NOTE: This article contains minor SPOILERS for Batman: White Knight #2
For the DC fans who think the original Harley Quinn was the best version ever, we've got good news: the classic Harley is BACK. That's the tease being offered ahead of this week's Batman: White Knight #2, the comic series revealing how Gotham City might change if The Joker was finally cured of his insanity... and his obsession with Batman. Writer/Artist Sean Murphy had previously promised that his series would be a love letter to Batman: The Animated Series, and a treat for Harley fans in particular. And not just because the first artwork showed a similarly-cured Harley Quinn with an engagement ring on her finger, either.
The first issue of White Knight ends with Joker-- sorry, Jack Napier cutting a deal for his freedom, having discovered a miracle medicine that could banish his 'Joker' persona altogether. With a serious case against the Gotham Police thanks to Batman's brutality, his freedom and following campaign to expose Batman as the real menace seem assured. Now, it looks like the Joker won't just be getting his sanity back - he'll be getting his "Puddin'," too.
The first pages of White Knight #2 releasing November 1st have been previewed (hat tip to Den of Geek), showing Joker's return to Harley Quinn. Understandably, Harley is a little hesitant to believe that Joker could actually be cured, greeting him with demands to get his face painted back in white, and to embrace the insanity that defines her beloved boyfriend. When Joker pops the question, making good on Murphy's promise that the abusive Joker/Harley dynamic was over... things go terribly.
Harley meets his proposal with a kick to the stomach, and an insistence that he is her "puddin'" - not the other way around. It's at this point that we should clarify: the Harley Quinn he's meeting is the current comic book version in place at DC. Basically the same one that's been around since DC's New 52, sporting the short shorts, high boots, and t-shirts made popular for years, including the Suicide Squad movie. But she's not alone with Joker...
As the preview pages show, Harley's refusal and ridicule of the cured Joker-- sorry, Jack (that's going to be hard to get used to) is met with a swift kick of her own. But the foot that kicks her is delivered by a small black shoe at the end of a fitted red leg. And the hand that reaches down for the engagement ring - as she clarifies that SHE is the "Puddin'" Jack's after - sports the classic red/black color scheme, white wrist ruffles and all.
Going by this preview, it appears that Murphy's promise of the 'classic' Harley Quinn was far more literal than most would expect. White Knight is set outside of DC's main comic book continuity (as much as that ever matters), so there's no need for Murphy to work the manic, new and improved, modern Harley into the story at all. If that ruffled wrist means that the classic, original Harley introduced in Batman: The Animated Series is co-existing alongside her t-shirted counterpart... then the continuity question gets even richer. Murphy has been open in the past about using White Knight to address, if not fix perceived problems with the Joker/Batman dynamic (as he personally sees them). Apparently, that extends not only to Joker's abusive relationship with Harley, but the character that Harley has become in recent years.
From the looks of it, Batman: White Knight just became a must-read comic for the Harley fans who prefer their Quinn in a red and black Jester bodysuit, loving the man that Joker is underneath his psychosis, not because of it (something she actually shares with the DCEU movie version). But that seems to be the tip of the iceberg for Murphy's story, as the writer/artist soon took to Twitter to share the above pages, while also warning that Harley and Joker will NOT be getting a "romantic" wedding. Some habits die harder than others, it seems.
Are you thrilled to see the classic Harley Quinn's return being teased as part of Joker's own return to sanity in White Knight? Or are you holding off on hoping that the pair might actually get their happy ending, after all? DC Comics has folded 'Elseworld' stories and characters into their canon before, as Murphy has pointed out more than once. So if the response to Harley's return is a vocal one... she might just be back for good.
Batman: White Knight #2 will be available on November 1, 2017.
Source: Den of Geek