Joker and Harley Quinn are about to embark on a new journey in their relationship.
[Warning: The following may contain spoilers for upcoming Batman: White Knight issues.]
Writer and artist Sean Gordon Murphy, who has been working on Batman: White Knight, uploaded a photo to Instagram illustrating the Joker and Harley Quinn in an intimate position either before or just after having sex. Murphy captioned the post with a hesitant proclamation that this was the first time the two characters have been painted in this light since their comics relationship began in the 1994 graphic novel The Batman Adventures: Mad Love (based on the Batman: The Animated Series episode “Joker’s Favor”). Harley Quinn made her first appearance in a Batman comic in 1993 with The Batman Adventures #12.
It’s a sentimental and evocative scene that is being viewed in a negative light by some connoisseurs for ignoring the abusive, sadistic relationship the Joker has always had with Harley Quinn. In Batman: White Knight, the roles of Joker and Gotham’s Dark Knight are reversed; the Joker has been cured of his criminal insanity and is trying to stop a criminally insane Batman. Everything is upside down and topsy turvy.
The Joker has always used Harley Quinn for his own needs without care for her own safety or mental health, which has led to criticism about how the relationship has been portrayed in the past. It’s hard to leave those assumptions behind when looking at this sort of image.
But that Harley Quinn isn’t the same character in Batman: White Knight. Neither is the Joker. This is also an alternate reality, so the idea that their relationship might be completely transformed is in line with the rest of the story.
Batman: White Knight #2 will be released on Nov. 1.