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Batman: Harley & Ivy #1

Posted: Friday, April 30, 2004
By: Ray Tate



"Bosom Buddies"

Script/Plot/Art:Paul Dini & Bruce Timm;Shane Glines(i),Lee Lourdige(c)
Publisher: DC

I had waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay more fun reading Harley & Ivy, but that was a given since a) this adventure takes place in the Adventureverse b) the Adventureverse makes sense c) Harley and Ivy are a howl with which to begin and d) it was written and drawn by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm who make these wannabe crime writers look like monkeys who have problems working out which end of the pen to use.

Naturally the dangerous dames' personalities match those seen on the series, and naturally you can hear the voices of Diane Pershing (Ivy) and Arleen Sorkin (Harley). The writers derive their humor not from Harley and Ivy beating Batman and getting away with their crimes but from their blunders. This comedy of errors is a direct product of Batman's ingenuity.

We open our scene with a goofy nod to Adam West's Batman. Ivy and Harley climb up a vine along the side of a building. Now, this is more than merely an inverted camera. The angle the writers/artists use for the scene is more realistic and more dramatic, but this is a classic, which recasts that Batman and Burt Ward's Robin as Ivy and Harley.

After somehow I managed to stop laughing, I turned the page and cackled like mad as the stealthy shenanigans are interrupted by the first blunder leaving Ivy with far from the look of love on her face. More like a look of complete terror. At this point I could just about hear a boisterous Shirley Walker score.

With Warner Brothers Looney Tunes type timing, Batman enters the picture and you know that the shadows around his face are hiding a smile at Harley and Ivy's predicament. Not leaving anything to chance, Batman follows through on his initial attack, and the way in which Harley finds a method to finally help her "bosom buddy" kicks the ball into hysteria territory.

Dini and Timm come up with a delightful array of pictograms for Ivy, incarcerated back in Arkham lickety quick, as she imagines the various executions for her bubble-headed friend. This leads to one of the most hilarious shower scenes I have seen anywhere. Normally a shower scene is an apology by an actress in a schlock movie, but the nudity--tastefully shadowed and shaded in the depth inducing colors of Lee Louridge--just heightens the comedy and provides opportunities for laughs that would have been otherwise shelved.

Harley finally buys a vowel and tries to apologize in a painfully cute way, and Harley's persistence ironically helps Ivy. Not being able to cope, Ivy is pushed into a desperate but clever escape.

During the escape, Ivy comes into possession of a gun, and here's what separates the wheat from the chaff. See a crime writer would have Ivy doing her impression of Scarface--the Al Pachino role--on whoever got in her way. Not Dini and Timm. They conceive of a way that fits her character and leaves the reader rollicking in his seat.



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