Author: Stjepan Sejic
Publisher: DC Black Label
Released: February 11th, 2020
Stjepan Sejic’s Harleen is a novel that I’ve been hearing everyone, so I’m a bit embarrassed about how behind I am on reading it. That being said, I am SO HAPPY that I took the time to do so!
Once upon a time, the infamous Harley Quinn was known as Dr. Harleen Quinzel. She was a young psychologist, with a bold theory. She believed, with all her heart and researching, that there was a cure for those criminally insane inmates of Arkham.
All she needed was access to those very inmates, in order to prove her theory right. Unfortunately, the studying went both ways, as one inmate learned more about her than was healthy. As one inmate talked his way into her mind, and instead caused a transition in Harleen.
We all know the story of Harley Quinn, and how she came to be. Yet there’s a difference between knowing something, and seeing it unfold in real time. It’s significantly different to see the tale told by somebody like Sejic, who did a fantastic job of making the whole series of events feel real, alive, and almost relatable.
This is Harley’s origin story like I’ve never seen before. It did such a great job of doing justice to her character, to her intelligence, stubbornness, and determination. It also did justice to Joker’s character, and the horrifying ways he can turn and break those around him.
In short, Harleen was perfect. It was chilling, captivating, and every bit the story that fans of Harley Quinn (myself included) deserved. The artwork was so well done, and so compelling, that in many ways it felt like I was watching it all play out before my eyes, instead of simply reading panels on a page.
I get why the story ended where it did – an origin story always gets a finite end, with something like this. Yet part of me so very desperately wants to see more of this version of Harley. I want to see more flashbacks, and more of the person she became after it was all said and done. That’s how into this graphic novel I am.
Since that probably won’t happen, I imagine I’ll be settling for re-reading Harleen a couple dozen times or two. Plus, there are plenty of other amazing Harley stories that have been coming out over the past couple of years, and they’re all worth checking out as well.