr. Harleen Quinzel would know not to take this kind of thing at face value. Dr. Crane, however, spent years with his head inside of a burlap sack, so his decision-making abilities were never very highly regarded.
Writer Stephanie Phillips does a good job of using Harley's careful, considered manipulation of things work. She's clearly got a plan, even if her actions look chaotic, and the fact that the reader can see this when no one else can is part of the fun. The manga-esque visuals from Simone DiMeo, Tamra Bonvillain, and Troy Peteri may remind some of the brutal scenes of "Sonnie's Edge" in Love, Death & Robots (in a good way), allowing the psychological cat-and-mouse game between Crane and Quinzel to play out deliciously.
With a perfect stinger that tosses to the next issue, this book did everything right and is a mean spirited good time. RATING: BUY.
Future State: Harley Quinn #1
By Stephanie Williams, Simone Di Meo, Derrick Chew
In a bold move that rocks Gotham City, the Magistrate has imprisoned Harley Quinn! The villain once known as the Scarecrow, now a pawn of the Magistrate, taps into Harley's knowledge of Gotham's villains and the Black Mask Gang for his own dark purposes. Crane and his bosses think they have Harley Quinn defeated and her spirit broken, but they are sorely mistaken — and Harley will have her revenge. Written by rising star writer Stephanie Phillips and drawn by fan-favorite artist Simone Di Meo, the next era of Harley Quinn begins here!