Review: Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass

"Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass"
Writer: Mariko Tamaki
Artist: Steve Pugh
Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual
Review by Fay Clark
I’m going to start out by telling you all that three Dark Knight News writers jumped at the chance to review this book. Keep that in mind, because it tells you how excited we all are about the amazing new Graphic Novel Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass. In the newest addition to Harley Quinn’s long line of origin stories we get this. The most modernised version of events that leads little Harleen Quinzel into becoming Harley Quinn. The crazy, bad-ass that we all know and love.
Reading through this 200 page graphic novel took me some time. I thought I was just going to blast through it. However, the author Tamaki did such a great job with the writing and the plot details that I wanted to take my time and soak it all in. We have a very interesting narrator, quite reliable, easy to understand, relatable … yeah, you guessed it; it’s our Harley. She jumps right in with the heart wrenching, and kicks off the story by telling us her mum sent her away so her grandmother could care for her for a while. With all that set up Tamaki slowly starts introducing more players who are going to be important to Harley. I really enjoyed the way the story flowed very well from one point to the next. It was very easy to read and super fun.

Harley Quinn and the Queens of Gotham

There are some serious “found family” vibes in this story line. Harley gathers her usual; a group of people that love her and teach her valuable lessons. but are what most would call “misfits.” They share an almost instantaneous connection and truly bond with each other. Harley always seems to find the best people to share her life with, always kind hearted, loving and accepting. These are all new characters and, although slightly background, they do play a big part in helping Harleen become the Harley Quinn Gotham needs.
Along with the new characters we also see some old favourites. They might not be how we know or remember them, however, as Tamaki has made some creative changes to some of the classic characters. I did really enjoy the newest version of Ivy, as she had some interesting character traits that I’m glad were explored. The pure passion of Ivy really draws Harley to her, they seem to have a lot in common and nothing at all at the same time. I’m glad we spent time with the girls, really exploring them growing closer and getting to know each other.

Something sketchy, Harley?

The artist Steve Pugh has a very unique style and it’s not something I think I’ve seen before. He heavily uses shadows and plays with the lighting in each frame. There is very little color throughout the book, as he uses mostly grayscale, but when there is a pop of color it seems to be subconsciously reminding us of our heroine. With this great attention to detail, it’s definitely not your normal comic book art. There is some dynamic realism in the artwork, so I can imagine just walking down the street and seeing these characters walking about in the real world.
Some of the new character designs for the classic characters I can really get behind, and there seems to be more diversity in Breaking Glass. Something that really adds to the story and the characters. The new design of the classic Harley costume really took a few turns I didn’t think I would see. It was a very interesting process, seeing how Harleen went from face paint to the awesome new costume she eventually gets.

Conclusion

I had a bunch of fun reading this new version of Harley’s beginnings. I found it really interesting to see Tamaki’s take on her life and Steve Pugh bringing it all to life. Being able to see Harley become herself over a short amount of time, really being able to accept herself and help her new family, was very heartwarming. That’s not really something people associate with Harley but, after this new story, they will. Little Harleen with hit you with some truths, some lies and some random nuttiness.
You’ll love it, I know I did. Check out the amazing trailer too!
Images courtesy of DC Entertainment

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