“Mad Love is the best Batman story of the decade” – Frank Miller
Keeping with the theme of Batman this week with his 75th anniversary here, this week’s review is the award winning graphic novel that first introduced us to the character that is Harley Quinn. Now a symbol for a female psychopath, or dark sexual icon it should be know that this was not always the same woman: originally she was Dr Harleen Quinzel. An ambitious graduate, with an interest in the human psyche, especially that of Gotham City’s Joker. But even she couldn’t help but fall for his tricks.
It should be noted that there are a few more comic’s in the book, in order to fill it out such as short stories on Poision Ivy, Talia Al Ghul, Catwoman, Roxy and Batgirl. This book is graphic novel is said to be of the dames and demons of Gotham City. However the focus of both the graphic novel and the review are on Mad Love.
In the form of a graphic novel this medium allows us to view the story of Harley Quinn’s lure to the other side of the law,; by use of detailed images, speech and internal monologues. This helps the reader when trying to justify why such a ‘go-getter’ girl like Harleen would risk everything for The Joker. Because for her, it’s simple. It’s love. Mad love.
The origin story begins with a flash back from modern times to Harleen Quinzel’s first day at Arkham Asylum. This is how the origin story is fed to the reader from henceforth, small snippets and flashbacks of her time at Arkham City’s infamous mental asylum (along with a few statements and speech from the current timeline, referring to those days).
The story itself is simple yet so encapsulating that it is a perfect first read for many of you out there who haven’t tried a graphic novel, as of yet. As the story is basically a short tragedy in the form of a comic book, it is very accessible whilst also holds the story on a deeper level with relatable themes of love, anger, confusion and regret. Not only is this a face value comic book, but it is also the first time Harley Quinn is viewed as something other than the crazy lover of The Joker, but as one of his many tragic victims.
Although as a graphic novel, this may put many people off my advice would be to simply give it a try. I believe that the story is worth it if you have an interest in Batman, DC comics, the character of Harley Quinn or even psychology in general. Thus the reason that I have rated this graphic novel a strong 8/10. A simple medium, but highly effective.