So after reading Harley Quinn’s three Rebirth Issues, I’ve come to a conclusion.
For those of you who are still unsure of what DC’s Rebirth is, check out this lovely article explaining it all very nicely.
The first volume was fun. Harley Quinn was drawn by various artists in several different styles, which was quirky and fun to see.
But then it stayed quirky and fun.
I know, I know. That’s the driving force behind Harley Quinn’s personality now that she no longer has Mistah J as her defining feature. Which from a healthy relationship standpoint is good.
But from a character standpoint is bad.
Harley Quinn is a character that is loved for her zingy one-liners and puns, yes. But her fans also adore her for her emotional background.
Harley comes from an abusive relationship. She gains so much depth from that, both in being relatable for women in similar situations, and for defining her strengths and weaknesses.
Rebirth completely ignores Harley’s origins. She’s shown as nothing more than a sexy, crazy bad-*** who has fun taking out zombies and being zany with her equally eccentric gang of Harley’s. (And an egg and a goat.) Her relationships are throwaway, her actions are about as important as that beheaded zombie you see down there, and her storyline is pointless.
Harley Quinn has been reduced to simply being silly.
Which saddens me a lot. A reader could see it coming, but I did have hopes that Rebirth would change that direction. Instead, DC seems to have embraced it.
Maybe completely denying the Joker is their way of saying, “Look! Now Harley Quinn is a strong, independent antihero who don’t need no man!” But to me, it seems to be saying that Harley can only be acceptable if she is her own stereotype, if she pretends her Puddin’ never existed, and if ignores anything and everything bad.
But that’s not what makes a character great. What makes them great is when they break down and build up, not break away and ignore. What makes them great is when their strengths and weaknesses are put on display.
Right now, Harley Quinn’s stories as compared to what they could be is like a picture book next to Harry Potter. Sure, it’s colorful and can be funny. But it lacks any of the depth or empathy. It’s a waste of a character that has a fantastic history and promising future.
In case you can’t get your hands on the comic books, you can use this website to read the first three of Harley Quinn’s Rebirth story. I’ve found it to be the easiest to use. Let me know your opinions in the comments!