Harley Quinn Proves She’s Batman’s Most Important Ally
Harley calls Bruce out on his behavior and lack of communication, offering a vastly different perspective than all other allies of the Dark Knight.
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Warning: Spoilers for Dark Knights of Steel #2!
The reformed Harley Quinn is still in the middle of her “villain redemption arc” throughout multiple series in DC Comics and her status as an integral ally to Batman continues to be proven in the pages of Dark Knights of Steel #2. In the Game of Thrones-esque medieval retelling of the DC Universe, Harley is at her most “Harlequin,” acting as a literal jester for the Kingdom of El but also as an advisor and ally to the “bastard prince” Bruce Wayne.
As an ally, Harley Quinn can bring a lot to the table, but her greatest strengths are not her arsenal of weapons or superior fighting skills. What Quinn offers Batman, in Dark Knights of Steel and multiple other comics, is a solely unique perspective on life and an unabashed ability to call Bruce out on his toxic traits, pointing out his limitations and pushing him to see his actions and beliefs through another’s eyes. Batman has many other allies, including all the different Robins and sidekicks in his “Bat Family,” but many of them like Dick Grayson and Tim Drake focus on holding Bruce back from “going over to the dark side,” while the newly introduced Ghost-Maker is only interested in showing Batman his weaknesses.
In Dark Knights of Steel #2—illustrated by Yasmine Putri and Arif Prianto with writing by Tom Taylor—the royal Kingdom of El is dealing with the massive fall out from the Green Arrow brutally murdering King Jor-El. The royal family and their advisors are discussing the probability of going to war with King Pierce’s kingdom, something that most agree is not a great idea. In the dungeon, where Bruce keeps all metahumans locked up to Quinn’s chagrin, Harley Quinn tries to convince Bruce to work with her to stop the Els from going to war with King Pierce and also implores Batman to realize that, “Honesty is never treasonous. It’s the most loyal thing there is.” This moment, however brief, shows that Harley Quinn truly is Batman’s most important ally, as she is pushing him to be honest, look into the intentions behind his actions, and is willing to critique him.
This is a big claim coming from Harley, seeing as in the main Prime Earth universe Harley was all about blind loyalty when she was the long time lover of the Joker, and speaking “honestly” with the Clown Prince of Crime would have 100% been seen as treason against him. Harley’s change of perspective around loyalty, honesty, and open communication is not just happening in Dark Knights of Steel but across all of DC, perhaps as a continued effort to reform Harley and make her a legitimate hero. In Batman: White Knight, Harley Quinn uses her science degrees to create a medicine to cure the Joker, and ends up becoming a major ally to Batman, and even one of his closest friends. It is nice to see DC actually being thoughtful in their reformation of Harley, making her burgeoning personal and professional relationship with Batman make a lot more sense.
Harley Quinn is a lot of things to a lot of people, but to Batman she has became a powerfully important all, adviser, and informant. Quinn’s background in psychology, and history as a criminal, offers Bruce a uniquely intimate perspective on how the world operates, and Harley’s ability to truly just not care what anyone thinks of her allows her to be fully honest with him in a way that many others in the “Bat Family” simply cannot. Make sure to pick up Dark Knights of Steel #2 and continue reading the series to see if Harley Quinn’s influence on Batman leads to a more peaceful outcome for their kingdoms.