~TRIGGER WARNING: date rape, sexual assault, transphobia, rape, violence against women, queer baiting
I can't begin to describe my love for Harley Quin~TRIGGER WARNING: date rape, sexual assault, transphobia, rape, violence against women, queer baiting
I can't begin to describe my love for Harley Quinn. As one third of the Gotham City Sirens, she already has a long history of being an incredibly smart woman, who interned at Arkham Asylum, and began falling in love with the Joker. The Joker then Manipulates then Harleen Quinzel into setting him free.There are differing ways that she is introduced as a villain--my favourite being, funnily enough, the New 52 origin, where we are shown the Joker throwing Harleen into a vat of acid. The reason why I like the New 52 version is because it shows that Harley begins her new life as a battered woman. After this, ever encounter she has with the Joker from thereon, he hurts her, mentally and physically, and manipulates her. It creates the building blocks for what could be the beginning of a story that discusses the violence within relationships. After all, Gotham City Sirens deals with the her best friends, Selina and Ivy, helping Harleen through the break up, and who talk her out of getting back with him, reminding her that he has tried to kill her several times, often for no reason. In the New 52 series, I volume 3 of Suicide Squad, we are shown a very grim scene where Joker is mentally playing with her feelings, knowing very well how much she dotes on him. Any romance that has ever been between Harley and Joker has now turned into an abusive relationship, and I'll never be able to stomach the people who ship the two of them. In fact, we re also shown that Harleen isn't the first 'Harley Quinn'. There are other girls that he has tortured and left to die. Harley is forced to break her wrists and bite her forearm to lubricate the shackles that he has imprisoning her. Thus begins the start of a discussion on how Harley is a victim of abuse, and could be the potential catalyst that DC can use to start being progressive, by showing a battered woman overcome her abuser, and still be a super funny, super cute--and a bit kooky--super villain.
Now, after two paragraphs of info dumping and digressing, let's talk about this new version of Harley Quinn. I was so fucking excited to read this book. I read each issue religiously as it came out each month. But the more I read, the less I began to like this new Harley. Ignoring the ridiculous over-sexualisation of her costume, her entire character has been drastically changed. Everything written in the New 52, where she promises herself to get over Joker, when she finally realises that he's an abuser--all of this doesn't exist in Ammanda Connor's and Jimmy Palmiotti's world. None of her character progression exists any more in this comic. This is a brand new Harley Quinn, and this is a Harley that actually makes me feel sick because of the blatant triggering.
I'm going to focus on a single issue to show just how awful this series is. In #3, the Valentine issue, I came across something that triggered me into panic attacks and depression, that caused me to be mentally comatose for about a week.
The issue features Harley eating a berry from a plant that Ivy leaves her, and the berry makes her amazingly attractive to everyone. Sounds like some silly hijinks could happen, right? Apparently not. A bus carrying convicts crashes, and that’s where the shit has hit the fan. They start falling in love with her. They tell her how they want to do sexual things with her. And hurt her at the same time. And this whole scene is supposed to be funny, because Harley is running around saying “oh crap oh crap”, and runs to a hardware store to fight them off with some crazy tools.
This last panel shows extreme violence towards women, and it's all very uncomfortable, and brings up bad thoughts. I had to stop during the scene to start crying, because just the sexual violence was too much, and added to the the light comedic edge… well, it just felt like they were making a joke about it. But I read on, because I was hoping that these criminals get their comeuppance. Thankfully, they do. Quite violently, which I approve of. But then, a cop comes up to Harley and makes out with her. Just out of the blue. That’s sexual harassment, by the way. Harley didn’t consent to it. Just because the cop was a woman, I’ve seen people squee about the sapphic tones of the comic as a whole, but I think this makes for bad representation for lesbians. And finally, just when I think that things couldn’t get any worse—by this point I’ve already thrown up on myself, I’m already shaking and having flashbacks, but I read on, hoping that there are consequences—and Harley gives her friend, Big Tony, the very same berry that caused her to almost be raped, that almost caused her to be tortured. She gives him the berry because he thinks that he has a chance with a girl that he likes. Which means, that she’ll be falling in “love” with him against her will. If they have sex, which I’m sure they will, it will be RAPE. She might as well have been administered the date rape drug and forced into it. And if you don’t even take that into consideration, her male friend is also in danger of being raped by randoms that he comes across.
And at the very end, Harley pats herself on the back for playing Cupid? What the fuck? No. After everything that she’d been through, and she’s fine with making her friend go through with it? Right now, I feel like I’m dying. I feel like I’m being raped all over again. I can feel it. I can see it happening. My brain is making me see things that I can’t possibly be remembering, since I was heavily unconscious at the time. Everything about this comic is awful and harmful, and so ridiculously callous and unfeeling in how they make their jokes.
If that one issue doesn't put you off the entire comic, then there are plenty of other issues that are just as tasteless and offensive towards women and transpeople, and there are instances of queer baiting--trying to put Harley and Ivy into sort of romantic positions, but told very loudly by Palmiotti that they're just friends.
I came into Harley Quinn because I was amazed that DC was going to have another female leading her own series, and written by a woman. She was essentially a girl written by a girl for girls, and that's so rare in DC. It felt so amazing hearing that DC was finally starting to acknowledge that they have a HUGE female fanbase, and this comic shows how little they care for this fanbase. Each joke is misogynistic. Harley joins a roller derby team--which, yes, is at its heart a violent game--but all the jokes are about how bitchy the other team is, so it's Harley's job to beat them up so violently while making jokes about it. Using violent techniques that are technically not allowed in derby.
Basically, enter at your own risk. Since it's aimed at women, and women are more sensitive to this sort of thing because violence and date rape is something we have to worry about, I just want everyone to be aware of what they're getting into, so that no one ends up violently triggered like I was
TL;DR: a comic aimed at women, written by a woman, but reads like a misogynist's journal. A mess of psycho cuteness that we're supposed to laugh at how 'kooky' she is. In the end, all she comes down to is a light version of Deadpool, if Deadpool was a woman....more
It doesn't deliver anything that I haven't already read a million times in fantasy. Some guy goes on a quest, bones a hot chick, and discovers that heIt doesn't deliver anything that I haven't already read a million times in fantasy. Some guy goes on a quest, bones a hot chick, and discovers that he's super special and has awesome powers, and that makes him the chosen one, and he must fulfil the prophecy before evil comes and does its evil things.
Such a shame, because the cover is so pretty, if you ignore the lady who looks like a fantasy cheerleader....more
I shouldn't be surprised that this was awful. There are so many reasons for it: - bad writing. The pacing is all over the place, and the story arc stilI shouldn't be surprised that this was awful. There are so many reasons for it: - bad writing. The pacing is all over the place, and the story arc still hasn't even ended, after 4 volumes. Most every other New 52 title I've read has had a story contained within their 6ish issue frame, so that each volume tells a nice, short story. This has been going on forever, with no end in sight. - Can we stop having men harass Diana? Four times, Orion has said something awful, which makes her at one point threaten to crush his balls, but even then, he doesn't take her seriously at all. She's just something pretty to look at. - On that note, can we stop having men finish off her work? Not once in this volume has Diana actually complete a fight without someone intervening and saving the day for every one.
I'm not going to even touch upon the butchered Greek gods (calling Hades 'Hell'?, having Hera, the goddess of women and motherhood, hate other women and their children for the last 3 and a half volumes... etc etc etc).
Four volumes, and all Azzarello has given us is a strong woman who just isn't strong enough to win without the help of men. Men who are entitled to make comments about her body, and to harass her over and over again, even after she tells them to stop. Wonder Woman should be the kind of person that every woman can relate to, that every woman can use to make herself feel empowered. She is supposed to be, essentially, the every-woman (and that includes women that aren't considered to be women by society). How are we supposed to have that when we have the guy who made Harley a stripper in Joker? I'm so glad that he's finally been kicked off the project; he's tainted her for the last 5 years....more
The only notable thing to come from this is the way Harley finally realises that the Joker is an abusive spouse, and she frees herself from him. ThisThe only notable thing to come from this is the way Harley finally realises that the Joker is an abusive spouse, and she frees herself from him. This is so so so important because people always romanticise their relationship, even though, for the most part, it's always just consisted of him hurting her in *zany* ways....more
Trust Geoff Johns to have a plot that meanders all over the place, trying to be too epic for the limited amount of space he has. Only thing that keptTrust Geoff Johns to have a plot that meanders all over the place, trying to be too epic for the limited amount of space he has. Only thing that kept this from being a 1 star was the treatment and resolution of the Prisoner, a meta-human with manacles who is haunted by the ghosts of soldiers who've died in combat with him (from what I understand), experiencing a PTSD-like state. Apart from that, this was completely unreadable, which doesn't surprise me....more
The only thing that redeemed this volume was the inclusion of Batman #17, which is written by Snyder, and worth reading in the actual vol 3 of Batman.The only thing that redeemed this volume was the inclusion of Batman #17, which is written by Snyder, and worth reading in the actual vol 3 of Batman. Everything else was angst angst angst. I loved vol 1 and 2 (with the exception of the culling crossover), and am not surprised to hear that this title has been cancelled, the way this volume's been written. Such a letdown....more