Filmmaker David Ayer's decision to radically overhaul the traditional appearance of The Joker and Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad (played by Jared Leto and Margot Robbie in Ayer's movie, respectively) is an element of the upcoming DC Extended Universe installment that, for now, comic book fans remain somewhat divided over. The two characters have always looked unusual, but their new live-action appearance - seemingly inspired by modern club wear and high fashion - rubbed a number of DC Comics fans the wrong way when first unveiled.
How fans will respond to the characters in the actual Suicide Squad movie remains to be seen, of course. In the meantime, a Suicide Squad prequel mini-comic has been unveiled, shedding more light on the Joker/Harley duo, and how they ended up in the predicament where the film finds them.
Titled "Suicide Blonde," the mini-comic is being distributed as part of a marketing partnership between the film and SPLAT-brand hair dye. It depicts events set several months prior to the main storyline of the film. Scans from the issue (which have not been officially released online) can be viewed at CBM and Comic Book. While the pages don't offer any context as to the origin of this new Joker or Quinn herself, they paint a more detailed image of how the new incarnation of the criminal duo operate.
Framed as a flashback from Quinn's perspective, the comic depicts Harley and "Mr. J" tormenting an elderly gangster in his home in retaliation for his moving in on "Joker turf." While Quinn changes into a slinky red and black evening dress, Joker berates her for taking too long, to which she replies that it takes awhile to "put on her face" - to which Joker replies: "Not for me." While this could easily be a throwaway joke, it may also be the first indication that this version of The Joker's unique skin and hair color are a permanent part of him (as is traditionally the case) as opposed to being makeup (a la Joker in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight). The comic goes on to show the pair being visibly annoyed at seeing their signature look being co-opted by dancers at a Gotham City night club, with Joker threatening to murder a patron for using the phrase "on fleek."
What the comic (or, at least, the pages scanned thus far) does not appear to reveal is whether or not either character has a new origin story (or, in the case of The Joker, an origin at all). Quinn was created in Batman: The Animated Series, where she started out as a clinical psychiatrist (real name: Harlene Quinzelle) who attempted to psychoanalyze The Joker and was instead herself brainwashed by him. Traditionally, The Joker is not afforded a definitive origin - though it has been rumored that the new "DC Rebirth" miniseries event will provide him with one. It appears the pair will meet under the usual circumstance in the film though, based on Suicide Squad images such as the one above.
Suicide Squad will arrive on August 5, 2016, followed by Wonder Woman on June 2, 2017; Justice League Part One on November 17, 2017; The Flash on March 16, 2018; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; an untitled DC Film on October 5, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League Part Two on June 14, 2019; an untitled DC film on November 1, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps on July 24, 2020.