Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass is a coming-of-age story about choices, consequences, justice, fairness, and progress and how a weird kid from Gotham’s poorest part of town goes about defining her world for herself. From Eisner Award and Caldecott Honor-winning author Mariko Tamaki (This One Summer, Supergirl: Being Super).
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.
We all know by now: Harley Quinn is my favorite character. I can get a bit picky about how she’s portrayed, and how her backstory gets retold.
So let me get this out of the way: I loved Breaking Glass.
This is definitely a new take on Harley’s story, but one I thoroughly enjoyed. The bonds made with the other characters in this story – Harley’s bond with Mama, and the other queens, is a touching story of family being more than just blood.
Honestly, this is such an enjoyable story, all around. Seeing the relationship with Ivy develop, the dark, polarizing effects the Joker has on Harleen, and her struggle between walking the path of angels or demons – it’s all such an interesting, new version that pulls you in.
Beyond even the story, this is visually on of the most beautiful stories involving Harley. From her character designs, to wardrobe evolution, and emoionally impactful scenes – this book is stunning. The uses of color, sometimes monochromatic, other times bursts of colors that draw out so much in a scene that you take away more than just what’s written.
Plus, take a close look at several background details throughout the book – they’re absolutely perfect! Steve Pugh absolutely killed it, in this book.
I felt like the story was left open ended enough that we could have a sequel – which I would LOVE. Who do I need to bug at DC for more Harleen from Mariko Tamaki and Steve Pugh?
The writing, the art, the lettering (which is also great, and done by Carlos Mangual), is all so perfect together.
Seriously, though. If you love Harley, definitely check out Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass, and enjoy this retelling of my favorite girl’s origin story.
Planning to grab Breaking Glass? Or have you read it already? Let me know in the comments!