After years of learning how to become a better person, Harley Quinn‘s path to redemption in the comics is seemingly complete. The one-time sidekick of the Joker, who made her debut in the seminal Batman: The Animated Series TV show has long been known as a murderous, psychotic and crazy villain, but DC Comics has been attempting to make her a hero in recent year.
Her journey has been long and arduous, but in Harley Quinn #10, Harley was able to resist temptation from the woman she loves, Poison Ivy.
In the comics, Ivy leads Harley to an off-limits section of a museum to a case containing a priceless diamond. Ivy tempts Harley to steal it, as the one diamond alone will allow the lovebirds to leave Gotham forever. Despite how tempting the situation was, Harley refused.
This is major character growth for Harley, who for two decades has never been one to step down from vices, let alone deny and say no to a romantic partner.
Originally introduced as a comic relief, alongside being the Joker’s sidekick and lover, Harley was formerly Doctor Harlene Quinzel, and was corrupted by the Joker after numerous psychiatry sessions in Arkham Asylum. She endured both physical and emotional by her Mr J, and had previously tried, unsuccessfully, to escape from him.
She made her cinematic debut in Suicide Squad where she realised the Joker never loved her and went on a soul-searching journey in Birds of Prey. When fans saw her again in The Suicide Squad, she seemed devoted to changing her bad habits.
This isn’t the first time DC Comics has tried to turn Harley a hero. In the Birds of Prey one-shot, Harley referred to herself as a good guy after saving Huntress. The book showcases Harley’s redemption arc and while she retains her zanier, unpredictable personality, she’s clearly on the good guy’s side. More importantly, the world around her is slowly recognizing that as well.
It looks like DC Comics won’t stop transforming her into a hero, and this move to turn a comic book villain into a hero isn’t new. Marvel Comics’ Hawkeye started his journey as a career criminal, before joining the Avengers as a superhero, and the same goes for former Spider-Man villain Eddie Brock aka Venom. The one difference here is that their redemption arcs in the comics predated their live-action appearances, whereas Harley’s started after.
Still, Harley Quinn’s redemption is well-earned, proving that even over-the-top comic book villains can make a sincere effort to change and become better people. Maybe it’ll take a while more before she can slap on an official DC Hero label on her – and for fans to accept that transition too – but for what it’s worth, we’re just really proud of her.