What The New ‘Harley Quinn’ Comic Series Gets Right About Harley and Poison Ivy’s Relationship and Why It’s Needed, According to Writer
The HBO Max Harley Quinn series is raunchy and fun and really pushes the boundaries when it comes to animated violence. It’s also a really good characterization of DC’s Harley Quinn and her team. Plus, it finally brought Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy together in a way that animation hasn’t done with the couple before.
In a new comic book run, fans can follow the couple from the moment right after that episode ended as they go on a road trip away from Gotham. They are being chased by Jim Gordon, after all.
The new ‘Harley Quinn’ comic book series highlights why the couple is needed in DC and beyond
As SyFy Wire reported, the first issue of Harley Quinn: The Eat. Bang! Kill. Tour just came out on Sept. 14 and the second issue is already available to read digitally. It’s canon and takes place in between Season 2 and the upcoming Season 3, which is set to premiere sometime at the end of 2021 or the beginning of 2022. And the closer look at Harley and Ivy is definitely necessary, according to writer Tee Franklin.
“Their relationship is needed,” Franklin said, according to SyFy Wire. “It is important to talk about, and I’m really grateful to be the one to tell this love story. There’s a lot of ‘will-they-won’t-they’ in the comics, and when they do, it’s just not as beautifully shown.”
For decades, since Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy first met in the ’90s show Batman: The Animated Series, the two had a lot of queer subtext as “gal pals.” They were always so close, too close, as friends but never crossed that line into lovers until recently. And even then, this show is the first time they’re explicitly together and share their feelings in TV or movie form. Not only is their relationship important for representation purposes, but HBO Max’s Harley Quinn series and this comic book series are long overdue and very appreciated by Harlivy fans.
Franklin is the first Black woman to write a Harley Quinn comic book. And Max Sarin drew the artwork for the book.
The run also deals with Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy’s past abuse and some darker themes
While fans don’t have to worry about Harlivy splitting up, per comments from the co-writers of the show, things aren’t always smooth sailing for the couple. Especially considering all of the issues they just went through and who they are. In past seasons this included getting inside Harley’s head (literally) and visiting her parents. This time around, she dives way into her former self.
“Harley is getting in touch with Dr. Harleen again,” she said. “She is on this journey of realizing that she can’t just magically fix Ivy. In the process, she learns some stuff about herself.”
On that note of “fixing” Poison Ivy, or realizing you can’t fix a person with intense childhood trauma and a penchant for hating people (or anyone for that matter), Franklin also said that the comic series touches on all of that. And even though Harley’s relationship with the Joker is long over and in a surprisingly decent place, and Ivy is with Harley now, they both have to reckon with their past.
“There’s love after being put down, abused, ridiculed, assaulted, all of that stuff,” she noted. “When you finally decide to break free, you have that time where you need to figure out how you can move on with your life, how you can find a little bit of joy. Because there’s no joy, right? It’s just darkness. And in those moments, you’re like, ‘S**t, I should go back, because this is what I’m used to.’”
The comics will also touch on the cycle that comes after an abusive relationship
Franklin touched on the cycle of wanting to go back to that familiar space or thoughts, because “being on your own” after such a heavy relationship is not great.
“It’s not just physical—it’s mental, emotional, and it’s financial. So, when you finally break free and you’re sitting home alone in your room with your thoughts, those thoughts can get really, really s****y,” Franklin said. “And you feel like you’re not worthy of love because that was beaten into you, you know? Like, ‘Nobody wants you.’ And you start to believe it. So, when you see Harley, even though, again, fictional character, she has been through every f***ing thing, but now she is free of this person, and she finds love and happiness. That is something that—I’m f***ing crying, oh my God. But it’s just really important.”
She said that the two seasons already dealt with a lot of “emotions and trauma” but between Harley’s dad, Joker, Poison Ivy’s dad, and more, fans can expect those topics to come up again in this run. Not to mention Ivy’s leftover guilt and hurt over the Kite Man situation.
“I mean, I’m sure she’s grateful, but she’s also dealing with the hurt of, ‘Damn, I hurt this guy who I really, really loved, and that’s on me, and I need to fix that,’” Franklin said. “So, she’s going to go through a bunch of emotions to try to handle this.”
That sounds like important and relatable and material, and fans of the TV series are definitely going to enjoy the six-issue run when it’s finished.