Despite the strongest objections from every possible authority-including district attorney Harvey Dent-Dr. Harleen Quinzel's found herself with free access to every inmate in Arkham Asylum, where she desperately pursues a revolutionary and highly controversial cure to the insanity of Gotham. But her work with the city's super-criminals quickly muddies the waters of good and evil, and in the deepest, darkest padded rooms of Arkham, even the words of a mad clown start making sense!
Though it starts a bit slower than the initial issue in the miniseries, Harleen #2 is every bit as complex and intriguing, diving deep into the psychological monstrosity that is the Joker. The impact his thoughts have on Dr. Quinzel sends her spiraling into depths of herself that she never thought possible before, and the result?
“Who knows! Crazy people, amirite?”
I use that line from the duo’s conversation because this is the very start of Harleen’s descent. The Joker uses this to throw her off and follows it with a bizarre compliment hoping to see her smile one day. From here, it’s all madness. The sleep deprivation, booze and lack of progress on her theory culminate in what appears to be a breakdown for the once-budding doctor.
In these psychological intricacies, Stjepan Sejic picks apart the characters and their motives. By exploring what makes them tick, we get a unique insight into the unraveling of Dr. Harleen Quinzel. This gets right to the heart of what I believe this series does best. It operates similar to a behind the scenes documentary, refusing to leave out even the slightest of glances to eat away at Harleen. It’s true crime mixed with forbidden love and it uses these ingredients within a superhero narrative magnificently.
While many believe the Joker simply shouldn’t have an origin, it’s quite common for most to regard Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s Killing Joke to be the definitive take of his origin story. After reading Harleen #2, I’m willing to say that this is going to become Harley Quinn’s definitive origin story. This will be the series that fans bring up when anyone wants to know how Dr. Harleen Quinn became the infamous Harley Quinn. It’s truly that good.
The artwork continues to shine with powerful character expressions and a haunting tone, but I would love to draw attention to the lettering from Gabriela Downie. There are so many examples of perfectly suited letters like Harley’s double diamond boxes and the nightmare demon’s thick black balloons. Its these small details that make the book stand out. When combined, they help to absorb you into the story completely as you follow this tragic psychological downfall. It’s like a beautiful disaster you just can’t pull your eyes away from.
It’s difficult to discuss the events of the book in detail because there are major moments hidden within what seems like typical dialogue. This is a book that warrants your attention and rewards a keen eye. Harleen’s transition into Harley Quinn is happening before our eyes and it’s being executed remarkably well by the creative team.
Don’t miss out on this series, especially if you are a fan of Harley OR the Joker. It’s required reading!
Though it starts a bit slower than the initial issue in the miniseries, Harleen #2 is every bit as complex and intriguing, diving deep into the psychological monstrosity that is the Joker and how the descent of Dr. Harleen Quinzel really began.
Harleen #2 (of 3): I’d Love to See You Smile One Day
Writing - 9.5/109.5/10
Storyline - 10/1010/10
Art - 9.5/109.5/10
Color - 9.5/109.5/10
Cover Art - 9/109/10
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