I like the concept of Harley Quinn. I like how she has been reimagined. I like how she has this (literally) crazy humor and like many villains, never thinks she is in the wrong. And it is logical why that is. I like her as a character but not necessarily as a person. Do I think she is a role model and little girls (and I mean little) should dress up as her? No. Do I think she is in one of the most abusive relationships possible? Yes. Yet, as I said, as a character she is very interesting. The story of Harley Quinn could be quite the psychological term paper/thesis (and probably has).
With that said, do I know a lot about her? Not really. But I know every book or movie is going to take a slightly different approach. And in Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass by Mariko Tamaki we see a well-done story that flows into a (possibly) new mythos of what you might be used to. This time our Harleen Quinzel is a 15-year-old girl, with $5 and a backpack who is sent to Gotham to live with her estranged Grandmother, only to learn that she has passed away. The owner of the building, Mama (a proud, large gay man who runs and performs in a drag-show with the other tenants) takes her in, on the condition she goes to Gotham High. Here she meets Ivy (a teen vegan who loves plants and fighting injustices) and the son of the family who is trying to “better” the community by condemning many buildings, including Mama’s! All her life Harley has tried to set right the wrongs she experiences, usually with a lot of violence, and she will help Mama and her new family by any means necessary. But since she tends to leap and not think, things do not go as planned. As you see Harley go through the trying to understand the world, understanding that it is not all jokes and laughs, we watch a young girl start to become the woman she will be: Harley Quinn.
This graphic novel for ages (mature) 13 to adult was a pleasure read. I would reread to see what I missed. Like the fact that Steve Pugh’s illustrations hold many clues that Tamaki’s text does not indulge. Red herrings, twists and turns, even a bit of how we treat people “different” (one of the queens is “shamed” by begin “too gay” in public) come into play creating one heck of a book.