Journey to Acceptance
Book Two continues Harleen’s tenure at Arkham studying the various inmates while grappling with how to handle the Joker, her feelings about him and herself, and moreover doubts about the work that she is doing. We see these doubts set against a backdrop of various callbacks from the previous issue, as she grapples with how to go about her work with the Joker. We get to watch her thought process about the proper actions to take play out as they are juxtaposed against the emergence of Two-Face and her own encounter with Batman. This all makes for a fascinating issue as all of these experiences ultimately inform how to proceed with the Joker.
Stjepan Sejic continues to craft one of the strongest Harley Quinn stories in years. Sejic is crafting the equivalent of a cover song that surpasses the original work. There is a level of seriousness, care, and believability in the journey from Dr. Harleen Quinnzell to Harley Quinn that he is crafting that has been sorely needed. Even without knowing how the whole series ends in Book Three, the work on Book One and Two is strong enough that retconning elements of this story into her official origin merits some serious consideration.
Whereas the first book had some inconsistent artwork from Sejic, this issue is more even, though it still has some problem panels. His style is an interesting mix of well-crafted, soft characters, backgrounds, etc. mixed in with hard, and sometimes messy, ink lines. It can be a bit hard to describe seeing a panel where you can tell there was intention to those rushed lines versus panels where it felt more haphazard. Regardless, it isn’t a major distraction the way it was in Book One. Looking at the quality of the covers ( both normal and variant ) for these issues, I am left a bit wanting for an experience that is that same level for the whole