I bought this book simply because it had "Mad Love" in it---but it was a bigger bonus than that. As soon as i bought it, I actually sat down at a little table in the mall and read. And boy, can I say it was worth my money!
It starts off with a little Poison Ivy story where Ivy uses a giant seaweed serpent to steal the money from Bruce Wayne's 10th Annual Chraity Fund. But of course, who has to fly in to save the day?
Right afterwards is the Batman Annual, with "GOing Straight," a series of stories within a story. Roxanne "Roxy Rocket" Sutton was released from prison after two years, two years since her encounter with Batman. As Batman watches her on the news, he reminsces about others who have tried to "go straight": Arnold Wesker (the Ventriloquist), Harleen Quinzel (Harley Quinn), and Jonathon Crane (the Scarecrow). Each is its own separate story.
"Puppet Show" (the segment starring the Ventriolquist) shows how Arnold Wesker has found work as a puppeteer on a TV show. Unfortunately, the show is to go out of business in a week, and the star is not too pleased, and plots to rid herself of the owner of the studio---with Scarface.
The next segement, "24 Hours" shows how Harley cannot last for tenty-four hours without etting into trouble.
In "Study Hall," the Scarecrow teaches a college boy the consequences of abusing a poor, defenseless girl---especially when that poor, defenseless girl is his best student!
To continue with the main "Roxy Rocket" story, Batman is called to police headquarters, where they have supposedly caught Roxy on tape---robbing the Fly Rite Airplane Company's safe! Is Roxy the real caper or is it...somone else?
The next comic is a short called "Laughter After Midnight," a small strip showing the Joker on an average night out---fight with Batman, bump off a few people, get a donut, bump off someone else, get some newspapers, bump off someone else, call Harley for a ride home while at the same time getting into trouble with the police, then relieving a cop of his car in a getaway.
The next two comics I did not care for. The first was called "Jolly Old Saint Nick," where Bullock and Montoya disguise themselves as Santa and an elf to work as undercover cops to hopefully catch some shoplifters. The only reason this comic was any good at all was because Batgirl came to save the day--from Clayface.
The other one I did not like was "Demons": one with ra's Al Ghul trying to get this tablet to bring a creature out of the depths of Hell. I never did like Ra's, (not to mention some of the images were a bit disturbing) so this naturally did not amuse me.
The best part of this whole book was "Mad Love" itself, respectfully put in the back, as they saved the best for last. In its greatness, this one deseers a full review. (Warning: the following may contain spoilers)
"Mad Love" is Harley Quinn's story. It starts out in a dentists' office, where Harley and Joker attempt to kill Gordon, before Batman arrives in the nick of time. batman arrives home and looks up Harley's history. She won a gymnastic scholarship to Gotham University in high school, but her real goal was to get a degree in psychology. As Batman says, "Never mind that she didn't want to get it by studying." To nicely put it, she bribed her teachers by means of looks and love.
Back at the Joker's hideout, the Joker is trying to find the perfect revenge on Batman. Harley wants to "play." However, he is more concerned on the perfect plan to get back at Batman. He finds one that might work - hang him over a tank of piranhas - but tosses it aside, because piranhas cannot smile.
Harley is really getting on the Joker's nerves by now with her "playful" (cough) antics, and he throws her downstairs. There, Harley reminisces about Batman being in the way of her and her Puddin', and begins to remember when she first met the Joker.
Harley was a doctor at Arkham Asylum, where she met the Joker. He liked her name. "Harley QUIN-zel. Rework it a bit and you get 'Harley Quinn,' like the classic clown character Harlequin!" She did several sessions with the Joker and with each one, she fell more and more in love and lost more and more sanity. One night, after he had escaped, Batman brought the Joker back, bruised and bleeding. harley was determined to get him out of the asylum, so she broke into a novelty shop, donned the Harlequin outfit and broke him out of arkham. They had been together since. End the memories.
The Joker is asleep now, and she finds his plans--and sees them upside down. Updside-down, piranhas look like they are smiling. The perfect plan...
Harley then lures Batman to the docks, claiming she has vital information for him in exchange for protection from the Joker. She says that the Joker was going to turn Gotham into "one big grinning ghost town." Batman falls for it. (...)
"Mad Love" is the greatest comic ever! The rest were god, but this was tops! I highly recommend this book just for "Mad Love"!