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
As much as Joker and Harley Quinn’s relationship was toxic, Harley Quinn was always a villain that I was intrigued by. She is part psychotic mastermind, part a woman full of confidence and drive to go after the things she feels the most passion for. Harleen follows the story of Dr. Quinzel before she became the infamous Harley Quinn, working Arkham Asylum after a chance of luck removes her form a workplace that seemed pretty unprofessional. At the Asylum, Dr. Quinzel begins her research of figuring out where the most notorious villains contain empathy and whether they can be saved and rehabilitated. Through her journey, research and her multiple encounters with the Joker, Dr. Quinzel starts to question whether what the Joker is saying could be true. Could we all be monsters but only show when given the chance. Can the Joker, Poison Ivy and the rest be saved?
We see Harley Quinzel as a confident go-getter. She is passionate about her work and will go to the extreme to get the results she wants. This story focuses on more of Harley’s decision towards madness and gave more autonomy on how she choose this decision. She wasn’t forced per say, but temptation and persuasion became both her best friend and worst enemy.
Stjepan Sejic blew this story out the park. The storyline flowed effortlessly, kept me entertained and took my imagination into a dangerous, mysterious and exciting world. This was important going in because I have read Harley Quinn’s story in so many different formats, time periods, you name it and wanted to jump once again into the story without feeling like I was not repeating a well told story. But what really pulled me in was the art. Stjepan has a way of creating the most color out of the darkest scene, Each page was full of vivid details. In short, it was wrapped up beautifully and I will now go on a hunt to find more of Stjepan’s works.