Although Harley Quinn started out as a villain sidekick in the comics, her recent fallout with the Clown Prince of Crime intertwined with a series of events that revealed her capacity for good; the Clown Queen has become one of the biggest characters in DC comics.
Harley began her villainous career in the ’90s Batman: The Animated Series and soon gained enough popularity that propelled her into the comic book universe and her later appearance in three separate silver screen releases. She started off as the Joker’s sidekick, after a short tenure as his psychiatrist, and under his “tutelage” quickly became a criminal menace.
Ironically enough, the same prerequisites necessary to assist the Joker on his path of destruction and mayhem also make Harley the perfect sidekick for Batman and a better Robin at times than Robin himself. This article will discuss six times when Harley Quinn was a better Robin.
She Helped Defeat the Batman Who Laughs
Thanks to her intimate knowledge of the inner workings of the criminal mind, with whom she has both academic and “field” experience, Harley was able to aid Wonder Woman and Batman in their fight against The Batman Who Laughs. For those who aren’t that familiar with the DC Comics universe, The One Who Laughs is a cosmic power-wielding, “Jokerized” version of Bruce Wayne from Earth-22.
Not only did she help Wonder Woman and Batman save the rest of the Justice League, including Superman, from the dying star where The Batman Who Laughs kept them as prisoners, but Harley also helped save Jarro the Starro in a Jar (not to be confused with Starro). Jarro later developed a friendship with Harley and began regarding Batman as a father figure.
She Became a Do-Gooder
Let’s take a moment to appreciate Harley’s physical prowess; she’s a former Olympic-level gymnast (which means she’s highly acrobatic), is a formidable hand-to-hand opponent, and her moral compass doesn’t always point north — which means she gets the job done by any means necessary. On top of that, she’s also very skilled with firearms and swords.
After breaking up with the Clown Prince of Crime, the former Crime Queen fought crime on her own before teaming up with Batman. In Harley Quinn Vol. 2 #14, Harley chooses to stand up for the everyday Joe and Jane getting attacked by a gang or assisting one of her patients at her new job as an assistant living home therapist.
It’s worth noting that she’s a trained psychiatrist and a very skilled manipulator, so she uses her knowledge and skill to appear and act perfectly normal. However, despite trying to be a hero, she always ends up getting herself into mischief.
She Saved Batman’s Life
She saved Batman’s life more than once, actually. After splitting with the Joker, Harley had a run-in with his new girlfriend and sidekick, Punchline, who managed to overpower Harley and slit her throat. However, she made a miraculous re-appearance in Batman #98. In this issue our Caped Crusader comes to consciousness and is convalescing from Joker’s Venom in Poison Ivy and Harley’s secret Eden. When Punchline arrives to finish them both off, Harley actually gives her all to protect Batman.
In another instance, she inadvertently saved Batman when she and Gossamer (none other than the Loony Toons character) arrive to confront the Joker for sending killer robots after them. Moments before, he’s about to kill Batman for real. While Harley’s busy dealing with Joker, Gossamer helps free the Dark Knight.
On a separate occasion, she actually stopped the Joker from killing Batman and achieving his life’s ambition. Her reasoning was that killing Batman would devoid Joker of his ambition and purpose, and Joker ultimately saw it the same way. On the other hand, she also tried killing Batman — she would’ve been successful if the Joker hadn’t dissuaded her.
Lowlies of Apokolips were the planet’s citizens whose only purpose in life was to carry out the will of Darkseid. They’re severely oppressed by Darkseid, as they usually have to work very hard and scavenge the surface of the hellishly landscaped Apokolips just to get something to eat.
In Harley Quinn Vol. 3 #47, Harley found herself on Apokolips as a Hammer Harleen, a member of the Female Furies. When Granny Goodness orders Harley to hunt down and take out a Lowlie named Petite Tina, she learns that her target happens to be a former Fury. Harley and Tina team up, free other Lowlies, and defeat Granny Goodness herself.
Harley to the Rescue
In Suicide Squad Vol. 4 #16, the biggest and the baddest herself, Amanda Waller, walks in on Deadshot in a hospital bed while the doctors are patching up Harley’s wrists. As it turns out, Harley saved him, El Diablo, and Iceberg from the Basilisk compound they were held in because the Crime Queen refused to abandon them.
Apparently, Harley was on a mission to rescue the entire Suicide Squad when she confronted Grey Lora all alone and had a run-in with the Joker, who shackled her in a prison cell. She managed to escape the shackles by mutilating her hands and wrists and eventually made her way to freedom. She was eventually retrieved by Waller and Captain Boomerang.
Harley has officially mopped the floor with every single member of the Justice League — including Superman — and every single member of the Bat Family. Not only that, but she also defeated Shazam! and made Black Canary plead for mercy (she actually backed off after realizing that Canary was pregnant).
Admittedly, Superman’s powers were neutralized for the sole purpose of his boxing match with Harley, in which she knocked him out cold. She also ingested a super pill made by Luthor so that she could confront Lobo, which resulted in her ripping his head off. Much more resourceful than any of the Robins.
Despite blaming Batman for Joker’s abusiveness towards her, Harley also recognized the Bat as the one who didn’t consider her lost to insanity and did his best to help her. Having broken up with the Clown Prince of Crime, Harley is now using her intellect and trained skills to outmaneuver and outsmart her former “colleagues” while helping Batman end Joker’s tyrannical rule over Gotham — ultimately proving she’s a better sidekick than Robin.