When one thinks of DC’s most classic couples, it’s hard not to have Harley Quinn and the Joker come to mind. After all, they are two of the franchise’s most iconic supervillains, and concidentally also have what may be the most memorable romantic affair in the publication’s comic book history.
The Harley-Joker relationship is often talked and debated about by passionate fans, many criticizing the “romanticizing” of their dynamic by many misguided sources.
It’s easy to excuse Joker and Harley’s roller-coaster of a romance as just another “crazy” love story – and hey, they’re both as psychotic as the other so that means they’re the perfect match, right?!
You’ve also got actual actors like Jared Leto deeming the Joker as a “misunderstood sweetheart,” and hundreds of misinformed fans who magnify whatever sweetness the duo display as proof that they are totally “relationship goals”.
However, all this couldn’t be farther from the truth. The dynamic the Joker and Harley share was never and should never be anything anyone should aspire to have; it’s your cookie-cutter picture of an abusive, manipulative relationship.
Since The Joker’s obviously got more than a few screws loose, the physical and emotional scarring he puts Harley through is amped up to outrageously shocking – and sometimes, downright grotesque – levels, as outlined in this article.
Brace yourselves – this is 15 Most Despicable Things The Joker Has Done To Harley Quinn.
15. Almost Running A Plane Into Her
In the episode, “Harlequinade”, of Batman: The Animated Series, Joker plants a bomb in Gotham City in an attempt to decimate the area with a single explosion.
This causes Batman and Commissioner Gordon to turn to an incarcerated Harley Quinn, offering her a full pardon in exchange for helping them track down the weapon.
Upon finding the bomb, they realize that Gotham’s madman has a biplane ready to escape the city’s demise.
Realizing that there wouldn’t be enough time to save her Arkham inmates, Harley refuses Joker’s invite to board the plane with him.
As a response, he flies off without her, and attempts to dive into bomb with not only Batman and Robin nearby, but Harley as well.
The two criminals luckily survive the stunt, thanks to Batman – and continue to rekindle their dysfunctional romance.
14. Trying To Launch Her Into Space
In the 1999 one-shot comic, Batman: No Man’s Land, readers got to have a more in-depth glimpse of the Joker’s twisted feelings towards his affectionately obsessed sidekick.
In this story, he leaves Harley Quinn a note telling him to meet her at a rocket ship attraction in an amusement park. She ignorantly follows his request, stepping inside of the rocket and seeing her “puddin”’s face on a video screen.
Delighted at the sight of him, the Joker proceeds to tell her that he had been noticing some “changes” in him ever since the two got acquainted, emotions that he’s hasn’t felt in a long while.
All of this seems like a tender moment between the two, until the Joker reveals that he finds her a “distraction,” and thus, needed to be rid of. Harley then notices the ,rocket launching into space, though thankfully, manages to escape at the last minute.
13. Being The “Punchline” To His Latest Crime
The Grant Morrison-penned Batman #663 presented the Joker’s attempts in carrying out his latest violent stunt – killing all of his former henchmen, all in the name of a “joke.”
Of course, his red-and-black gal was all too happy to assist him in the act, only to realize that she was the punchline of the entire plan; as the final act was to murder the one person who loved Joker most.
Thankfully, with the help of Batman, Harley was able to escape from her former-boyfriend’s clutches, later shooting him in the shoulder to incapacitate him as Batman proceeded to drag him back to his Arkham cell.
During this, Harley admitted to the Joker that all she ever wanted was more attention from him, and was unsure of whether he still had any love for her.
12. Kicking Her In The Face For Attempting To Help Him
The Joker has been known to treat Harley Quinn like a doormat, rather than an actual supportive sidekick. There have been multiple times where we see the man simply treating her as a mere tool for his plans and disposing of her once she proves to no longer be of use.
In one particular comic event, Harley eagerly shows her enthusiasm for helping out the Joker with his plans, as he attempts to scheme among his henchman.
Upon asking one of his goons a simple question, Harley interrupts by waving her arms and saying “Pick me!,” anxious to impress the Joker with her response.
In a fit of annoyance, her loving boyfriend proceeds to violently kick her in the face, startling even crew of criminals.
11. Torturing Her For Being Too Independent
When the Joker was apparently announced dead in the New 52 comics, a confused and troubled Harley sought refuge and found family in the Suicide Squad.
Life without the Joker brought an incredible amount of positive change in Harley as she learned to develop her self-confidence and independence, even getting intimate with fellow Squad-mate, Deadshot.
Of course, the Joker made a surprise return, seeking to take Harley back as his subordinate. He then stumbled on the unsettling revelation that his once obedient clown princess was now a confident, self-reliant woman.
This didn’t sit well with the Joker, causing him to beat her up and even setting her own hyenas on her, calling it a humbling “refresher course.”
After undergoing multiple rounds of torture, she was then chained to a dungeon wall, which, to her horror, was filled with the rotting corpses of other, similarly clothed “Harley Quinn”s.
10. Beatinhg Her Up For Capturing Batman
In the Batman: The Animated Series episode, “Mad Love,” Harley tries to impress her crazy lover by attempting to capture and kill the Dark Knight himself.
By attaining that very goal the Joker has spent his entire existence trying to achieve, Harley had it in mind that her and the Clown Prince of Crime could then spend the rest of their days happy and worry-free.
Harley manages to successfully abduct Batman, dangling him above a tank of bloodthirsty piranhas. She then displays her work of art to the Joker, who, unfortunately, doesn’t take ot kindly to her startling new achievement.
Livid by the fact that she had caught Batman before him, the Joker mercilessly beats Harley, actually throwing her out the window in a fit of rage.
Perhaps one of the more disturbing parts of the entire incident was that Harley still wholeheartedly forgave him for the whole thing.
9. Driving Off With Two Other Women
In a comic strip where Lex Luther’s personal assistant, Mercy Graves, is seen having a showdown with Harley Quinn, the two are untimely interrupted as a car runs itself into Harley, later shown to be driven by the Joker and two scantily-clad women.
Without showing even a hint of concern for slamming the vehicle into his lover, the Joker rudely requests that Harley takes care of a few of his criminal duties, including “doing his jail time” until “things cool off” between him and the police.
Not pausing for a proper response from a disoriented Harley, the Joker swiftly drives off with his two random ladies, telling her that he was on his way to have “a thousand and one Arabian nights of fun!”
Yet, we’re sure she was quick to forget to dismiss the entire incident – in true Harley-Joker fashion.
8. Chaining Her By The Neck For Keeping Secrets
In Suicide Squad #14 – the same comic where Harley was tortured for her newfound post-Joker independence – her Clown Prince began the brutal regime by pulling her by her neck with chains, in an effort to get her to reveal “secrets” she was supposedly hiding.
The Joker, both offended and paranoid by the fact that Harley may just be re-gaining the stable, intelligent mental state of Harleen Quinzel, prodded his ex-lover on her current state of mind.
Without even managing a proper answer – Harley only got to murmur about some “secrets” she had up her sleeve – the white-faced criminal dragged her panicked body up by a chain while screaming, “Then why don’t you hang out and tell me a few, Harley?!”
Dude’s a pretty sick guy, alright.
7. Treating Harley As Property
By now, it’s no surprise that Harley’s “puddin’” treats her more like an object he owns rather than an actual romantic partner – or even one in-crime.
The Clown Prince has been known to easily and almost un-emotionally rid himself of her once she has successfully served her part in his schemes; which makes many wonder why she even bothers coming back each and every time, regardless of his dirty tricks.
Perhaps this dynamic is no better represented by her clothing than in David Ayer’s 2016 Suicide Squad, wherein a clown-faced Margot Robbie is seen sporting a bomber jacket that literally states, “Property of the Joker,” along with a dog-like collar embellished with the golden letters: “PUDDIN.”
Oh, and let’s not forget the “Daddy’s Little Monster” shirt that she also dons in the movie, as if the other’s haven’t gotten the hint, already.
6. Offering Her Flowers, Then Shooting Her
There have been a shocking number of times that the Joker was able to get away with seemingly sweet gestures towards Harley, only to have these “romantic” acts end in utter betrayal.
What was probably his most despicable faux-romantic stunt was when he showed up with a bouquet of flowers for Harley, praising her for her “hard work” and for having successfully bonded with his goons.
Of course, Harley appears ecstatic at the Joker’s “affection” — until he pulls out a gun from inside the bouquet and proceeds to shoot her in the stomach, point-blank.
He then leaves Harley for dead, while calling the incident a “wonderful start” to his evening. She obviously survives the ordeal, though we’re sure that’s a memory to haunt her forever.
5. Offering Her Up To Some Random At A Club
David Ayer’s 2016 adaptation of Suicide Squad received less-than-pleasant reviews from critics – many of which questioned the depiction of Harley Quinn and the Joker’s relationship.
It was a portrayal that was a tad too romantic for what how the pair truly interact in the comics – and one that spawned a number of misguided, photo-filtered Tumblr posts titled “#RelationshipGoals.”
Though Ayer’s added that tiny touch of romance to the the dysfunctional duo on-screen, there’s no denying that poor ‘lil Harleen Quinzel was tortured and manipulated by the Joker from the very start.
In fact, during a scene in which the two are at a nightclub, we see the Joker willingly “give away” his precious Harley to a random gangster he had met.
He ends up ending the guy’s life moments later; though we’re not sure which part of the incident’s more unsettling.
4. Continuously Throwing Her To The Hyenas
If there are two things the Joker loves to use against his battered lover, its his hyenas, Bud and Lou. T
here have been a few incidents in which we see the madman sic his beasts on poor Harley – one of which was during his torturous “refresher course” after she gains confidence form the Suicide Squad, and another during their anniversary – out of all days.
In a desperate attempt to please her psychopathic beau, Harley douses herself in pudding and sings her Mistah J a sweet tune about the seven years they’ve been together (that’s right, seven years – let that sink in).
Instead of appreciating her gesture, the Joker throws Harley to his hyenas in disgust, leaving them to eat the pudding off of her.
He even comments that Harley’s “a sweet kid, but a lousy cook,” as his bruised girlfriend stews in regret.
3. Ratting Out Her Escape Plan To Reduce His Own Sentence
We all know by now that the Clown Prince of Crime has absoluely no boundaries. There isn’t one thing that could possibly get in the way of committing all his perfect crimes – especially those directed towards the Dark Knight himself – even his girlfriend’s life were on the line.
In the episode, “Trial” of Batman: The Animated Series, both Bats and Gotham’s District Attorney, Janet Van Dorm, are held captive by Arkham’s inmates as they put Batman on trial for supposedly “creating” them; for turning them into the “monsters” that they are.
As each of the city’s criminals present their case – with Janet put up to the task of defending Batman – we learn that Harley had once planned to escape out of the Asylum, only to be ratted out by her lover in order to reduce his own sentence.
So much for being her “loyal puddin’.”
2. Substituting Her With A “Fake Harley”
The Batman: The Animated Series episode, “Joker’s Millions”, does a good job of showing the Joker’s erratic personality as Harley’s boyfriend, forcing her to question where his loyalty truly stands.
The story opens with the pair’s failed attempt at a bank robbery. We learn that the Joker has actually been struggling with intense financial problems, which lead to the crime, though manages to get away while leaving Harley to be captured and taken back to Arkham.
The Joker, to his delight, eventually learns that a fortune was left to him by one of his criminal enemies who had recently passed away. Upon hearing the news, Harley is confident that he’d now be able to save her.
Instead, she finds out that he’d hired a new hench-girl named “Fake Harley.” since it was cheaper than actually trying to break her out of prison. Ouch.
1. Continuously Manipulating Her Into Loving Him
One of the saddest things about Harley and the Joker’s relationship is the fact that no matter how much abuse her psychotic beau puts her through, he’s managed to have her running back right into his arms, every time. It’s pretty much your typical dynamic of an abusive romantic relationship.
We see this in the Gotham City Sirens comic series, in which Harley undergoes the revelation that the man she loves has done nothing but treat her like an object; a pawn for his schemes.
In an effort to seek vengeance, she visits him in Arkham with the relentless plan of shooting him dead.
Sadly, all it took was an “I miss you” from her ex-lover, unearthing a myriad of bittersweet memories in the poor girl’s head as she rushes towards the criminal in a loving embrace.
Which of these awful incidents shocked you most? Can you think of any awful things that Joker has done to Harley? Let us know in the comments!
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