Wednesday 26th November 2014,
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Sunday Special 12/9: Joker and Harley Quinn: A Tainted Love

Jacob Thomas 12/09/2012 Reviews

The Joker, the most mystifying comic book villain who wears clown-like make-up now inside Arkham Asylum. A psychiatrist who was determined to crack the Joker and write an amazing paper on what makes him….well…him. However, it is not the Joker who cracks. Enter….the beginning of Crimes Of Passion: A Tainted Love.

Since Harley Quinn’s 1992 debut in Batman: Animated Series Episode: “Joker’s Favor”, written by Paul Dini, she has slowly climbed up the ladder of villainous evolution. In her debut, she was not met with much fan-fare but a few days later, the show was met with much love for the distinctive looking and sounding character. Before 1993, Harley Quinn was featured within only specific Joker episodes chronicling her rise as Harley Quinn now formerly known as Harleen Quinzel.

A year later, in her first comic book appearance also written by Paul Dini, it tells of a different story chronicling her rise as Harley Quinn and where her love for the Joker began. She was working as a psychiatrist for Arkham Asylum and when she saw that the Joker was an occupant with his infamous clown-like look – she volunteered to interview him. The joker and her began to spend many hours on one-on-one sessions. The joker fed her stories re-telling of abuse from his father and other tall tales – he knew that she was hearing what he wanted her to hear. This stuck with her as if to create a false-sense of sympathy for the Joker. It wasn’t until Joker made his first attempt to escape from Arkham Asylum when her love for the Joker was first exposed to the world. She lost her license due to acting as an accomplice to help the Joker escape and thus was fired as a psychiatrist. Harleen Quinzel then bought her outfit from a joke shop and adopted the name, however a shortened version of her own, Harley Quinn and successfully helped the Joker escape from Arkham Asylum

Some time later, Harley Quinn was kicked out of Joker’s hideout after being revealed he had only told her what she wanted to hear even before she became Harley Quinn. Doesn’t quite sound like love does it? Oh, it gets better!

In 1999, she made her first official introduction into the DCU (DC Universe) under the one-shot title, “Batman: Harley Quinn”. Before 1999’s release of Batman: Harley Quinn, Harley Quinn appeared in the Batman titular series “No Man’s Land” where, after an Earthquake destroyed the city and government buildings, local gangs and other villains began to claim their own pieces of Gotham City. Harley Quinn came across Poison Ivy who claimed Robinson Park. When she was pricked by a poisonous plant inside her domicile, she was taken in and given an anti-dote that not only saved her life but gave her a bit of small super-abilities as well. The new transformation allowed Ms. Quinn to become a more “awakened” villain. During her time with Poison Ivy – when Harley wasn’t spending time with Poison Ivy, she was spending time with the Joker.

Harley Quinn attempted to reconcile with the Joker only to be kicked out of his hideout (again). Again, that doesn’t quite sound like love. This allowed her to go solo and step out of the shadow of the Joker and Poison Ivy.

One particular dynamic allowed for that exchange that really showcases the true heart *snickers* of the love between the Joker and his side-kick Harley Quinn. She had vowed to kill the Joker after she was thrown out of his hideout again. This extended to her asking help from her nemesis – Batman. As the two teamed up – together they chased down the Joker. As the Batman was taking care of the Joker’s henchmen, Harley had the Joker trapped. The joker, the cunning and maniacal villain that he is, used his devilish charm to “apologize” to her for everything he put her through and just like an abused spouse – she dropped everything and went back to teaming up with the Joker or as she more commonly refer’s to him now, as “Mr. J”.

Harley Quinn, formerly Harleen Quinzel, has always been in a balance struggle between what role she claims for herself and the role that of a submissive partner in crime to the Joker. However that balanced is tipped is always up for debate but there is always one strong possible indicator that is never quite clear and that is how the Joker uses his devilish charm to persuade Harley Quinn to do his dirty work. It almost has that taste of tainted love with a mix of quiet “Sherlock Syndrome”.

One thing is for sure though, no matter how we as readers attempt to decode her psychological reasons behind what she does – we ultimately, metaphorically subconsciously become a bit like Harley Quinn herself and create a secret fan-boy or fan-girl in us and the true Harley Quinn will always run back and forth between her maniacal aggressor to commit crimes of passion and to those that are able to channel her abilities to simple lighter sides of crime.

 

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  1. Scorp_Moonopoly 12/10/2012 at 12:57 pm

    Tainted looove, whoaoaoohohoh!

  2. @princesskhym 12/13/2012 at 12:08 pm

    Wow, such love it is… TAINTED.

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