Could we just leave her to it? I've not helped, by buying this issue, but I won't be encouraging DC by buying further appearances. Because this is a character to avoid, a cliched, boring vacuum who exists only to further up the nastiness of their revamped line.
You want a teenage girl cutting herself because physical hurt 'overwhelms the other pain'? You want a kid, as scarred mentally as she is physically, mutilating people so their smile matches her Joker face? You want a dog tossed over the roadside because it's ugly?
This is what DC thinks you want.
So what's the story from Ann Nocenti? A young runaway decides to explore her new world, the flooded tunnels of Gotham known as the Nethers. She looks into the water for her reflection, finds the Joker's discarded face and puts it on. The scary visage of Batman's greatest villain gives her power over the Nethers tribe of Arkham Asylum escapees and she deposes its leader, turning a patriarchy into a matriarchy. The menfolk she hasn't given a Joker grin cut themselves to match.
Ye gods, this is an awful read. Not in the sense of a cathartic experience so much as in terms of a cringemaking comic. Bad expository dialogue is directed at a cat. Classical allusions clunk (Lysistrata referenced, a boatman named Charon and an underworld that Joker's Daughter, like Persephone, must negotiate on a journey to self-knowledge). Sound effects cry 'SLICE' with Tiny Titans literalism.
And we're apparently supposed to go with the story because, well, she's nuts, and so is everyone around her.
Artists George Jeanty and Dexter Vines do what's asked of them, giving us gurning lunatics by the dozen. It's not just people and pets, even an inflatable hippo looks seriously disturbed. They give our villain a signature leapfrog pose that's terribly unbecoming. And they don't bother to draw her cat for most of the book, though they do sneak in an Easter egg relating to another nasty DC feline.
That's not to say the composition and storytelling isn't fine. There's a clever, effective image in a family history flashback ...
Where the art can get as visceral as you like, the script is hypocritically coy.
Then there's this example of galumphing smut.
controversy over a Harley Quinn tryout script, I wonder if DC regrets showing someone cutting herself as a way to feel better? Obviously, this is the character's point of view, and she's clearly a sandwich short of a picnic, but still, the image could easily be pulled out of context.
Apparently this issue is going to be popular among comics investors; normally I'd be against speculation but having read it, I say yeah, by all means sell it on and make a few quid - just don't read the thing. Or buy it to use the 3D cover - effective, in its way, as Jason Fabok and Nathan Fairbairn's image pops out at us - as a musical instrument. Or a scratching post for cats (ugly ones, obviously).
So, who is the Joker's Daughter? In the flashback, her father calls her Duela, a callback to the Seventies Joker's Daughter, Duela Dent. A minor headache for Robin, she quickly became a heroine, and she's remembered fondly to this day. The new girl? You'd have to be mad to like her.