Let me start by saying I adore Harley. Like everything about her. The fact that she was a psychiatrist that fell in love with a patient. The fact that she fell so deeply in love that she could arguably be considered the most damaged of all of Jokers victims. That she is still optimistic and hopeful even after all she has gone through.
Her origin story here was really very good.
The Art was stunningly gorgeous and I enjoyed the story. This is very adult and I both appreciated that and found it off-putting at times simultaneously.
Let me explain.
I understand that Gotham is a rough place. There is murder, there is grizzly stuff that goes down, there are monsters…yet I guess I wasn’t prepared for the gore aspects. Like I thought it wouldn’t be that much. The underneath cover Art alone proved that this was going to be a dark story.
I rate based on enjoyment levels most of the time and that’s no different here. I enjoyed this quite a bit, but I didn’t absolutely love it. It was a four star read. I had it rated lower initially, but the more I sat and thought on it, the higher the rating became for me.
I wish more had been shown with Ivy and Harley, but considering the timeline, it made sense that it was minimal contact.
At first, it seemed a little weird that Harley accidentally killed someone but then the hysteria that followed afterward sort of showed that this could have actually happened. Like even fictionalized the story still felt close to the truth in terms of being close to things that could happen in reality.
This was entertaining and an interesting look at manipulation and long term psychological damage that can happen when someone just wants to be loved and accepted. When someone just wants to help.
This Harley was an interesting incarnation and this story built on the mythos while still creating its own thing. This will draw both old and new fans alike.
Just know going in that this isn’t a light hearted and flippant Harley. This woman is damaged in many ways going in and it shows. It is a sort of descent into madness story.
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.
A young psychiatrist with a potential cure for the madness that haunts Gotham City, Dr. Harleen Quinzel must prove her revolutionary theory to a skeptical establishment by delving into the disturbed minds of Arkham Asylum’s deadliest inmates. But the more time she spends with her criminally insane subjects, the closer she is drawn to one patient in particular–and the further she falls away from reality. The birth of legendary antihero Harley Quinn and the shocking origins of her twisted romance with the Joker are revealed in Harleen, a stunning new tale of love and obsession written and illustrated by renowned comics storyteller Stjepan Šejic (Aquaman: Underworld, Sunstone).
Collects Harleen #1-3