Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass presents a complete reimagining of the characters of Joker, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy (which the book just calls “Ivy.”) These characters have been repackaged for a “woke” teen audience:
Ivy is now a black, lesbian (Stop the Ginger massacre!) who has a passion for social justice;
Harley and her mother suffered under the abuse of her father and had to flee. Now the troubled teenager is left in the care of an aging drag queen (named “Mama”) after her mother left to work for a cruise line.
The Joker is a mystery character. Initially he seems like an anarchist teenager with a sexual interest in Harley who aids her in her quest to oppose the evil Kane Corporation in their quest to purchase dilapidated properties to refurbish or rebuild them.
While the goals of the Kane Corporation to provide high quality housing seem a poor source of motivation for our trio to oppose, it becomes more relevant as we come to understand that Mama and her entire community of drag queens will be displaced by these actions. They will no longer get to live in the bright lights of Gotham, but instead have to re-locate to the country. And who wants a community of country drag queens? Kane Corporation must be stopped!
Ivy serves little purpose in the story except to remind us of the evils of the patriarchy on every page. This conflict finds form in the shape of the film club teacher who refuses to acknowledge that a black woman ever contributed anything of merit to film. Protests ensue.
I felt the Ivy v. film teacher conflict to be cheap heat. Have you ever known a high school film teacher? The topic of film itself is beyond the reach of an ordinary school, but this is set in the high end, Gotham High. So we must assume that the area is fairly affluent. How many teachers of film in affluent, privileged high school communities would not be openly progressive, much less opposed to the notion of black women in film?
Ivy’s protesting everything does not produce much tangible results, when along comes the Joker to present a far more explosive option. He suggests Harley use her sex appeal to sneak into Kane Corporation headquarters. She makes an attempt, but she changes the plan by manifesting superhuman moves to take out the two guards. The story makes no attempt to explain how or why she can do this.
Once the guards have been dealt with, the Joker presents himself for his big reveal. It was he who was behind Kane Corporation the entire time. He’s a wealthy heir to the family fortune, you see. And he intends to use explosives to take out Ivy’s social justice protest now that the guards have been dealt with leaving Harley at the scene of the crime.