A new story set in Sean Murphy’s White Knight universe puts the focus on the Joker’s old flame.
Batman: White Knight Presents: Harley Quinn 1
Written by Katana Collins
Pencils and Inks by Matteo Scalera
Colors by Dave Stewart
It’s been well established here at the Geekery that I’m not really a big fan of the Harley Quinn character. From the JOKER‘s animated sidekick/girlfriend to DC Comics’ attempt at replicating the Deadpool formula, Quinn is probably one of the most over-exposed characters in the company’s roster.
Over the last couple of years, though, Harley Quinn has started to grow on me. Margot Robbie’s presentation in both SUICIDE SQUAD and the BIRDS OF PREY movies helped a lot. I felt like the films gave the character a lot more nuance than the crazy ex-girlfriend of Batman’s biggest foe was ever given in the comics.
But Sean Murphy’s two WHITE KNIGHT miniseries has probably had the biggest effect.
Harley has always been a big part of the White Knight universe, teaming up with Batman to try and keep Jack Napier from losing control of the Joker personality that’s hidden inside of him. Murphy even gave us my favorite Quinn quirk – that the criminal psychologist-turned-criminal quit being Joker’s aide-de-camp and she replaced herself with someone a lot less stable. And Joker never noticed. It’s such a great explainer for the various versions we’ve seen of Harley Quinn over the years.
But it is the original version of the White Knight Harley who gets the focus in this new Black Label miniseries. In a world where the Joker is dead, Batman is in prison and Gotham is basically free of the costumed criminal element, Harley just wants to have a normal life with her twin children and her pet hyenas.
This Harley is not an over-the-top agent of chaos. She is more of a nebbish soccer mom trying to move beyond her troubled past. She worries about being a bad mom and paying her bills. Harley Quinn’s life is quite boring compared to the way things used to be.
But Gotham never truly lets anyone rest for too long.
In the opening issue of the new miniseries, Gotham’s new serenity is broken by a serial killer targeting old actors. The victims are painted black and white and posed in scenes from their movies. And Duke Thomas is tasked with trying to bring Harley Quinn in to serve as a criminal profiler on the case at the behest of the FBI.
Quinn is none too pleased to be brought back into the underworld, but a prison visit with Bruce Wayne gets her on board as the issue comes to a close.
Maybe for the first time ever, I’m excited for a new issue featuring Harley Quinn.