Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass by Mariko Tamaki

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. This is the first title in DC's new line of original graphic novels for middle grade and young adult readers.
Everyone knows Harley Quinn is destructive, boisterous, and a bit out of her mind. Mariko Tamaki takes on Harley's origin story to show readers a new side to Harley - an angry, rebellious teen who stands by her friends.

Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass is part of DC Ink's first publishing's of graphic novels for teens. DC Ink and DC Zoom (a publishing imprint for younger readers) are DC's efforts into releasing stories that enable young readers to be exposed to and fall in love with DC's most prominent heroes. Although, Harley Quinn is an interesting choice for a hero. She's more of an anarchist or vigilante in this teen debut to her origin story. An origin story completely different than the original but otherwise an interesting modern spin on her story.


Harley comes to a new town where she's semi-fostered by a karaoke cabaret drag queen owner named Mama. In this new city she makes all sorts of friends who just get her. Mostly drag queens. Harley or Harleen (her real name) is still her wild child, goofy self. She gravitates to none other than Poison Ivy. Well just Ivy this time. She's an activist for promoting women filmmaker's in her school's local film club where the boy's in the club refuse to watch anything made by a woman. She's also trying to keep her local garden from being taken away what with big business trying to buy up homes and creating the city their way. I loved that Ivy and Harley's friendship was so prominent in the storyline because Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy are such an iconic duo. They seem like such opposites but together they are a force to be reckoned with.


The majority of the plot was based upon a big corporation wanting to buy up the neighborhood and the neighborhood fighting back. And then comes in Harley, who from flashbacks and storytelling you can see an anger with a sense of justice in her actions. And lots and lots of destruction. Steve Pugh who illustrated Breaking Glass did a remarkable job depicting all the characters and story. He deserves all the praise and big round of applause too for bringing Harley to life across the pages of this graphic novel. Mariko Tamaki kept up with his illustrations by creating a timeline of events and rich storytelling to create a very different, but very dark and fun origin story for Ms. Quinn.

The only thing I found negative was the Joker. I do understand where the author was going with his association with Harley since you know he's usually depicted as abusive. However, I didn't like who he was revealed to be. Overall, Breaking Glass has me hyped to read more of these DC Ink and DC Zoom releases. I'm hoping to be as mesmerized with the art and storytelling Tamaki and Pugh were able to bring to Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass.

Thanks to NetGalley and DC Ink for letting me read and review Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass in exchange for an honest review!


Which DC character would you like to read about?

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