Harleen by Stjepan Šejić
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Disclaimer: I'm sorry but I refuse to call comics graphic novels. I have always read comics and will always read comics and refuse to give a so called air of adulthood and respectability to this art form that I love and this is a comic that shows how amazing this form of writing can be. So there!
It's very rare I give a book a five star rating, but this one is brilliant and totally deserves it. For me, this is an absolutely ace book from the tips of it's toes to the top of its spine.
Now along with many people, I do have a bit of a problem with Harley Quinn. I like the character (especially when she became a more singular entity in the comic world) but there is the matter of her relationship with The Joker and her constant over sexualisation. I mean in the Suicide Squad, M. R. made the character stand out but I was constantly face planting every time we got another shot of Harley's arse. Thank god that misdemeanor of a film got rectified. Anyway, I go off topic. That one has been brewing for years. However, with this comic things do get put into perspective. Sejic does not shy away from the fact that Harleen is manipulated from the start by the joker. I think as well , not only does it show The jokers manipulation of her, but also society's manipulation of her in the way that she is constantly alienated by those around her
The comic explores the fragile psychological state of Harleen before she completely disassociates from her old life to become the character that she becomes.
I like as well, that this is Harley's narrative, her voice telling the story, looking at the events leading up to her demise as though it's been told in a psychiatric interview.
Moving on to the artwork. Oh my goodness, this is just brilliant. I mean we all know how it ends up, but the art is constantly giving portents to her fate, using shadows and reflections as glimpses of the future.
Harley herself is portrayed as a woman, not the cartoon extreme of boobs and bottom that she is usually depicted as.
I mean, I was showing this to my daughter who is terribly arty and picking out particular panels and going look at that one, look at that one.
The Joker is drawn well as well. I am not sure, but it seems to me that it is from Harley's point of view and how her view of him changes, transforming from a monster to almost angelic. Instead of him been the misshapen monster that he is usually drawn as, in this comic, he is one handsome fella. I mean he really is.
Do you know, I am going to have to stop now I could go on and on about this all day.
All I can say, this is an ace comic and deserves to be put up there as one of the best comics, ever!.