Harley Quinn is becoming more of an established Bat-Family member this year, and she has a new codename to match. Meet the “Red Bat.”
Harley Quinn is one of the most unusual success stories in the history of DC Comics. Dr. Harleen Quinzel was created for Batman: The Animated Series, making her a rare example of a comic book character getting their start in another medium.
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She first appeared in BTAS Episode 22, “Joker’s Favor.” Throughout the course of Paul Dini and Bruce Timm’s landmark cartoon, Harley Quinn would become a fan-favorite among viewers and DC fans in general.
In her prototypical origin story, Dr. Harleen Quinzel was assigned to help rehabilitate the Joker, but the Clown Prince of Crime manipulated her, and the two began a dark, twisted romance. This story was first told in the comic book The Batman Adventures: Mad Love by Dini and Timm. Mad Love was later adapted into an episode of The New Batman Adventures under the same name.
HOW HARLEY QUINN BECAME THE RED BAT
Harley Quinn would steal the show from the Dark Knight years later, headlining her own DC TV series. In 2019, Harley Quinn premiered on DC Universe, starring Kaley Cuoco as Harley and Lake Bell as Poison Ivy. After two successful seasons, the series went to HBO Max for Season 3, where Harley’s special romance with Ivy was beautifully explored. Season 4 of Harley Quinn will release on HBO Max in 2023.
Harley Quinn: The Animated Series: Legion Of Bats is a new comic book series continuing the story where Season 3 ended. At the end of the last episode, Poison Ivy had been hired as the new head and CEO of the Legion of Doom, and Harley had decided to embrace crime-fighting by joining the Bat-Family. In Issue #3 of Legion of Bats, Harley Quinn dons a new costume and codename as the “Red Bat.”
Harley admits that she is still working on the name, so “Red Bat” may or may not stick. Additionally, her supersuit may not last long, as it is a homemade creation assembled from a shower curtain and a Catwoman costume. This further integrates Quinn as a member of the Bat-Family, something that has been occurring slowly but surely over the past few years in the DC Universe.
DOES HARLEY QUINN BELONG WITH THE BAT-FAMILY?
The Batman: White Knight continuity (an alternate reality otherwise known as the “Murphyverse”) established that Harleen loved Jack Napier before he became The Joker, adding dimension and nuance to their abusive, tragic, love story. In that universe, Harley and Batman shared a special bond, becoming teammates and eventually lovers. In Batman: White Knight Presents: Harley Quinn, Bruce gifted Harley with a sleek batsuit, complete with a collapsable hammer.
The old DCEU featured Harley Quinn as the face of the brand. Batman, Aquaman, Superman, and Wonder Woman are often considered to be the icons of the DCEU, but Harley led a film trilogy across Suicide Squad, Birds Of Prey, and The Suicide Squad, as portrayed by Oscar-nominated actress Margot Robbie.
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Margot Robbie’s performance as the Clown Princess of Crime has captivated fans since the first Suicide Squad trailer was released. Her version of the character grew from someone dependent on The Joker into her own woman, a badass heroine who always sticks up for others.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR HARLEY QUINN?
Margot Robbie’s full performance in David Ayer’s Suicide Squad has never truly been seen. Warner Bros. Discovery has no intention of releasing the original director’s cut of the film, something that has never been seen by the moviegoing public. With the film existing in a nearly-finalized state, James Gunn and Peter Safran could win over Harley Quinn fans and honor the old DCEU by releasing the Ayer Cut of Suicide Squad, but that seems unlikely for now.
Lady Gaga is rumored to be playing a new live-action version of the character in Joker: Folie a Deux, which loosely translates to “madness for two.” Todd Phillips is directing the sequel to the incredibly successful 2019 film, Joker. The project is apparently a high priority for WBD. Considering the incredible commercial performance and critical reception of the original, more eyes than ever will be on the character when Folie a Deux hits theaters on October 4, 2024.
However, the future still holds so much potential for Harleen Quinzel. Whether it’s the stories of the Red Bat, the Murphyverse, Margot Robbie’s version, or Lady Gaga’s, the sky’s the limit for this antihero.
What do you think of Harley Quinn’s new turn as the Red Bat? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on our social media!
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