cover image Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass

Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass

Mariko Tamaki, illus. by Steve Pugh. DC Ink, $16.99 paper (208p) ISBN 978-1-4012-8329-2

Harleen Quinzel pulls into Gotham as a broke teenage drifter in this tale of gentrification and class struggle. After being taken in by a drag queen called Mama, she begins to attend classes at Gotham High. Quickly making friends with ardent intersectional feminist Ivy, carefree Harley finds conflict with John Kane, the misogynistic head of the film club, and with his parents, unscrupulous developers set on gentrifying Harley’s new neighborhood. When a mysterious figure, the Joker, enters the scene, his goals and methods seem initially in line with Harley’s, but it’s unclear whether he is trustworthy. Tamaki (This One Summer) neatly maps DC universe characters—and their wealth, wits, and willingness to get their hands dirty—to high school drama. Harley is a relatively breezy character whose questionable ethics often mirror those closest to her, and pairing her with a found family of drag queens and community organizers directs her chaotic whimsy toward a social justice bent. The diverse cast is depicted in a realistic, frenzied art style by Pugh (Hellblazer), whose dynamic illustrations are particularly suited to the story’s stunning costumes and over-the-top dramatics. Ages 13–17. (Sept.)