Author: Mariko Tamaki
Artist: Steve Pugh
Publisher: DC Comics
Released: September 3rd, 2019
Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass is another addition to DC’s young adult line, which thus far has truly been fantastic. If you haven’t checked out the other series, such as Teen Titans: Beast Boy or Victor and Nora, you really should (seriously, go do it).
Once upon a time, Harley Quinn was a teenager. She was still the tough and confident person we all know her as, naturally. But she was still very young, and had a lot to learn about the world. Consider Breaking Glass to be her crash course.
Sent to Gotham to live with her grandmother (whom has actually passed away), Harley makes new friends and allies. All while getting herself into a fair share of trouble, and standing up for what she considers to be right. A fact made all the more complicated by the appearance of the Joker.
Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass was such a shocking, yet fantastic, read. It blew me out of the water, and left me wanting more. It wasn’t just Harley’s character that got to shine here, but Ivy’s as well.
Both of these young women are brilliant and determined. One knew solidly what the path ahead was for her, and how she had to fight it. The other was a bit lost, but still trying with everything she had.
It’s endearing, in that sense. Likewise, all of the changes made to Harley and Ivy’s characters were well-thought out, and overall worked to make their characters even more interesting. Not to mention, much more representative and approachable. There are good lessons woven into this narrative, to say the least.
While I adored Harley, I do have to admit that many of the secondary and supporting characters made her story shine all the more. Mama, Ivy, and everyone else who came into Harley’s life and worked to make it better. It gave her world a more complete feeling, and it was wonderful.
The inclusion of current debates, ethics, racism, sexism, and so much more was an excellent call. All of these things are naturally things that Harley would truly care about, and Ivy as well. The lens in which the two learn made it all the more powerful, and I loved it so much.
On top of an amazing plot, the artwork was also highly enjoyable. It still had many of those classic Harley Quinn elements, while being aged down pretty significantly. It felt very much in line with the rest of the young adult series, and made a good balance between black/white and color.
All of which combined together to create one of my favorite graphic novels from this year. Okay, I know it is actually from 2019, but I read it in 2020, so I’m counting it as one of my 2020 reads. And it certainly was a highlight from this year.