“Harleen” – Book Three
Letterer: Gabriela Downie
Review by Kendra Hale
Different Kinds Of Dreams
Harleen #3 is here and the action and pacing are set on furious. There’s so much happening in this finale that it’s jaw-dropping. I will attempt to keep this as spoiler-free as possible, but there’s so much that’s both wonderful and awe-inspiring. There were literally pages in this issue that made my jaw drop, and I kept coming back for more. I want to just jump right in and get this review started, because if I don’t the depression that this series is over will hit. If you haven’t been reading along with me, do yourself a favor and do so.
Harleen #3 begins in a dream world given to us with inspirations straight from the Mad Hatter’s file. Her internal conflict over her feelings for the Joker is palpable and relatable. Her goal has been to save the criminals of Gotham, and that there’s hope for each of them… including Joker. It’s hard not to root for her even when we know what’s to come. She’s taken her actions to the extreme, by being vulnerable to Mr. J, creating a bond of trust. This leads to a climax in their relationship… literally. Harleen is coming to terms with the fact that she’s in love and her want to save Joker is all-encompassing.
Harvey Dent, on the other hand, is losing his entire grip on reality after the accident with Maroni. His other half is gaining ground and wants justice. A visit from a few members of The Executioners and a coin flip change his mind. Wilkes seems to agree that his path is righteous and a plan that Harvey has had in his head for years comes out. “A night of blood to force the politicians to act.” Harvey wants to help Gotham too, by showing them that there’s no cure to the evil that has spread into the heart of the city. Only by seeing there’s no hope left will Gotham be able to see Dent’s vision of harsher punishments, and the reinstatement of the death penalty as the right way to justice.
A clash is coming and Gotham will never be the same. Not one soul who has graced the pages of this book will leave this arc untouched. Harleen and Harvey are rushing headlong towards their destinies and their legends have never been told in a manner so visceral.
Descent Into Blissful Madness
Harleen #3 hits every point perfectly. Every bit of art, story, and letters come together to make this series quite possibly the best I’ve ever read. All this is done is three decadent volumes that satiate a want… a need. Stjepan Šejić gives us a Harley Quinn story for the ages. It’s the origin story we only thought could be possible in fleeting dreams and wishes. Some scenes are brought to life so perfectly that it almost hurts that it isn’t the norm.
One specifically is the birth of Poison Ivy. This full-page spread, along with the artwork that recently cropped up on the author/artists page, has this reviewer begging for an Isley story next. The way Šejić is able to not only keep focus on the main character, but also brings every background character into the light is masterful. It’s literally the most enthralling game of chess ever.
Šejić’s writing and art are amplified by Gabriela Downie’s letters. One of my favorite things is her take on the insanity that is Two-Face. The style of text she uses to bring his crazy to life is remarkable and one of my favorite things about this book. Each font is tailored perfectly to the character narrating. This team is magic.
Harleen #3 is the end of this series and what a ride it’s been. If you’re in any way a fan of the comic medium, do not do yourself a disservice by not checking this out. It’s perfect. There’s nothing a fan could ask for that isn’t given to them. Harleen is beautiful, twisted, conflicted, and real. The writing is done in such a way that it doesn’t let you go until the very end. The finale is so tragically poignant that it leaves you looking at everything a little bit differently. Bravos and kudos are very well deserved. On the whole, this series is a 10 out of 10. I’m not ashamed to say I will keep it in my top 3 stories going forward… until I see what else may be up the sleeve of Šejić.
It’s been a long time where I didn’t just pick up a series for the character, but the writing and art alone. Stjepan Šejić has changed all that.
Images Courtesy Of DC Entertainment