Writer: Tini Howard
Artist: Hayden Sherman
Colors: Triona Farrell
Letters: Steve Wands
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: July 25th, 2023
The Knight Terrors story rolls on in Knight Terrors: Harley Quinn #1, as Harley journeys through the nightmares that Insomnia has made for her. But Harley prides herself on beating down and mastering every horrific thought she has ever had, so has Insomnia met his match? What is the final nightmare that crushes Harley?
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The first half of Knight Terrors: Harley Quinn #1 has Insomnia throwing everything at Harley, trying to break her as other DC characters have been broken. Most of these nightmares contain the two biggest figures in Harley’s life: The Joker and Poison Ivy.
What’s great about these scenes are that they reinforce the fact that The Joker has absolutely no hold over Harley any more. So even when dozens of variations of the Joker appear to attack her (one of them looking remarkably similar to The Joker from the 1970’s Batman cartoon), they might as well be brain-dead zombies, and Harley dispatches them accordingly. It’s hilarious seeing Harley staying unfazed by Insomnia’s best shots. We get an extended scene where Harley summarizes all the trauma she’s dealt with in her life, as well as her psychological training, to explain why Insomnia’s efforts are for nothing.
After that, things REALLY get insane when we take a sharp turn into the Multiverse. Yes, the Multiverse, which Harley has been spending a lot of time in lately. Here, Harley visits two different Earths, one of which might be familiar to those who like their alternate Earth with fangs. We even get some Grant Morrison-style, omniscient, “breaking the fourth wall” type stuff here. Harley’s adventures on both Earths are fun and it’s always great seeing alternative versions of the Earth-Prime heroes, but it feels a bit like treading water. I’m not a fan of these big crossovers. Most of the time, nothing of much consequence happens in 90% of the tie-ins and even when you get to the final battle, it’s generally anti-climactic.
I liked this tie-in issue better than most, because we really get to see what makes Harley so unique from everyone else in the DC Universe. Where every DC hero and villain has some obsession or anxiety that can be used against them (Batman’s obsession with his parents dying, Superman’s anxiety over not being able to save everyone, etc.), Harley has conquered all her fears and out of everyone is probably the most self-aware and assured of all the DC pantheon. Yet Insomnia finally finds a crack in her mental armor, ending the issue on a great cliffhanger that promises more Multiversal trips in part two.
Hayden Sherman’s art on Knight Terrors: Harley Quinn #1 does a good job of balancing Harley’s comical antics with the horror film-type terror of her surroundings. The art is crisp and the panel layouts keep you off-balance as you read it, putting you in Harley’s shoes as she’s assaulted by Insomnia’s illusions and horrors.
Knight Terrors: Harley Quinn #1 gives us glimpses into Harley’s psyche and shows yet again why she’s such a unique character. It’s fun watching her dispatch everything Insomnia throws at her and her jaunts from Earth to Earth are equally fun.