Author and Illustrator Stjepan Šejić
Harleen is an impressive feat of literature. It’s a standalone comics run that shows us how a successful doctor of psychiatry like Harleen Quinzel coud possibly get involved with a psychopath like The Joker. It’s a book we’ve needed for a long time.
For far too long now, but specifically after the Suicide Squad movie, people have been romanticizing the relationship between Harley and Joker. They seem to place it on an alt style pedestal and I don’t know where they got it from. Certainly not from reading the comics or watching the cartoons. Let me state this as clearly as possible, the relationship between Harley Quinn and The Joker is and has always been TOXIC.
He’s a monster, murderer, criminal, manipulative narcissict, and plenty of other red flags that should always be avoided. No one should want to be in a relationship with him and it is dangerous to idealize it in any way.
However, it is realistic that even an otherwise smart and put together woman would fall for a scum bag like him. It happens all the time. We’ve all known that girl. Maybe we’ve even been that girl. So how does it happen?
Well, Harleen takes us down the path of depression, low self esteem, mental health problems, addiction problems, and emotional manipulation that can put even the best of us in a very unhealthy relationship. The scariest part about this book is how incredibly believable it is.
Dr Quinzell is attempting to work on a psychiatric research project taking place at Arkham Assylum. Through this project she gets involved with the infamous Joker. She knows he’s a murderer, she’s seen it with her own eyes. She knows it’s a bad idea but we see how quickly a bad idea can become passion.
It’s disturbingly easy to fall for the wrong person. And typically, in the real world, it’s so easy for us to tell our friends they’re in the wrong relationship. From the outside we can see the red flags that they’ve blinded themselves to. But as a reader of Harleen you can see how it is to be on the inside. You start to ignore the red flags too.
I found the logical part of my brain screaming for Harleen to get away from him and save herself. But the romantic side of my brain saw how happy he made her. How she did somehow seem better off this way. How maybe they could make it work.
But that’s wrong. And the Harleen comic doesn’t tell you that these two should be together. It doesn’t put them on that pedestal. It shows the consequences many people don’t want to see but isn’t preachy about it. We all need to learn some lessons the hard way.
This book takes one of the most confounding relationship stereotypes that can be found in real life every day and explains it. It demystifies it for those lucky enough to have never fallen into the traps.
Read Harleen. This is not just a comic book. It’s a handbook. It’s a warning. It’s mandatory reading.
5/5 harlequins 🤹♀️🤹♀️🤹♀️🤹♀️🤹♀️
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Buy it here: Harleen