Harleen — Stjepan Šejić (a new favorite of 2020?)

May 13, 2020

52713814. sx318 sy475 TITLE: Harleen
GENRE: Fantasy/Action/Superheroes
PAGES: 208pg
SOURCE: Hoopla
FORMAT: Graphic Novel

Dr. Harleen Quinzel has a theory: mental illness is a survival mechanism. As she seeks to help the broken souls of Gotham City piece together their sanity she will become the one thing she fears the most: one of them. A bold new retelling of the tragic origin of Harley Quinn told through the eyes of the only person who knows her better than anyone: Harleen.

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My story’s the one where the girl dances with the devil, and he takes her with him on a long road to hell.

I grew up on Batman — the films and the animated show — and Harley was one of my first favorite fictional characters ever, but somewhere along the way, I lost a little of my grip on what made me adore Gotham and its monsters so strongly. This graphic novel reminded me why I loved Harley so much to begin with. This was the most beautiful, perfect origin story I could’ve asked for. Wow. It also features some of my favorite artwork I have ever seen in a graphic novel. I want these pages framed on my wall immediately.

Harley and the Joker have such a messed-up, intricate relationship, and this story captures that in the best way, but this isn’t a Joker story; it’s Harley’s. It begins by showing us this brilliant, ambitious young doctor who wanted so desperately to help people that she risked it all to try to save Gotham’s worst of the worst, and leads us through her gradual descent into hell and madness, before leaving us in the midst of utter chaos and destruction, wondering what the truth is. Does the Joker love Harley, or he is only using her? My feelings on the matter have always been rather… convoluted, to say the least, but I’ll leave it up to you to read this beauty and determine that for yourself.

Thinking about it, it all feels sort of cosmic… the two of us, like two interstellar objects gravitating toward each other on a collision course… Oh, there would be chaos and destruction… but my, what a sight it would make.

c o n t e n t – w a r n i n g s →

violence, murder/death, mutilation, slut-shaming (challenged), bullying, emotional manipulation

d i v e r s i t y →

Multiple side characters are POC

t l ; d r →

One of the greatest graphic novels I have ever read, and certainly a new favorite of 2020.
if you enjoy the Gotham City ‘verse, Harley’s character, and/or dark, manipulative love stories


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More about Destiny @ Howling Libraries

Just a horror aficionado/geek girl trying to juggle motherhood, reading, blogging, gaming, and everyday life.

    1. Oooooh! How exciting. I watched the entire Batman: The Animated Series with Al when we were dating, and I fell in love.

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