Even though Harley Quinn started out firmly in the slot of being a sidekick to one of the biggest villains in comic books, she has slowly evolved over the years into a much different person. Beyond just the aesthetic changes of Harley, she has also struck out on her own away from the Joker, staked out her own name, and made her own moral choices. Surprisingly enough, this has led to Harley teetering on the border of being a hero nowadays. (And the Joker following suit in recent comics).
One of the big differences that we see in Harley now is that she's often the one battling the villains. Whether it is as a member of the Suicide Squad or in her solo comics, Harley has switched over to working more and more on the side of the heroes. And even though Harley typically doesn't have any powers, she's done pretty well for herself in taking down some of the biggest threats in the world.
If you need more convincing of Harley's change of heart, here are 15 Villains Harley Quinn Has Completely Destroyed.
15 THE JOKER
The Joker and Harley Quinn have had a number of fights, particularly in more recent years. In the early days it was typically the Joker who came out victorious since Harley was so fixated on trying to please him and be there for him.
Ever since she’s struck out on her own, though, Harley has realized she doesn’t need the Joker and his twisted world view, so now she’s not afraid to fight back anymore. There was no instance when this was more apparent than in Harley Quinn #25 which provided her most definitive beat down of her former love.
Harley can’t resist going to speak to the Joker in his prison cell, but things quickly devolve when he attacks her, making it plain he intends to end her life. Harley doesn’t tolerate it this time, though, and she fights back and overpowers him.
When the Joker goes to kiss her, Harley even bites off part of his lip. Harley leaves the Joker bloodied and beaten in his cell, walking away the winner in the physical fight as well as the psychological one.
Fans of Injustice 2 got to see a pretty rare encounter when Harley Quinn wound up having to face off against the Scarecrow. In an alternate timeline where heroes and villains have developed new allegiances following Superman’s descent into tyranny, Gotham’s usual criminals could no longer count each other as allies.
Harley was working for the resistance against Superman, so that made her an enemy of the Scarecrow. Who would have thought a fight between two psychiatrists could get so intense?
Although Harley easily defeated Crane in the physical fight, the Scarecrow also pushed Harley into a mental battle. After a dose of Crane’s latest toxin, Harley came face to face with an illusion of the deceased Joker looking to exert control over Harley all over again.
Even this ultimate test was not enough to defeat Harley, though, and she overcame the Scarecrow’s illusion to win the fight against her bad memories.
Fans who enjoyed the Suicide Squad movie couldn’t help noticing that it seemed like Harley and Deadshot had some good romantic chemistry together. Of course it was never going to happen this early into the DCEU what with Harley still being in love with the Joker, but there were some seeds planted.
If you think Floyd Lawton and Harley would never have the kind of physical battles that the Joker and Harley did, though, you just have to check out Harley Quinn #21 to realize that isn’t exactly true.
In the issue, Harley and Floyd’s disagreement evolves into a fight that spills into a motel. They battle into other people’s rooms, destroying walls and demolishing furniture. Harley stabs Deadshot in the chest with a shard of glass, and Floyd responds by knocking Harley through the floor.
Floyd doesn’t want to take the fight any further so he offers to end it, but Harley responds by kicking him through a window and onto a car. Floyd again asks for the fight to be over and Harley agrees, but makes sure she comes out on top by smashing a TV over Deadshot’s head.
Deathstroke is ordinarily the kind of villain that nobody would want to tangle with. Even the likes of Batman have trouble dealing with Slade. The mercenary might only have one eye, but he has supernaturally enhanced abilities and a full arsenal of deadly weapons that he is more than happy to utilize in his missions. So when Deathstroke was briefly put in charge of leading the New Suicide Squad, nobody wanted to get on his bad side. Unfortunately mercenaries work for the highest payer, so Deathstroke wound up being paid to turn on the Squad.
After Slade tortured Deadshot, it fell to Harley Quinn and Black Manta to rescue their partner. This was exactly what Slade wanted, though, and he struck against the trio who had fallen for his bait. Black Manta did the majority of the battling, but when he got into trouble, Harley did manage to provide a temporary distraction with an attack of her own. Deathstroke quickly shrugged Harley off, but it was enough for Deadshot to fire off one of his weapons and incapacitate the mercenary. So even though Harley didn't land the final blow, she did play a pivotal part in the team victory.
While everyone knows about the Injustice fighting games that pit DC's biggest names against each other, the Injustice comics have proven pretty interesting too. Thanks to the widespread usage of super pills that give the consumer strength and resilience comparable to Superman, nearly every character in the story has the potential to do incredible damage.
That's particularly big news for ordinarily powerless characters like Harley Quinn who is suddenly a challenge even for people like Shazam.
One of Harley's coolest moments in the comics comes when she steals a flying motorcycle to pay a visit to Black Canary and Green Arrow. The heroes are initially upset about the interruption, but then become distracted by realizing which villain owns a flying motorcycle. Lobo shows up looking for his stolen vehicle, but Harley surprises everyone by handling him on her own. Thanks to the super pills, Harley rips off Lobo's head, incapacitating him until he regenerates.
Seeing the name Robin among a list of villains might seem like a mistake, but in this particular timeline Robin actually was acting on the side of the villains. This took place during the Injustice comics where Superman had turned into an evil tyrant following the Joker tricking him into killing Lois Lane. Superman killed the Joker and turned to drastic measures to create peace in the world, eliminating anyone who opposed him. Given this, heroes like Robin elected to join Superman's ranks rather than be killed by him.
Ironically Superman's reign also spurred some of the typical villains to become heroes, among them Harley Quinn. When it came time to attack the base of Superman's supporters, Harley was among the familiar faces leading the charge.
Thanks to super-powered pills that make the consumer as durable as Superman, Harley enters the headquarters strapped with bombs and detonates them to take out the majority of the opposition. The super pills keep Harley alive, but the detonation helps incapacitate many of Superman's allies, Robin included.
9 JOKER'S DAUGHTER
Although the New 52 saw Harley Quinn finally shake free of the Joker's grasp, not everyone was suddenly able to resist his allure. One such person was the Joker's Daughter, who was as obsessed with the Joker as Harley ever was. In fact, Joker's Daughter took things a bit further by taking the Joker's recently cut off face and sewing it on top of her own.
So when Harley and Joker's Daughter were placed on the Suicide Squad together, it wasn't a big surprise that the two women had some pretty intense conflict. Eventually their animosity led to a brawl in the street with Harley simultaneously trying to beat it into the head of Joker's Daughter that the Joker is an abusive person, and just plain trying to beat the Joker's Daughter up.
After trading blows, Harley's anger gave her strength and she pummeled Joker's Daughter unconscious in the middle of the street.
8 POISON IVY
It’s not often Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy are on opposite sides of a fight, particularly seeing as how they have been repeatedly been shown to be in a relationship with each other. But on this particular occasion in Batman and Harley Quinn, Ivy’s plan was one that could literally kill every human on the planet. Seeing as how Harley is a human, her interest in not dying outweighed her love for Ivy and she struck up an alliance with Batman and Nightwing.
Come the final showdown, Batman and Nightwing were busy trying to double team the Floronic Man while Harley and Ivy fought it out. Ivy finally snared Harley up in some roots and was about to unleash the virus that could kill billions, when Harley unleashed her “nuclear option.”
Despite Ivy begging her not to, Harley removed her hat, wiped off her make up, and began to cry. Left with no other option, Ivy immediately renounced her plan and surrendered to get Harley to stop.
7 THE FLASH
Under normal circumstances the Flash would obviously never qualify as a villain. However this encounter between him and Harley took place in the Injustice comics which featured many heroes and villains swapping allegiances.
The cause of it all was Superman taking over the Earth and ruling it with an iron fist in the wake of the Joker tricking him into killing Lois Lane. Many were conflicted as to whether to help or oppose Superman, leading to people like the Flash choosing the former.
Luckily, Harley Quinn also swapped allegiances, choosing to help the resistance as revenge for Superman killing the Joker. So Harley went into battle against Superman's regime by bringing a present to their base.
In typical Harley fashion, this present wound up being a bomb that knocked out many of Superman's supporters, the Flash included. And when the Flash woke up, he got some individual psychiatric counseling from Harley - featuring some electro shock therapy.
Catwoman is another woman who, like Harley, started out as a villain but has also straddled making a full time transition into being a hero. Because of how both women tend to defy making a full commitment to any kind of moral alignment, it can make them hard to categorize.
In this particular instance, Catwoman could be called a hero since she was working Batman during the Hush storyline. However, we all know Catwoman has reverted back to being a villain countless times, so Harley can still lay credit to beating one of her fellow criminals here.
While Bruce and Selina were on a date at the opera, Harley disrupted the performance to cause trouble in the name of the Joker. Bruce and Selina switched into their alter egos to stop Harley, but the latter wasn't in the mood for a fight.
To ensure a clean get away, Harley shot Catwoman with a gun and ran off while Batman tended to his ally. It was a quick and easy way to win the fight, but Harley has never been one to turn down using a good trick to gain the advantage.
5 KILLER CROC
If you watched the Suicide Squad movie and figured Killer Croc had to be the most powerful member of the team in a hand to hand fight, that might not actually be true. Sure, Croc is the most vicious in his attacks since he is willing to outright eat people after killing them. But Croc is also not the smartest villain, so he’s definitely someone who has been outsmarted by his opponents. Andsomeone as crafty as Harley is the perfect kind of person to outwit a big brute like Killer Croc.
We see how much of a difference maker Harley’s agility is when she fights Croc in the Injustice comics. If Croc ever caught Harley he’d be able to tear her to shreds, but she’s too quick for him to get the chance. Croc becomes more and more frustrated as he tries to catch her, and that just leads to him making more mistakes and getting his teeth kicked out for it.
Harley isn’t big and brutal, but she doesn’t have to be to handle herself.
4 RED TOOL
It’s been a popular idea for a while now among fans to want to pair Harley Quinn together with Deadpool. They are both crazy anti-heroes who have become a lot of fun to watch, so some people can’t resist thinking they’d be a good couple. That’s something we’ll likely never find out about, though, since they stand on opposite sides of the Marvel and DC divide. But DC did give people the next best thing by introducing the villain Red Tool, a parody of Marvel’s Deadpool who is a parody of DC’s Deathstroke. It all comes full circle.
Harley Quinn #28 saw Harley’s big encounter with Red Tool where he acted in a way she was pretty used to. Red Tool was insistent that they were meant to be together despite them knowing nothing about each other. He even took it as far as to arrange a surprise wedding for them. Harley finally had enough of his obsession and commenced to beating him to a pulp in the chapel in front of all the wedding spectators.
It was a pretty one-sided fight given how used to dealing with obsessive romances Harley had become.
3 THE FLORONIC MAN
The Floronic Man’s lack of notoriety might not make him sound like a particularly fearsome villain, but in Batman and Harley Quinn he actually came pretty close to killing everyone on the planet. While working with Poison Ivy, the two of them were set to unleash a virus that could very well have wiped out all life on the Earth, and Batman and Nightwing weren’t able to stop him.
Swamp Thing briefly considered intervening, but ultimately decided he’d just let Floronic Man decide the right option for himself. Floronic Man was still set on using the virus, though, so it looked like the world was done for.
Though Harley wasn’t physically strong enough to stand up against the Floronic Man, she did show some quick thinking that saved the day. Seeing as how the Floronic Man was composed of vegetation, Harley looked between Batman and Nightwing and proposed a new tactic. “Anybody got a match?” Harley asked. Batman’s face lit up as he struck up a flame.
The Dark Knight and Nightwing kissed Harley and the credits rolled from there.
Thanks to the recent Suicide Squad movie this is probably the villain fans are most likely to know about Harley Quinn defeating. Despite Amanda Waller initially wanting the Enchantress to become a member of the Suicide Squad, it instead turned out that the Squad wound up being needed to be deployed to stop the Enchantress when she went rogue. With bomb collars strapped to their necks to ensure their cooperation, Harley and the remaining Squad members were sent out to stop the Enchantress.
Realistically, the movie's final battle was a group effort involving Killer Croc, Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, Kitana, and Randall Flagg in addition to Harley, but that just means everyone gets credit for taking out the Enchantress. The Enchantress promised the characters anything they could ask for in exchange for their loyalty, but Harley was the one to voice her defiance and lead the final attack against the villain.
Everyone knows that it doesn’t take superpowers to be a villain, and in real life the biggest villain anyone can think of is typically Adolf Hitler. Everyone knows about people like Captain America beating up the Nazis, but that’s expected of patriotic heroes like him.
How many people would expect a villain to want to go after Hitler, though - let alone Harley Quinn? But given the chance to time travel, Harley wound up at the height of Hitler’s reign and was not very agreeable with the chaos the tyrant was causing.
Harley starts off berating Hitler for all the people he’s going to kill, but she quickly winds up getting so frustrated that she strikes him. From there, it is an all out beat down with Harley delivering a blow to Hitler’s throat, attacking his soldiers, and giving him just a little taste of the misery he inflicted on others. This is one moment that really solidifies how much Harley has sworn off her villainous ways.
Has Harley's track record of beating down the villains turned her into a hero in your eyes? Share what you think of Harley's heroic side in the comments!