Batman: Harley Quinn (graphic novel review).

May 7, 2020 | By | Reply More

I’d seen the Alex Ross cover of Harley Quinn and the Joker before but not where it was used until I came across this graphic novel, ‘Batman: Harley Quinn’, featuring 7 stories across her career. It’s also a good way to get a sampling of her stories and to see how she has developed across them. Well, perhaps ‘develop’ is not the right word to use.

In many respects, Harley Quinn is like Ignatz Mouse in the George Herriman’ ‘Krazy Kat’ newspaper strip. Isnatz has a love/hate relationship for Krazy Kat that usually results in him throwing a brick at her. For Harley, as an intern psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum, wanting to write a paper about the Joker, she falls in love and goes a bit crazy, letting him out to do mayhem. Of course, she gets found out and locked up herself and frequently escapes, dressing much as you see her on the cover.

The Joker himself isn’t quite sure what to make of her, varying from shunning to loving the attention until Harley doesn’t quite know what to do and leaves him. After some injuries, Harley receives some medication from Poison Ivy that instils some stronger gymnastic abilities and resilience and she wings it alone much of the time (see the first story here from her own series).

I’m not got to detail the stories here as too much of them is spoiler. It does include the story ‘Kind Of Like Family’ where she wants to reform and proves herself to the Batman. One of the final scenes where she says it’s as tough being a psychiatrist as being locked up is very poignant showing Harley’s not just a jester is very telling.

Working out her appeal is going to vary a lot. Harley Quinn has a lot of joie de vivre with a dash of bouncy Bugs Bunny in her personality that is a sharp contrast to other members of Batman’s rogues gallery that makes her singularly unique. She’s also a lot younger too. You want to like her but I doubt if you’d want to invite her to your home. Better to read about her instead.

The artwork varies from cartoon-like to more serious but she adapts to them all. When you consider Paul Dini created her for the TV show ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ as a foil for the Joker and made the transition to the comicbooks and still popular after 20 years, shows the strength of her popularity. This book makes for a good introduction and there are other graphic novels out there if you need her continued adventures.

GF Willmetts

May 2020

(pub: DC Comics, 2015. 200 page graphic novel softcover. Price: I pulled my copy for about £12.80 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-4012-5517-6)

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Category: Comics, Superheroes

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About UncleGeoff

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’
If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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