Title: Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass
Author: Mariko Tamaki, Steven Pugh
Genre: Young Adult, Graphic Novel
Publisher: DC Ink
Release Date: September 3, 2019
Harleen is a tough, outspoken, rebellious kid who lives in a ramshackle apartment above a karaoke cabaret owned by a drag queen named MAMA. Ever since Harleen’s parents split, MAMA has been her only family. When the cabaret becomes the next victim in the wave of gentrification that’s taking over the neighborhood, Harleen gets mad.
When Harleen decides to turn her anger into action, she is faced with two choices: join Ivy, who’s campaigning to make the neighborhood a better place to live, or join The Joker, who plans to take down Gotham one corporation at a time.
Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass is at once a tale of the classic Harley readers know and love, and a heartfelt story about the choices teenagers make and how they can define—or destroy—their lives. This is the first title in DC’s new line of original graphic novels for middle grade and young adult readers.
I love Harley Quinn, so I was really excited to see her as a kid in this graphic novel. Her mom goes to work at a cruise company, so Harley is sent to live with her grandmother. When she arrives at her grandmother’s apartment in Gotham City, she discovers that her grandmother has passed away. The man who owns the apartment let’s Harley stay in the apartment for a while. When the town is taken over by Kane Enterprises, Harley has to work with her friends to save their homes. She tries to pay back the vandals who destroy their homes, but she meets a vandal who goes by the pseudonym, The Joker.
This origin story was really different from the other ones I’ve read. In the traditional story, Harley was a psychologist at Arkam Asylum, where she met the Joker who corrupted her. However, this story still had elements of the original Harley. She became friends with a girl named Ivy at school, like Harley’s best friend Poison Ivy. She also lived above a drag queen club, like in the original Harley story.
There were a lot of important issues in this story too. Ivy fought to have films by women shown in the film club at school. Ivy also called out the principal for disrespecting her. Harley didn’t wear the skimpy costume that was left for her, and opted for something that was more covered up. I liked that these feminist issues were addressed in this graphic novel, because they are not present in most comics.
I loved this book! I hope there will be a sequel.
What to read next:
Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale by Lauren Myracle, Isaac Goodhart
Batman: Nightwalker: The Graphic Novel by Marie Lu, Stuart Moore, Chris Wildgoose
Have you read Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass? What did you think of it?