The Batman: White Knight comic is making history by curing the Joker of his madness, and now it's adding the first sex scene between Harley Quinn and her Puddin' - ever. That's good news for both of the villains involved, but it's even better news for readers, as the love scene promises a brand new layer in what's shaping up to be a long-overdue case for Batman's greatest enemy. The days of Joker's obsessive addiction to Batman are over... and so too is his abuse of Harley Quinn.
For those who missed the first issue of Sean Murphy's re-imagining of the Clown Prince of Crime, it's not too late to catch up. Not when this new vision of Joker as Gotham's 'White Knight' is just starting to explore police and vigilante brutality, casting Bruce Wayne as the villain now terrorizing Gotham City. Before the comic began, Murphy promised that Joker finding a medicinal cure for his mental illness would make him a better man. In fact, it would make him the man Harley Quinn "always wanted."
Apparently, that means the pair's newfound affection and non-violent attraction has finally cleared their physical interaction for public consumption. Murphy took to Instagram to reveal his in-progress pencils for the Joker/Harley sex scene, while noting that it may be making history for the publisher and its superhero universe:
There are sure to be cynics or those jumping to conclusions, assuming this scene - like the Harley Quinn/Nightwing sex scene in DC's most recent animated feature - is meant to catch attention for less than... honorable reasons. But the truth of the story is far greater than just Joker and Harley stripping down to their birthday suits. Even before Matt Hollingsworth has added his colors to the artwork, it's speaking volumes: Joker laid bare, being tenderly held in the arms of the only person to ever love him - not the Joker fans, or Harley Quinn, have ever known.
For those enraged by the idea of a sane Joker making Harley's dreams finally come true, we have good news. DC has made no secret that White Knight is its own self-contained story, with its own self-contained Batman, and self-contained Joker (with a real name this time!). For those wishing to see this long-overdue exploration of what makes the Joker tick carried over to the main DC Universe... there may still be a chance. A standalone story it may be, but as Murphy has reminded fans all along, there's always the opportunity to fold in the elements fans respond to (after a potential sequel series, of course).
It's too soon to predict the partnership that Harley and Joker may form when united in sanity... or the closest Harley is to it, herself. Murphy initially promised that his version of Harley would be the "classic" one introduced in Batman: The Animated Series - and the same goes for the dozens of villains and heroes from that show being included in White Knight. But those uneasy about the idea that DC would, in 'standalone' comic or not, portray the abusive relationship between Joker and Harley in a positive light... patience may be rewarded.
Murphy has met queries with confirmation that this story was not concocted lightly, nor will it be careless in its embrace and reinvention of DC mythology. In a single page of White Knight #1, Murhpy pays tribute to Alan Moore's The Killing Joke (itself adopted as canon eventually), Tim Burton's version of Jack Napier, and modern storylines in which Harley fully recognizes that her love for Joker is not reciprocated. It remains to be seen if the question of Harley's pregnancy (alluded to in the Batman: Arkham games, one of the only confirmations of a sexual relationship between Joker and Harley) will carry over here.
The Joker may be the center of the scene when he and Harley finally disrobe and show their love in a way even approaching healthy, but it's what comes next that we're waiting to see. Because if White Knight presents the 'Joker in shining armor' Harley has always dreamed of... there's no guarantee this version of the story will have a happier ending.
Batman: White Knight #2 will be released November 1, 2017.