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Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass: 10/15/19

Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass

Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass by Mariko Tamaki and Steve Pugh is another YA graphic novel standalone from DC Ink. This one reimagines a teenage origin story for Harleen Quinzel.

Harley Quinn was created as a one time character for Batman the Animated Series and was brought to life by the voice work of Arleen Sorkin. She debuted on "Joker's Favor" (season 1, episode 7) and went on to be in eight more in the series, plus a few more in Superman: The Animated Series, The Batman Superman Movie: World's Finest, and Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker. She's also been in various video games.

I realize that it's been about thirty years and she's now part of the comics, and has been in various live action films. Those versions, I admit, I haven't seen. Regardless, her original incarnation is still iconic.

In Tamaki's version, Harley arrives to Gotham via a bus to live with her grandmother while her mother spends a year working on a cruise ship. Unfortunately, grandma is dead, and her landlord decides to let Harley stay since the rent is paid up. The landlord also happens to be the owner of a drag queen review and he and his cast give Harley her first costume ideas.

Meanwhile at school Harley meets up with Ivy who will of course later become Poison Ivy. Here, she is already trying to change the world by protesting the the all male film club, run by John Kane, son of two evil developers who want to gentrify the neighborhood Harleen and Ivy live in.

This is all well and good. I wish they had just stuck with Harleen and Ivy getting in trouble together to save their neighborhood. It would have been enough to let their friendship develop outside the later relationship between Joker and Harley Quinn.

But no. There is a Joker here, but he's a proto-Joker who, yes, attends the same school as Harleen, Ivy, and presumably Bruce. While he's manipulative and petty, he's not to the point of being the psychopath he will be.

Instead, he's a spoiled rich boy wearing a stupid mask and designer threads. It also seems to be implied that Harleen and Ivy's protests at school are what inspire him to don the costume. If that's the case, then who murdered Bruce's parents? I ask this because Batman makes a brief appearance near the end.

Four stars

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