To put it mildly, Harley Quinn is a complex character. Originally created for Batman: The Animated Series, her explosive popularity eventually led to her becoming a mainstream DC Comics character, and now she's a headlining star in DCEU movies such as Suicide Squad.
Whether she's on the printed page or exploding on the big screen, though, everyone knows what Harley represents: chaos and mayhem. Most of the time, the chaos and mayhem that she causes is due to her relationship with the Joker, and Batman stands as a force for law and order that is standing in their way. Every now and then, though, Batman is part of the problem!
Over the years, he and Harley have worked together on more than one occasion. Predictably, these adventures often go sideways, and they often end up creating as much trouble as they set out to prevent. From getting Nightwing in a compromising position to canoodling, Batman and Harley have had a lot of fun doing bad things over the years.
Don't believe us? You don't need to check the Bat computer on this one - just read our awesome guide to the 15 Worst Things Batman And Harley Have Done!
15 Nearly kill the Joker
Most of the time, Batman's whole deal is that he doesn't kill people or like guns. And most of the time, Harley Quinn's whole deal is her total devotion to the health and safety of The Joker. That's why it's so surprising that in the Batman: The Animated Series episode “Harlequinade”, they nearly kill the Joker!
The plot of the episode has some parallels with the later Batman and Harley Quinn movie. In it, the Joker has stolen a massive bomb and is threatening to destroy all of Gotham City. A reluctant Batman recruits Harley Quinn to help fight Joker, and she helps him find the killer clown.
The climax of the episode has Joker piloting a small plane and firing his gun at the bomb to set it off, forcing Harley to shoot him. This doesn't kill him (she merely fired a small Joker head at him), but causes him to crash his plane into a building. Joker, of course, survives, but Batman and Harley very nearly broke their respective codes to try to stop him.
14 Fight animal rights activists
When it comes to romance and Harley Quinn, she's usually with her “pudding,” the Joker, or Poison Ivy. Some of her later comics have had her explore some stranger relationships, including one with genocidal alien Lobo. However, in one comic, she sets her romantic sights on none other than Bruce Wayne... and along the way, they end up beating up some animal rights activists.
The plot of the comic revolves around Harley trying to steal enough money to win a charity date with Bruce Wayne at an auction. Wayne, however, gets kidnapped by a “villain” known as the Carp. It turns out that the Carp simply wants money to fight corporations that are polluting rivers and killing fish. Bruce tries to settle things with his pocket book instead of his fists, but Harley then shows up to beat up the activist and rescue the billionaire.
Harley is later visited by Batman, who offers approval for her rescue; the one where she took down a passionate activist and condemned countless fish just so she could go on a date with Bruce. Hopefully, Batman's carrying some PETA-repellant bat spray!
13 Give the Joker a comedy night
One thing that even the most hardcore fans of the groovy 1966 Batman series could never have guessed is just how popular that show would remain, even decades after it was over. Its popularity was great enough that DC eventually began printing a new comic (Batman '66) intended to tell new stories with this iconic version of Batman and Robin. To make things interesting, this comic eventually introduced its own version of Harley: Holly Quinn!
Like in the main comics, she starts as a psychiatric specialist at Arkham Asylum before striking out as a villain. In one issue, she and Batman convince Arkham's Warden to let Joker set up a special comedy night at the asylum!
As you might have guessed, this is a terrible idea, and the Joker (along with Catwoman) use the distracting hilarity of the inmates' standup comedy to make their escape. The Dynamic Duo end up capturing them and saving the day, but it's pretty silly (even for Adam West's Batman) to go along with any plan hatched by the Joker without realizing it's a trap!
12 Vampire shenanigans
Not every alternate universe take on our favorite heroes and villains is a cheerful as Batman '66. One of the more shocking universes is the one seen in the Justice League: Gods and Monsters movie.
In this movie, the Justice League is filled with violent thugs who are very different from the heroes we know and love. To promote the movie, producer Bruce Timm and company released a series of online shorts, and in one of them, we see a frightening vampiric Batman.
Instead of being Bruce Wayne, the character is Kirk Langstrom, known in our universe as the mutated Man-Bat. Here, he's a human-looking vampire and eventually sets his sights on Harley Quinn. Harley is a serial killer who keeps heads in her refrigerator and poses dead bodies in her home. Batman defeats her, and when she surrenders, he bites her.
What makes this terrible is how ambiguous it is— it is not clear if Batman is converting Harley or simply feeding on her blood. Whether he kills her or converts her or lets her go, they are both complicit in her killing rampage. Batman didn't bother to try to stop her until he got hungry.
11 They can't let Joker die by his own hands
Next to Batman: The Animated Series, the most epic take on the Caped Crusader may be the Arkham games. While these games do use much of the voice cast from the Animated Series, they are set in their own universe, and these games often kill or significantly change major characters.
For the first two games, the threat of the Joker looms large, with him threatening the entirety of Gotham City. Despite this threat, both Batman and Harley work to save his life!
In the second game, Arkham City, we discover that Joker has been poisoned by the special Titan formula he created in the first game. Mr. Freeze reluctantly develops an antidote, but Harley soon steals it to get it to the Joker. The antidote is stolen from Harley and eventually gets back to Batman, who cures himself with part of it and saves the rest for Joker.
Chaotic to the end, Joker attacks Batman and inadvertently destroys the antidote, leading to his death. While Joker sealed his own fate, his greatest ally and his greatest enemy did their best to save the life of the most dangerous man in the world!
10 Cross universes so that Harley can marry and then murder Joker
Many moviegoers were shocked to see such a vivid vision of an evil Superman in Batman v Superman. In that movie's "Knightmare" sequence, Superman seemingly commanded a vast army, and heroes like Batman were the sole resistance to his global domination.
To gamers, though, this was old hat: the idea of Superman losing Lois and taking over the world was the central plot of the first Injustice game and its amazing comic. The game provides different endings for each character, including a truly weird one with Harley Quinn!
After Batman, Harley, and the others defeat Superman, the Harley of this dimension goes to our dimension so she can rescue and marry the Joker. Before things can go happily ever after, though, she murders him with a cake-cutting knife after her pushes her face into the cake.
Everything about this ending is as crazy as Harley: apparently, Batman had no problem letting her escape to his Earth and rescue a genocidal maniac. Either Batman didn't care what Harley did with Joker or he was rooting for her to kill him, making this a dark ending either way!
9 Go on a shopping spree with Ivy
When it comes to weird things that Batman and Harley do, Batman doesn't always have a lot of choice in the matter. That is the case in the Batman: The Animated Series episode “Holiday Knights”.
The episode is actually broken into three different Christmas-themed stories, including one focusing on Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. Harley is lamenting being bored, but Ivy has a plan to shake things up: take control of Bruce Wayne!
With a dose of some mistletoe mojo, Ivy takes control and Bruce Wayne must now obey their every command. So, what do they do when they have one of the world's most powerful men as their slave? Well, they shop... and shop... and shop, spending Bruce Wayne's money all over town.
The episode is played for laughs, and Bruce eventually escapes their clutches, but it doesn't change the fact that Bruce (under duress) helped two of Gotham's most dangerous criminals buy whatever they wanted in a caper that could have ended in disaster.
8 Continue the cycle of violence
Part of what made the Batman Beyond television show so special was that it let us see how some of our former heroes and villains carried on in their golden years. Thanks to the Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker movie, we know that Batman and Harley are both unable to keep young people from carrying on their names.
In the show, we see how young Terry McGinnis decides to take up the mantle of Batman. Bruce tries to stop him at first but eventually allows Terry to continue. And in the Return of the Joker movie, we see two twins who share the style and personality of Harley Quinn. Collectively known as Dee Dee, they are part of the Jokers gang and eventually serve The Joker himself when he returns. They manage to survive the movie and are taken to prison, in which they are bailed out by “Nana Harley.”
Ultimately, both Batman and Harley were unable to keep impressionable young people from joining the violent lifestyle that is likely to get them killed.
7 Cause mass car wrecks
After Batman and Nightwing convince Harley to help them in the Batman and Harley Quinn movie, it goes about as well as you'd think.
They are trying to use the Batmobile to track down a person who may know where Ivy is. Harley sees someone on the street, insist that he is the guy, and they screech the car to a halt and begin chasing him. Over the course of this chase, they cause a series of car wrecks that very nearly get several citizens killed.
The inevitable punchline to all of this is that the man they are chasing down is not even their suspect. Instead, it's someone who used to date Harley Quinn back in high school and then dumped her. It's a really silly scene that also helps to underscore the real danger Batman and Nightwing-0 have taken on by teaming up with Harley Quinn, making them complicit in any crazy thing she does in the course of the investigation.
6 Nearly got Catwoman killed
Batman: The Animated Series was a show filled with amazing episodes. However, even among countless amazing tales, the episode “Almost Got'im” is a stand-out. This is because of a simple conceit: the episode is about many of our favorite villains getting together, playing poker, and swapping stories about how they all nearly killed Batman.
Joker is there, with a story of how he and Harley lost Batman but captured Catwoman, whom they will soon kill. Batman is also there, in disguise as Killer Croc to find where Catwoman is and rescue her from Harley.
As a resolution to a loose collection of stories, it's solid, and the revelation that “Croc” is Batman is amazing. As a logical plan, though, this is insane: Harley has had Catwoman for some time now. Instead of tracking her down using his world-class detective skills, partners, or millions of dollars in equipment, Batman is just going to play poker and see if Joker blurts out where she is.
It's a crazy gamble, and Batman is just as responsible for how close to death he allows Catwoman to get as Harley is!
5 Get Nightwing molested
In the Batman and Harley Quinn movie, fans of Batman: The Animated Series get to have their (cheese) cake and eat it too. It features the return of several iconic voice actors from that series, is animated in the style of that series, and is produced by Animated Series guru Paul Dini. At the same time, it's a DC Direct animated movie, allowing it to explore more adult themes and situations. One example of this is when Batman helps Nightwing get molested by Harley!
The plot of the movie involves Poison Ivy and the Floronic man trying to save the Earth. The catch? Their plan will kill all life on Earth. Batman sends Nightwing to find and recruit Harley Quinn, but she beats the former Boy Wonder in a fight and ties him up. She proceeds to molest the tied-up hero, even while Batman insists to others he doesn't need to check in on Nightwing.
To be fair, Nightwing doesn't seem too sad that it happened, but because of both Harley and Batman, he had no way of saying “no!”
4 Make out in front of Robin and Ivy
Most episodes of Batman: The Animated Series that feature Harley Quinn are pretty silly. And while “Harley's Holiday” certainly brings a lot of laughs, it also tells a bittersweet story of Harley being granted parole and then having difficulty adjusting to non-criminal life on the outside.
A series of misadventures leads to Harley voluntarily readmitting herself back to Arkham until she is ready for a normal life. She is escorted by Batman, who has also helped keep her out of trouble (mostly) during her time outside of Arkham.
When she asks why he did so, Batman tells her “I know what it's like to try to rebuild a life. I had a bad day once, too.” Overjoyed at the words (as well as the dress he gives her; one she was trying to buy earlier), Harley kisses Batman. It starts as a quick kiss followed by a much longer one, causing both Poison Ivy and Robin to incredulously stare at them and then at each other.
Let's face it: making out with someone while their lover and your adopted son watches is one of the creepiest Batman moments ever!
3 Chemically torture Nightwing
In most respects, the Batman and Harley Quinn movie delights in being a more mature Batman tale. It's filled with characters cursing, sexual situations, and the creators generally thumbing their noses at the old, kid-friendly cartoon. However, it has an extraordinarily immature scene that can only be described as a chemical attack by Harley.
Batman, Harley, and Nightwing are traveling in the Batmobile, and Harley is requesting they stop somewhere so she can go to the bathroom. She is experiencing a bit of gastric distress due to a meal she ate earlier. Batman refuses to stop, so Harley begins farting profusely. Nightwing gags and begs Batman to pull over for her, but Batman tries to hold his ground at first and insist that it “smells like discipline.”
Harley continues, though, and they eventually pull over... but Batman and Harley both made Nightwing suffer a gas much worse than anything he faced from characters like The Scarecrow or The Joker.
2 Nearly get Nightwing shot to death
The final indignity that Nightwing suffers in the Batman and Harley Quinn movie is that Batman an Harley nearly get him killed!
In trying to stop Poison Ivy and the Floronic man, Batman reluctantly teams up with A.R.G.U.S. In the inevitable final showdown in the swamp, Nightwing hops on the Floronic man's back. At this point, A.R.G.U.S. Soldiers show up and begin firing on the Floronic Man.
What makes this so bad is that we have previously seen bullets go straight through the Floronic man, putting Nightwing at great risk.
Furthermore, it's not immediately clear how A.R.G.U.S. knew where to find them and when to make their move. The logical answer is that they were continuing to coordinate with Batman, which meant that Batman was willing to get his longtime partner killed just to create a distraction for Harley to confront Ivy. Even for Batman, this is pretty stone cold.
1 Risking the world on Harley's tears
Speaking of Harley, the entire logic for having her join team Batman is that she would be able to negotiate with Poison Ivy due to their previous relationship. They are hoping that Poison Ivy will listen to a voice of reason about her dangerous plan that will destroy the world, and Harley is (quite ironically) meant to be that voice of reason. By the end of the movie, we realize that they were gambling billions of lives on Harley's ability to cry!
Part of the weird tonal shifts of this movie including treating the ending as just one more punchline. So, Harley's grand plan to stop Poison Ivy was to start crying, which Ivy had previously forbidden as being manipulative while she and Harley were dating. Is it a funny gag? Sure.
But it makes it abundantly clear that Batman and Harley were risking all life on Earth on Harley's ability to pout, which makes Batman seem crazier than any of the people he's ever sent to Arkham!
Got a terrible Batman and Harley moment we missed? Be sure to sound off in the comments section!