REVIEW: ‘Harleen,’ Issue #3

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Harleen #3

Harleen #3 is published by DC Comics under their DC Black Label imprint with story and art from Stejpan Šejić and letters by Gabriela Downie. The series is a darker retelling of Harley Quinn’s origin story starting from her time at Arkham Asylum as Dr. Harleen Quinzel. Previously, Harleen continued working with the Joker to further her research on the mind’s ability to corrupt its own fight or flight response after being overused. However, the Joker has a strange pull on her she cannot explain and after questioning her own morality, even going so far as to speak with Batman, she finds herself being pulled even closer to the Clown Prince of Crime.

Now, in Harleen #3, Harleen’s dreams are no longer nightmares. While they still disturb her, the romantic scenes between herself and the Joker intrigue her. But those steamier scenes quickly become reality as Harleen requests her sessions with Joker be done alone, with the cameras off. The chemistry Šejić is able to create between Harleen and Joker is palpable. His alluring, charismatic nature is magnetic, making it easy to forget just how dangerous of a person he really is. Šejić has proven time and time again he can illustrate seduction through his graphic novel series Sunstone. That talent is also seen here. Harley and Joker are never a couple you want to route for, but they are a couple you can’t help but be fascinated by.

As Harleen falls deeper and deeper in love, she begins to realize she is fraternizing with a man who killed hundreds and held her at gunpoint. But even then, Harleen can’t stay away. Harleen #3 does well to make the reader feel like Harleen. There are moments where the Joker’s charm is so infectious it jumps off the page. There is no happy ending to this story, but for a moment, you think there could be. The Joker’s manipulative and mysterious nature mixed with the two’s raw sexual chemistry is a molotov cocktail of disaster waiting to happen.

Harleen #3 also takes time to focus on Harvey Dent, who in the previous issue received his classic scaring, as he also descends into madness. Šejić’s art is just as beautiful though in the scenes with Dent are much darker and take on a more somber tone with the coloring. Additionally, Downie brilliantly gave Dent two fonts, symbolizing his dual thoughts to now match his face. The lettering work helps tremendously to show which side of Dent readers are seeing. The scarred and unhinged Dent speaks in letters that look like they have been hastily written. His speech bubbles are also different, with the outline showing a roughness that matches his new face.

Harleen #3 finally tips the scales and moves the series forward. Harleen’s descent into madness was always guaranteed, but this issue has taken her gentle stumble into a cliff dive. My only concern with the series is its glorification of Harley and Joker’s relationship. However, I can’t deny that the series is fascinating and this issue is excellent.

Harleen #3 is available now in comic book stores everyone and online.

Harleen #3
4.5

TL;DR

Harleen #3 finally tips the scales and moves the series forward. Harleen’s descent into madness was always guaranteed, but this issue has taken her gentle stumble into a cliff dive. My only concern with the series is its glorification of Harley and Joker’s relationship. However, I can’t deny that the series is fascinating and this issue is excellent.