Warning:SPOILERS for Harley Quinn #51
Fans of the classic Harley Quinn costume get a treat this week, as DC brings back the famous red and black jester suit for a little trip down memory lane.
When Harley first appeared in Batman: The Animated Series, it was the red and black bodysuit that essentially defined her. But after her leap to comics and feature films, the costume has been replaced by a range of other outfits - shedding fabric along the way. From the shorts and heels Harley wore in Suicide Squad to bikinis, corsets and more, Harley Quinn has compiled one of the most extensive wardrobes in comics.
Recently, her solo comic has seen her spending time on Coney Island with her gang, and can usually be found wearing her usual red and black shorts and jacket (with a few different tight tops and stockings thrown in for good measure). It's an outfit that changes a little bit issue by issue, depending on what form her heroism has to take on a given day. And in Harley Quinn #52, fans get a little look inside her closet... where she still keeps the bodysuit that started it all.
The issue starts with Harley at home looking through her wardrobe, and digging out the original catsuit - but it's her mother who hangs onto the bad memories. Mrs. Quinzel tells her to put it away, since it remains a symbol of the time Harley wore it while running around with the Joker. The moment leads to a conversation about Harley's current status as something of a lost hero, reminiscing about how much simpler things were when she was a straight-up crook.
The reverie fits perfectly with the past several issues, as Harley has been struggling to figure out exactly where she fits into the spectrum of DC's heroes and villains. She's more than happy to have left the Joker behind, of course (and in a parallel world, got married to Poison Ivy instead), but she's still not totally sure how to cope with the demands of being a real, honest superhero. The subplot came to a head in the previous issue when Harley had to save the DC Universe from total anarchy - leading into this issue's main story: the return of Captain Triumph.
Triumph's costume can't hold a candle to Harley's even if she doesn't return to her throwback costume (being equal parts "iconic" and old-fashioned). The future may lead to Harley's costumes being forward looking anyway, as previously seen when Harley got a Margot Robbie makeover ahead of Suicide Squad. And with a new Harley costume debuting in the Birds of Prey movie, the comic book Harley could have another new look on the way. In the meantime, fans who prefer the classic Harley look can enjoy this homage to her original style, small though it is.
Harley Quinn #51 is available now from DC Comics.