Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Harley Quinn is having a big moment right now. In a large part, Harley Quinn’s current popularity is due to Margot Robbie’s portrayal in 2016’s Suicide Squad. In particular, the popularity really may be due to how good Margot Robbie looked in the costume. Note to Hollywood: Margot Robbie should only ever be wearing booty shorts in, like, every single role.
While Harley Quinn may be popular right now, the character has been around for quite some time. Harley first appeared in Batman: The Animated Series in 1992. Her first comic book appearance followed in The Batman Adventures #12 in 1993. Since then, she’s been a staple part of the DC Universe, often as the Joker’s sidekick/lover. While she is sometimes relegated to simply a female version of the Joker, she is so much more than that. In fact, there have been quite a few times Harley Quinn out-crazied the Joker. Yep, some of the things Harley Quinn has done have been downright disturbing. Despite the sinister things Harley has done, she maintains a large fan base, due to her bubbly personality, her sense of humor, and her nicknames for others. Oh, and the booty shorts help. Booty shorts always help.
Booty shorts and Margot Robbie aside, below are 15 seriously dark acts committed by Harley Quinn. You’ll probably still love her, but you may be a little bit afraid of her too.
15. When She Helped Create Joker Boy
In 2000’s Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, Harley Quinn helps turn Tim Drake (aka Robin) into Joker Boy. And, it’s pretty twisted.
In the film, Harley Quinn and the Joker kidnap Tim Drake, the Robin successor. Harley and the Joker then disfigure Drake so he’ll look more like the Joker. They don’t just stop after the physical torture, though. They mentally torture and manipulate Drake to the point that he finally reveals all of Batman’s secrets. In the final battle, the Joker intended for Drake to kill Batman, which is seriously twisted. I mean, imagine your sidekick killing you? That’s dark, right? However, Drake overcomes the manipulation and kills the Joker instead. After this incident, Drake was said to have fully recovered, but Batman didn’t let him return as Robin. Drake went on to live a normal life and settle down with a family.
14. When She Was Banned From Hell
Very few villains can say that they are so bad they’ve been banned from hell. Harley Quinn is one of these few villains.
Both comic book villains and heroes alike tend to die… a lot. (Don’t worry, they always come back.) When Harley Quinn died, she found herself in hell, because duh. Her experience in hell played out in Harley Quinn #20-22. Like any hellish storyline, Harley had to endure specific types of torture. In this version of hell, Harley has to battle a S.W.A.T. team over and over again. Yes, it’s on loop for all of time. Harley unleashes her usual crazy (but fun) antics on the S.W.A.T. team and the bounty hunter who is to kill anyone who tries to escape. It’s then that the demons are so put off by her love for them – yes, her love for them – that they banish her from hell.
Don’t forget, Harley only loves the baddest of the bad, so obviously her love for these hellish demons isn’t all that surprising. The fact that she was kicked out of hell, though – that’s pretty dark.
13. When She Bites The Joker’s Lip Off
It’s no secret that the Joker and Harley Quinn have one messed up relationship. I mean, if someone were to make a list of the most unhealthy relationships in the history of comics, there would be good reason to put the Joker and Harley Quinn in the #1 spot. That being said, Harley has had quite a few moments in which she seemed to be “done” with the Joker. This is one of those moments.
In Harley Quinn #25, Harley confronts the Joker in his prison cell. The Joker attempts to manipulate her and, once again, assert his dominance in the relationship, but this time Harley is not down with that. They then kiss… and Harley bites a huge chunk of the Joker’s lip off! Because nothing says “we’re breaking up” like a bleeding lip, right? Harley goes on to say that she’s done with him and even puts a gun to the Joker’s head.
12. When She Accidentally Creates Kid Soldiers
This may be one of Harley Quinn’s darkest plots ever. In Suicide Squad #12, the squad goes up against a comic version of ISIS. Yep, ISIS. It’s a league of assassins, who recruit child soldiers and are dead set on taking over large parts of the Middle East. So yeah, ISIS.
When the squad goes up against the ISIS-style villains, things take a turn for the worse and Harley finds herself being held prison. She’s being held prisoner with a bunch of kids who were kidnapped from their families. You see, these kids were captured with the intent of turning them into child soldiers. Harley Quinn befriends all the little kids and it’s super cute for, like, a moment or two.
The darkness of this plot comes when Harley saves the day. She rescues the kids but, in doing so, uses such grotesque violence that it actually completes the kid’s training, thus turning them into full-blown children soldiers. The irony of this plot is what makes it so dark. Harley was actually trying to do the right thing, albeit using violence, but she ended up turning a ton of kids into killers. That is twisted.
11. When She Kidnaps A Family
As many Harley Quinn fans (and anyone who saw Suicide Squad, for that matter) know, she was a psychiatrist before her love affair with the Joker led her into a life of super villainy. While she’s certainly embraced her crazy, she still reverts back to her psychiatrist days every so often.
In Harley Quinn #4, she works as a psychiatrist at a nursing home. It’s then that one of her patients tells Harley how their family has ignored them. Harley Quinn was pissed, as she has some abandonment issues of her own. So, Harley goes ahead and kidnaps the family, only to find out that they were extremely active in her patient’s life. Her patient just happened to suffer from Alzheimer’s.
This plot obviously could have been much worse, as the family wasn’t seriously hurt. However, it is a great example of Harley’s moral compass. Once she feels loyalty to someone, whether it’s the Joker or a rando patient at a nursing home, there is no end to the crazy actions she’ll take for them.
10. Her Relationship With Poison Ivy
There has been fanfiction about the relationship between Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy for forever. And, well, it’s easy to see why.
Since they met in Batman: The Animated Series, the two hot villains have had an extremely close relationship. Having teamed up on many occasions, they grew closer, had cute nicknames for each other, and even slept in the same bed. As speculation about the nature of their relationship grew, 1998’s Batgirl Adventures poked fun at it, with Batgirl asking Harley what the deal was. But, that question wasn’t fully answered in that comic. In following comics, it’s become extreme clear that they are girlfriends but without the restraints of monogamy. They are simply happy if the other is happy with no jealousy whatsoever.
It seems like this may be the healthiest relationship Harley Quinn has ever been in. While this isn’t disturbing per se (actually, it’s pretty hot), it is interesting that Harley Quinn can have such strong relationship with different villains at the same time. Will there be a Poison Ivy cameo in the Harley Quinn solo film? Only time will tell, but we totally hope so.
9. When She Throws The Joker’s Daughter Into Traffic
Moving away from Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy’s steamy relationship, we now have something seriously screwed up – the time Harley Quinn tried to kill the Joker’s daughter.
Duela Dent is possibly even crazier than Harley Quinn, which obviously annoys Harley. She likes to be the zaniest person in the room, if you haven’t noticed. Duela poses as the daughter of villains like the Joker and Harvey Dent, so she isn’t actually the Joker’s daughter, but still.
In Suicide Squad Vol. 1 #3, Harley and Duela have to team up so they put their differences aside… for about a whole two seconds. They start bickering, with Duela even saying that she’s a more perfected version of Harley Quinn. And that was it. Harley then kicks Duela into traffic, attempting to kill her. Duela survived the accident, but let it be known – no one is a more perfectly insane Harley Quinn than Harley Quinn herself.
8. When Harley Has An Advice Column
If there is one person you probably shouldn’t be taking advice from, it’s Harley Quinn. Sure, she was a psychiatrist once upon a time, but she’s change quite a bit since then. The fact that she’s now a slightly insane supervillain didn’t stop her from landing a job as an advice columnist, though.
In Harley Quinn #14, Harley and Poison Ivy move to Metropolis. They have some girly fun by committing crimes, y’know the usual. Then, to keep herself entertained, Harley has Ivy brainwash Perry White into giving her a job as an advice columnist for the paper. Her advice was, well, what you would expect from Harley Quinn. It was extreme, ridiculous and always funny. While no one was technically hurt in this act, Harley did give out very poor advice to people. Also, the way she truly enjoyed this job is a little concerning as well.
7. When She Didn’t Tell Joker About Their Baby
That’s right, guys. Harley Quinn and the Joker have a baby somewhere out there in the world. In Gods Among Us: Year 2, Harley Quinn fights Black Canary. When Harley realizes that Black Canary is pregnant, she immediately halts the fight. The reason Harley stops fighting Black Canary is because she remembers how hard it is to be pregnant. (Say what?!) This shocked both Black Canary and the audience.
Harley went on to reveal that she had the Joker’s baby, a little girl named Lucy. Lucy lives with Harley’s sister and likes toy cars. The most interesting part of this plot is that Joker has no idea about his baby. Harley struggles coming up a reason that she didn’t tell the Joker, finally saying that he is too busy with work, but it also may have been his inability to be a proper father. This is perhaps the most layered and heartbreaking Harley Quinn scene of all time. While it’s extremely dark to keep someone – even if it’s the Joker – from their child, we also understand why Harley hasn’t told the Joker about his daughter.
There is no word on if this plot will be explored in the Harley Quinn solo film, but it was hinted at in Suicide Squad. In the climax, the squad is shown visions of their dreams and wishes. Harley’s dream was for the Joker – without makeup and looking totally normal – to come home from work to her and their two children.
6. When She Decapitates Her “Grandma”
Some versions of Harley Quinn are much crazier than others. The version of Harley Quinn in the animated miniseries Gods and Monsters is definitely one of those “much crazier than others” versions. In fact, it’s a mega dark take on the character.
This Harley Quinn rocks an even more risqué outfit than usual. I’m sure the men around the world probably wouldn’t mind seeing Margot Robbie in this Harley Quinn costume for the solo film. However, they probably wouldn’t be too down with this take on Harley Quinn. This Harley hangs out in an abandoned warehouse, where she has a collection of body parts – like a legit serial killer. She’s collected these dead body parts and started to put together her “family”. In the showdown scene, Harley accidentally decapitates her “grandma” who is not technically her grandma but just a random body. It’s still pretty insane, though.
5. When She Catapulted Red Tool
The whole Red Tool plot was pretty out there. It seemed like Harley Quinn #1 was simply trying to combine what was hot at the moment – that being Deadpool and zombies. In the comic, Harley Quinn teams up with Red Tool (sounds a lot like Deadpool, right?) to take on the zombie outbreak.
While Red Tool may sound a lot like Deadpool, they aren’t the same superhero. Deadpool has healing powers but, unfortunately, Red Tool does not. When he’s bit by a zombie, Harley cuts off his hand… and that’s a situation that needs to be dealt with. Harley doesn’t do things the normal way so to get him to the hospital, she launches him off a catapult. Yep, she simply flings him to the hospital.
4. When She Makes Batman Laugh
Technically, making someone laugh isn’t all that disturbing, but when it’s Batman and Harley Quinn, it is a little bit dark.
In Mad Love, Harley manages to capture Batman. She hangs him upside down, dangling over a pool of piranhas, a typical villainy thing. When Harley Quinn explains that she captured Batman so she can get rid of him and live happily ever after with the Joker, Batman laughs… and laughs and laughs… and laughs some more. For those of you who don’t know, Batman is not big on the laughs so this was a rarity. His laughter is so creepy that it even freaks Harley out.
Of course, Harley should have caught on to why he was laughing. He laughed at the idea of the Joker loving someone and of them living happily ever after. Between Batman laughing about her dysfunctional relationship and the sound of his laughter, this is a dark moment. You can’t help but actually feel a little bit bad for Harley Quinn here.
3. When She Slits The Joker’s Throat At Their Own Wedding
Weddings are a time of love and devotion, right? Well, not when it’s a wedding between Harley Quinn and the Joker. In the video game Injustice: Gods Among Us, it seems like the unhealthy couple may actually have a happy ending after all. After taking down Superman, Harley breaks the Joker out of jail so they can get married. Nothing says romance like breaking your future husband out of jail, right?
At the reception, the Joker smashes Harley’s face into the cake. This is not even close to the worst thing the Joker has ever done to Harley Quinn, but apparently it was the last straw. She takes a knife and slits his throat, right there at their wedding. Maybe Harley Quinn seriously loves sweets and was royally pissed off that the Joker ruined her wedding cake. Or maybe, more likely, it was that after years of torment and manipulation, Harley Quinn finally snapped on her Mister J. Either way, it was a very disturbing wedding scene.
2. When She Makes Deadshot Wear The Joker’s Face
Harley Quinn is in to some perverse foreplay, guys.
In Suicide Squad #7, Harley Quinn was part of the Suicide Squad. While she was starting to fight for the “good” guys and turn a new leaf, she was still desperately in love with her puddin’. Upon learning of the Joker’s disappearance, Harley gets arrested… on purpose. You see, she wanted to get into the Police Department because that’s where the Joker’s face was. Yes, he ditched his own face before he disappeared. Villain stuff, right?
She takes the Joker’s face and also captures Deadshot. Having Deadshot tied to a chair, Harley then places the Joker’s face on top of his face. She precedes to straddle Deadshot and call him Mister J. It’s beyond weird, but also an iconic scene at this point. With this love triangle having been hinted at in 2016’s Suicide Squad, we wonder if Will Smith will have to rock Jared Leto’s Joker face in the near future. Though, this may be a plot too dark to actually make it to be big screen.
1. When She Murdered Kids Via Video Games
In Detective Comics #23.3, Harley Quinn is feeling pretty low, so low that she wants to kill a ton of innocent kids – y’know, because that’s what you do when you’re having a bad day, right? Harley is feeling particularly low because the Joker left her, as did the Suicide Squad. While Harley Quinn is known as quite a few things, she is not known as being a loner. Clearly, this feeling of abandonment did not sit well with her.
Harley Quinn devises a plan in which she gives out free video games to every kid in Gotham. Only, they aren’t just video games. They’re also bombs. The comic dangles Harley’s ability to go through with it above the readers’ heads, letting readers hope that she’ll come to her senses. In the end though, Harley goes through with it, resulting in explosions (and dead kids) all across Gotham. Killing a ton of innocent kids is, like, the darkest thing any villain can do – and Harley Quinn did that.
Harley Quinn may look hot in booty shorts, but she’s also one twisted villain.