Batman and Harley Quinn: Dynamic Duo?
In the last issue, Harley was approached by a Tamaranian representing the Lords of Order and Chaos to become their new agent. However, to do so, she must first complete a series of trials to prove if she is worthy. While this was being explained to her in Coney Island, in Gotham, Harley was being framed for murder. That murder victim then got up off of the coroner’s table and left the morgue after Batman tracked Harley down. Seemingly set up, Harley has no choice but to team up with the Dark Knight in order to clear her name.
What does Harley Quinn do when Batman has to bring her to the Batcave? She rides the giant dinosaur, of course. As she joins Batman by the computer to review the evidence, Batman admits that the body leaving the morgue doesn’t make any sense. He knows that there was no body double, and that the body was never switched out. At this point, Harley emphasizes again that she was not the one who killed that doctor. Despite her protest, Batman refuses to let her out of his sight until this is resolved. Harley’s solution to this is not to fight, but rather handcuff herself to Batman. The two of them then go to the home of the supposedly dead doctor. There, they find a young man inside who claims to be housesitting for the doctor, who is apparently out of town. They leave the home and travel to the man’s office to search for anything that may have been overlooked. While Batman searches for clues, Harley finds a cookie crumb. This type of cookie, according to Harley, is not available in America and had to have been illegally imported. This leads the pair to the docks, where they find a warehouse registered to the supposedly dead doctor. This warehouse is filled with the same chemical used to kill the doctor in the last issue. They also find a hat from a Japanese sports team in the warehouse. Before they can begin putting pieces of the mystery together, GCPD arrives and open fires on the two. Luckily, Batman has the Batwing on standby, allowing them to escape.
Once the two are clear of the conflict, they take a moment to process the evidence on a rooftop. Batman then accuses Harley once again of the murder, to which she tells him, “I know I did some bad stuff. Hey, I can admit it…But deep down…I never wanted ta be a bad guy.” Before he can fully respond, they hear a woman calling out for help on the street. Before even Batman can respond, Harley leaps into action to save the woman. After defeating her assailant, Harley speaks with the woman, who reveals the man was her stalker. This causes Harley to have a revelation as to who has been setting her up this entire time. The next thing we see is Commissioner Gordon leading Harley into Arkham Asylum. Before Harley reaches the gates, the police are attacked by the man who orchestrated this entire plot against Harley: Lord Death Man. His obsession with Harley led him to set her up, knowing Batman would turn her over to the police, at which point he could break her out. When he approaches her, he realizes that this isn’t Harley Quinn at all, but an officer in disguise. Batman and Harley then arrive and begin tearing through Lord Death Man’s thugs. Once Harley gets to Lord Death Man, she knocks him to the ground and drives the handle of her hammer through his chest. When Batman comforts her, she tells him about Lord Death Man’s ability to always come back from the dead. The two leave and reach a nearby rooftop. There, Harley slips out of the cuffs she and Batman were wearing, causing Batman to realize that Harley could have escaped at any point of their adventure, but chose not to. She then admits that she needed to prove Batman wrong, because it actually hurt her when he said that she was a bad person, and that she does care what he thinks of her. Batman replies, “I was wrong, Quinn. And not just about the murder. The old Harley Quinn would never have risked imprisonment to comfort a mother and her son. Maybe you have changed.” Harley celebrates on the rooftop, only to turn around and see that Batman has already disappeared. Then, the belt she was given by the Lords of Order and Chaos begins to glow. The same Tamaranian girl from before appears and congratulates Harley on completing the first trial. However, she is quick to remind her that there are still five trials left. At the same time, three women approach Coney Island looking for Quinn. And it seems these three women are witches.
Remember when I said something in a previous review about putting Harley in a grounded story arc? Hope you enjoyed it while it lasted, because apparently, she’s about to fight three witches. My hope is that it won’t be that bad. That being said, my only issue with this Batman team up is that it wasn’t longer. However, these two issues were the best issues of Harley’s series in a while. It seemed like after Penguin and the Gotham villains invaded Coney Island, the writer just wanted to put Harley in increasingly ridiculous situations. Her trip to Apokolips wasn’t that bad, but when she fought sexist pet shop owners, my attention was gone. Leave it to Batman to swoop in and pull my interest back to Quinn’s book. It was satisfying to see Harley finally get Batman to acknowledge that Harley has changed and is a much better person than she was before. Perhaps this may even lead to more team ups between the two down the line. While short, the team up between the Dark Knight and his former enemy was a good read and allowed Harley Quinn and Batman to finally see eye to eye. Here’s hoping the rest of this arc can follow suit and not end up bogged down by more nonsensical plots.