DC Black Label announces new Harley Quinn and Joker series


DC Black Label will debut a new series this fall about Harley Quinn’s pre-supervillain life as a psychiatrist and her investigation into Gotham’s infamous psychopath, the Joker.

DC Comics’ mature imprint, DC Black Label, will be releasing a new series about Harley Quinn and the Joker, it was announced today. Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity, written by Kami Garcia and artists Mike Mayhew and Mico Suayan is a nine-issue psychological thriller which will follow young forensic psychiatrist and profiler (Harley Quinn) as she assists the Gotham City Police Department in their pursuit of a deadly serial killer – none other than the Joker.

It’s interesting to note that the press release shared by DC does not refer to Harley’s original, pre-supervillain name – Dr. Harleen Quinzel. This could be for convenience purposes, unless the series itself assumes that Harley Quinn is the character’s real name. From the synopsis, Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity is an out-of-continuity story that will have a procedural vibe to it. In the series Harley Quinn has already had a run-in with Joker’s handiwork, and her obsession to analyse this criminal entity is set to lead her down a dark path.

"In Gotham City, where heinous acts of violence are a daily occurrence, the GCPD relies on Harley Quinn, a young forensic psychiatrist and profiler, to consult on their toughest cases. But Harley is haunted by one case in particular—when she found herself at the center of a horrifying crime scene the night she discovered the body of her roommate, left with the signature of a notorious serial killer—the Joker."

Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity promo (Credit: DC Comics)

"When a series of gruesome displays of murder appear throughout the city, the past and present collide as Harley’s obsession with finding the depraved psychopath responsible leads her down a dangerous path. She must decide how far she is willing to go, and what lines she is willing to cross to solve these cases once and for all."

Harley Quinn and Joker’s relationship has long been perceived as inherently toxic and DC’s recent endeavours have attempted to address the more problematic elements of their ‘romance’. Harley has reclaimed her independence in several titles and nowadays leans heavily on her relationship with Poison Ivy. Unfortunately, Harley’s characterization continues to be linked to her past with the Joker, though Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity could provide new insight into Harley as an earnest profiler.

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It’s a smart move by DC to accept a woman writer’s pitch for a series like this, especially since the Black Label imprint has courted some unnecessary controversy recently. Garcia is already a bestselling author of young adult novels and will be working on DC Ink series Teen Titans, so Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity is a change of style for the writer. How Garcia profiles comics’ most notorious psychopath as well as balances Harley Quinn’s personal story arc will be the linchpin for the series’ success.

Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity will release issues monthly, starting from October 2, 2019.