Harleen Book Two Review

by Olivier Roth on October 30, 2019

Story and Art: Stjepan Šejić

Letters: Gabriela Downie

Published by: DC Black Label


After raving about the first issue of Harleen here, I couldn’t help but feel going into this new issue that it had a lot to live up to. Does book two in this trilogy match up to its first installment? Absolutely! 


Harley Quinn has always been one of those characters that I’ve enjoyed from afar ever since her debut in The Batman Animated Series back in the 90s. I’ve known her origin forever (and I’m sure the same goes for the majority of comic readers at this point), so it has been nice to see a new but familiar take on how Dr. Harleen Quinzel became the notorious Harley Quinn. 


Šejić does an excellent in this second issue to continue delving into the reasoning for Harley’s turn. With this second issue, he concentrates this time on Harley’s blossoming obsession with “Mr. Jay” set to the backdrop of the creation of Harvey Dent’s Two-Face. You might ask yourself, what does Two-Face have to do with anything, and well, without spoiling anything, his, for lack of a better word, creation, fits into Harley’s research into the criminal mind and how it’s starting to look a lot like she needs to fix these broken minds. 


Šejić smartly uses two encounters that Harley has within this book to advance the idea that she can ask the questions that no one before her had the courage, or sense to ask. The first is her meeting with Batman where she tries to get to the heart of his philosophy as a vigilante and his no-kill rule - this is in direct contrast to a new group introduced called the Executioners, whose name speaks for itself. Her second encounter is with the Joker himself about his views/sentiments on killing. 


However, as we all know by now, the Joker has been shown as a master manipulator, and Harley, in just a few sessions, starts falling for the breadcrumbs he puts out. 


The storytelling throughout keeps you engaged in this super-sized issue as Šejić chose to set the narrative as a first-person account from Harley’s perspective and she recounts how she got to where she is now. It’s nothing new, but doing it in this fashion, you get a sense of both foreboding as to what is to come next as well as a sense of regret on the part of Harley. You get through her narrative that she knows she was led astray. 


Šejić’s art continues to be a treat. There’s nothing more I can really add from my review of Book One, but I will say that Šejić is a master of the on-panel expressions. I’ve always been a fan of artists like Kevin Maguire who really demonstrate real emotions through their art, and Šejić is among a select few artists today that I follow that do it really well.

Our Score:


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