The Next DC Black Label Book Is Putting An Interesting Spin On The Harley/Joker Dynamic

DC’s Black Label imprint might have gotten off to a bit of a rocky start thanks to a Batawang-based bit of controversy, but its next title is a return to Gotham that is a lot more interesting than Bruce Wayne’s bat-package—offering an intriguing spin on the classic match made in hell that is the Joker and Harleen Quinzel.

Announced at BookCon this weekend alongside a host of artist confirmations for the DC Ink line of graphic novels (as well as new looks at the new Teen Titans Raven and Beast Boy solo books in the line), Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity will be penned by Kami Garcia (Beautiful Creatures), and feature art by Mike Mayhew and Mico Suayan, and covers by Francesco Mattina.

Running as a nine-issue series, Criminal Sanity will follow a new take on the early days of Harley and Joker’s tumultuous connection—not one of doom-stricken romance on Harley’s part (for now, at least), but out of a quest for justice. In Criminal Sanity, Harley isn’t an Arkham Asylum employee, but instead a forensic psychiatrist and profiler working with the Gotham Police Department.

Haunted by a traumatic encounter where her roommate was gruesomely murdered by a serial killer known only as (please try to be surprised) The Joker, when a spat of brutal killings in the city leads to the GCPD turning to Harley for consultation, the young woman finds herself on the hunt for the infamous Joker.

With her past and present colliding, Harley finds her mission to find Gotham City’s most notorious killer slowly consuming her, and the inevitable question arises: can she stop herself from going down a dark road in the name of bringing the Joker down once and for all?

It’s an interesting dynamic to put Harley and the Joker in, in lieu of the typical story of their origins that sees the latter manipulate the former into an often misguided infatuation. Plus, by making Harley and her own internal struggle the focus moreso than the idea of the Joker luring her into his world of clownishly macabre crimes, Criminal Sanity sounds like it could at least offer a refreshing version of a tale we’ve heard many times before.

The Joker/Harley book is set to begin on October 2.

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