Review of Kami Garcia’s Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity

Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity by Kami Garcia

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ms. Garcia (and the artistic team, of course) deserve a standing ovation. This is pure genius. And it’s a take on the origin story of Joker and Harley that I’ve never encountered before. The “realistic” approach, examining the psyche of both characters without losing the integrity of the world – or even the sick, twisted cruelty inherent in the backstory.

Yet they turn everything sideways, flip it upside down, and fracture it through a funhouse mirror. Granted, you know the identity of Joker within the first few chapters. But grasping the building of the persona and the motivation – it’s something different. You don’t usually see him portrayed with a heroic slant or even sympathy (empathy?). To the point you start looking askance at Harley. It’s a deep dive into the definition of “psychotic” and “sociopath.”

By the time you turn the final page, you understand both characters in a fresh light. You know their motives, and there’s no question as to who’s “right.” Yet the question’s seated so tight in your brain, “Am I sure?” It’s storytelling at its most brilliant.

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