Subway Shorts – So Many Harleys

Today, I’m looking at two books that have multiple people dressed as Harley Quinn. Cases of mistaken identity abound in the second issues of both Batman: White Knight and Harley & Ivy Meet Betty & Veronica.

Batman: White Knight 2
Written by Sean Murphy 
Art by Sean Murphy and Matt Hollingsworth 

A sane former Joker continues his plans to turn Gotham City against the Batman, blaming both the cIty and the Caped Crusader for his constant need to confront Batman and cause trouble in the city. He’s already won a multi-million dollar lawsuit and now he’s looking to make the Batman look bad. But he doesn’t want to do it alone, so he turns to his partner-in-crime and girlfriend, Harley Quinn.

Harley, however, clearly doesn’t want anything to do with “cured Joker” Jack Napier. She wants her criminal mastermind back, so they can go and rob something together. She’s even nonplussed when Napier gets down on a knee and proposes. But here’s where writer Sean Murphy’s story gets interesting. The girl Joker went back to was Harley Quinn, but it wasn’t Harleen Quinzel, the psychologist that Joker drove to insanity and a life of crime.

Turns out Joker’s obsession with Batman was so consuming that he didn’t notice when his girlfriend sent a replacement when she finally had enough of being second-rate. I love this little retcon of Harley, by the way. It provides a clear distinction to the original Harley in the full red and black body suit and the current Suicide Sqaud version in the short shorts and revealing top. DC Comics should really consider making that cannon… though it would mean more Harleys, and I think they already have enough in their lives. I don’t even read the comics where she stars and I have two Harley-centric books that I’m reviewing…

The original Harley helps her Mr. J with his plans – because she feels that Joker’s obsession with Batman hurt her life, too, taking Joker away from her – and starts to gather other Gotham supercriminals to get them to help out as well.

The other plot thread Murphy examines her is swiped straight from the abominable 1997 movie, Batman & Robin, with Batman woking with Mr. Freeze to try and save Alfred. His trusty manservant is dying from the same disease that was killing Freeze’s wife. The lab rats – who Barbara Gordon finds adorable – don’t survive the testing, though, and Mr. Freeze ends up a little worse for wear, too.

The first two issues of Murphy’s miniseries has been more fun than I expected, and the art has been great, too. We’ll have to see if Murphy can homage any of the other Batman movies going forward.

Harley & Ivy Meet Betty & Veronica 2
Written by Marc Andreyko and Paul Dini
Art by Laura Braga and Arif Prianto

The second issue of this crossover between the Archie and DC Comics characters turns into a farce during a costume party thrown by Veronica Lodge’s father. The billionaire was a target for Poison Ivy last issue, after he decided to turn RIverdale’s swamp into a college campus/strip mall, though in this issue, we discover IVY is a target for some Gotham City thugs who she double-crossed. Harley and Ivy are dressed in their Year One outfits at the party, while Betty and Veronica are dressed as current Harley and Ivy. Obviously, shenanigans are bound to happen.

Since we’re already in Riverdale and surrounded by the rest of the Archie Gang, we get some guest appearances from other Gotham City faithful.

Yeah, that turns out to actually be Selina Kyle, who is a big fan of Josie and the Pussycats, who are playing the party. We also get a cameo from the magician Zatanna, who ends up bonding with Sabrina the Teenage Witch. And when things get a little crazy, with the two pairs of friends starting to confront each other, both of the magicians try and help, causing more confusion when their spells collide.

As Catwoman drives Harley and Ivy back to Gotham, we see that they’ve been body swapped with Betty and Veronica. So, that’s where the hilarity will begin to ensue. It’s been fun so far, and I think it’ll continue next issue. I’ve definitely been pleasantly surprised by this miniseries.