Last year the sequel to the DC fighting game Injustice came out. I personally love this game and I think it greatly improved upon the first one, which was pretty good itself.
For those that don’t know, the story takes place in another universe from the main continuity where Superman kills the Joker and basically becomes the ruler of the world. One of the things that makes the games so good is the story mode and there is one character in particular I find that is portrayed better than in the most of the comics, Harley Quinn.
As I mentioned before, the Joker is dead in this world, so of course Harley is no longer with him. This forces her to be more independent, instead of hanging around with the Joker. Now that doesn’t mean that she still isn’t haunted by the deceased clown. With a visit from the main universe Joker and being hit by the Scarecrows fear toxin, she has her fair share of Joker run ins.
Part of what makes Harley’s story intriguing is her fight to break free from the Joker. Now this has been explored in comics, so it is nothing new. In the prebattle dialogue you get an idea of Harley’s battle to break away from her past.
While some aspects of the Injustice version of Harley has been explored in the comics, one part that new is Harley being one of the good guys. While you could argue that she is one now in the comics, but she has always leaned toward being somewhat of an antihero. Being part of the Suicide Squad she is written as more of a hero but still at times acts like a villain because she is forced by Amanda Waller. In the game she has made the transition all the way to hero, even making into Batman’s inner circle.
Throughout the game you hear how she has reformed with her mentioning how she hasn’t killed in a while or how some are hesitant to trust her. I think some of the best Harley Quinn stories are when she is a hero and not a villain. The comics have had her going in this direction, but won’t fully commit to her turn to the heroes.
Harley’s interactions with the other characters is also done well, particularly with Black Canary, Green Arrow, and Catwoman. It appears that Canary had had a hand in helping Harley reform and gain Batman’s trust taking her under her wing. Catwoman defends Harley when fighting either Poison Ivy or the Joker. Now I haven’t read the Injustice comics, but I have heard that Harley and Oliver Queen might have been a couple (someone can let me know if I heard correct) which could be why I also felt like they were close as well.
All this has lead to her becoming one of Batman’s closer allies. You can tell he doesn’t hundred percent trust her, but who does he trust that much, but still has her in his inner circle of heroes.
In her game ending, Harley joins Batman’s new Justice League. She mentions that she still gets the urge to “bash people’s heads” sometimes, but is then shown with her a little girl who is implied to be her daughter (something else from the comics). Injustice just shows a side of Harley that is new and in my opinion the direction they should take her in the comics as well.
I have never been a huge Harley Quinn fan, but when she is written right, she is definitely a character I can get behind. In recent years she has been turned into this sex appeal character who runs around in minimal clothing and hasn’t gotten proper treatment. The Rebirth run of Suicide Squad has come the closest to writing her well, but I still feel they could go a step further.
Having Harley come full circle from just being a henchman for Joker in her creation to a full on hero could be great for her character and offer a different dynamic that we have not seen before. Seeing how her popularity grew once she became more of an antihero, the fans must like that direction as well. I feel that this would be the right route for Harley and the next step in her evolution. The comics should take a page from Injustice and if they do, then I think the polarizing character of Harley Quinn will be someone liked by a lot more people.
(Originally created on Jan. 22 2018)