The Clown Princess

HQThe indomitable Harley Quinn is experiencing a little bit of anxiety in Lisa Yee’s latest Super Hero High novel. “Some people think I’m just a class clown,” she laments. “But I’m more than that, aren’t I?”

Usually Harley Quinn is an irrepressible force of nature. She’s the frosting on the cake, the zzazz in pizzazz, the ribbon on the present, and the duper that follows super. But it’s a lot of work making people happy, and she’s starting to feel the pressure.

Because she’s so busy joking around she’s having trouble juggling schoolwork, friends, and everything else. Her main priority is promoting Harley’s Quinntessentials, an internet video channel boasting “a million-ish viewers.” The clown princess is working 24/7 to become the biggest media star in the DCU.

Many of Harley’s classmates don’t exactly respect her, however. Cheetah, for one, dismisses her with a roll of her eyes. “It’s so pathetic,” she says. “She’ll do anything for a laugh.”

But is making people laugh so terrible? Harley doesn’t think so. “Kids call me a class clown, like that’s a bad thing,” she complains. “People underestimate the benefit of being happy.”

That, in a nutshell, is what Harley Quinn is all about. She wants everybody to be happy all the time. “Whenever I see someone looking stressed, I want to cheer them up,” she says. “So I’ll tell a joke, or do a super-duper gymnastics move, or whatevs, even if I’m not feeling so great myself.”

Unfortunately, Harley’s sunny attitude gets her in big trouble. When the Krazy Karnival comes to Metropolis she is instantly attracted to the “chills, thrills, and delights of the world’s greatest and grandest amusement park.” To her, the carnival represents her madcap philosophy to a T.

Much to Harley’s chagrin, the Krazy Karnival turns out to be a shady enterprise helmed by two carny criminals. The double reveal at the end of the novel won’t surprise anyone with a passing grade in DC Supervillains 101, but it nevertheless throws Harley for a loop. Eventually, the Metropolis City Sirens (including Harley, Miss Martian, and Bumblebee) find a way to burst the carnival’s balloon.

In the end, the Krazy Karnival Kaper helped Harley find a little solace. Who was she? A class clown, an internet personality, a B-minus student, an entertainment impresario, a superhero? She was all that and more. “You’re fun and funny, and a super friend,” says Batgirl. Everyone agrees: Harley Quinn was one of a kind.

[Harley Quinn at Super Hero High / By Lisa Yee / First Printing: January 2018 / ISBN: 9781524769239]

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