Harley Quinn visits the folksPosted: 07/11/2012
In the past 25 years, you’d be hard-pressed to find a brand new comic book character more popular than Harley Quinn (well, maybe Deadpool). She first premiered in the Batman: The Animated Series in the 1992 episode “Joker’s Favor,” written by the wonderful Paul Dini. A year later, she got her initial comic book appearance and she was officially a part of the Batman universe. A lovely success story for the Joker’s girlfriend.
Real fast: Dr. Harleen Quinzel, a psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum requests to interview the Joker. She falls in love, becomes his second-in-command, and they share an abusive, roller-coaster relationship. But unlike so many origin stories, hers isn’t tragic, which means she gets to go do cool things such as visit parents and have family dinners. Like in Gotham City Sirens #7, also written by Paul Dini. She’s his creation, after all.
Oh yeah, her secret identity isn’t exactly hidden. She’s a recognizable celebrity in Gotham, both in clown makeup and not. Imagine the stress on her poor parents, knowing her successful doctor daughter now rides around in spandex with a giant hammer and a partner who’s mostly plant. But everyone changes careers once or twice, right? So now she’s a supervillain. It pays far better, has more excitement, and probably saved her life, as the life expectancy for Arkham Asylum employees tends to be on the horrifically low side.
And despite frequent stays in the loony bin, dozens of fistfights lost, and a boyfriend who beats her more than Batman does, at least she’s doing something with her life. If only the rest of her family had that amount of dedication.
Anger and frustration are a common theme. Also, did you know Harley Quinn has superpowers? During No Man’s Land, the major Batman event that took place in 1999, she became buddies with Poison Ivy, who gave her a potion. They’re still totally best friends, and several comics have been devoted solely to their wacky adventures together.
But anyway, the concoction gave her super strength, super agility, and immunity to most poisons, including Joker’s laughing gas. Truthfully, I can’t really find any definite answers to the extent of her powers, but she isn’t bench pressing minivans or back flipping over buildings. If I had to guess, she’s probably twice or three times as strong and fast as the Dark Knight. But he always wins anyway – decades of ninja skills and martial arts training and whatnot. Plus, she’s kind of a ditz.
And now watch our dear Harley get berated the way only a mother can:
You sensing something deeper going on? Harley’s mother, the poor soul, has been supporting and providing for a family that has done nothing with their lives (brother, father) or ruined theirs (Harley). How much disappointment can one person take? But don’t worry, because underneath that lovesick supervillain exterior lies a empathetic, loving daughter. Somewhere. Her history hasn’t been a good indicator of that.
And we haven’t met the father yet, have we? You don’t have to hold your breath on where he is, you can probably figure it out on your own.
See? Her dad’s a sociopath. Considering Harley’s upbringing, we should just be shocked she made it all the way to medical school. The crappy family life usually associates itself with the villain motif. Rarely does a superhero have parents that are jerks.
In summary, Harley’s father is a terrible person.
A very terrible person.
Luckily, she has dear friends back in Gotham. Like Poison Ivy. And Catwoman, who is for some reason wearing a bowtie in this issue. Y’see, while her home visit may not have been enjoyable, you can’t say Harley hates being a supervillain. If you ignore the whole thing where she hurts innocent people and supports a mad man’s attacks on the city, it should bring a single tear to your eye that Harley has found the American dream: a job she truly loves.