Harleen Francis Quinzel (Harley Quinn)

harleyquinnfilmFirst villain in casualgamer‘s request: Harley Quinn, the Joker‘s psycho girlfriend. Despite being born an original character for Batman: The Animated Series, Harley became so popular that she earned her place in the official DC Universe. She also had a live-action appearance in the short lived Birds of Prey, portrayed by Mia Sara: in here, she apparently rehabilitated herself and opened a psychiatrist office in New Gotham; secretly, she still controlled the city’s criminal underworld, seeking revenge for her beloved one’s incarceration. With the character’s popularity raising after her major role in both the Arkham games, it’s no surprise that she’s been one of the first characters confirmed for the upcoming Injustice: Gods Among Us, but let’s see who she is in the comics.

An extremely intelligent and brilliant student, Harleen Quinzel won a scholarship for gymnastics, using it to attend Gotham State University. In here, she immediately chose Psychiatry, becoming an apprentice of dr. Odin Markus, a famous professional in the city. Harleen started to work on her graduate thesis, the title being There are only two circumstances under which a person disregards the rules of society: when they commit a crime, or when they’re in love. To prove her theory, she decided to use herself and her boyfriend, chemist Guy Kopski, as test subjects, with Dr. Markus overseeing the experiment. She then proceeded with the test, and made Guy believe that she had just shot Dr. Markus in the gymnasium, since he was blackmailing her; she then asked him if he really loved her. Guy, after taking a gun with him, ran away, went to the gymnasium, where he found a drunken homeless man, and, believing the trump was a wounded Markus, shot and killed him. Harleen found him laughing hysterically over the dead body: when he realized she was there, he asked her to help him shoot himself, for the sake of their love. Overwhelmed with guilt, Harleen pleased his plea. Seeing at what happened, Dr. Markus confessed that he had mixed some diluted Joker Venom with Guy’s focusing drink, hoping to counter the stress Harleen would have put him through; the girl convinced herself that her experiment was the proof of the rule of chaos over the world, and she began to get interested in the main and only theorist of chaos in Gotham City: the psycho mass-murderer known as The Joker. When she finally got her degree (having both her and Markus kept the silence over Guy’s “incident”), she immediately asked to work in Arkham Asylum, Gotham’s infamous sanatorium, obtaining an internship.

Once in Arkham, Dr. Quinzel, pretending to be writing a book about serial killers, had easy access to Joker’s cell. She immediately got fascinated by the Clown Prince of Crime, the most dangerous and deranged lunatic ever entered in Arkham. On their first session, noticing that he would have not answered to Harleen Quinzel, she told the killer that he could call her Harley Quinn, after the medieval jester Harlequin, if that would have pleased him. Now interested in the doctor in front of him, The Joker laughed, asked her if she was flirting with him, and then proceeded to strangle her. In that moment, something unexpected even for Joker happened: Harleen looked at him with a look full of love, with no trace of fear or harleyquinncomics2anxiety. Intrigued, the mad man chose to let her live, and from that moment on the two of them started an affair. Harley helped The Joker escape from Arkham many times, before she was caught herself: her medical licence was revoked, and she became an inmate in the asylum she worked in, despite her claiming that every escape was meant to be part of an innovative therapy. After that first incarceration, Harley Quinn escaped many times, always to be reunited with her beloved Puddin, The Joker. She was exposed to many toxins from the Joker’s arsenal, gaining superior strength and stamina, and accompanied her beloved one in a violent and demented criminal career. After a while, she started to be tired of his abusive behavior towards her, and started a solo career; she became a close friend of another psycho, the ecoterrorist Poison Ivy, who became more than a friend in some occasions. She founded a gang on her own, The Quintets, and became a feared crime mastermind. Despite having proved to be an excellent crime lord even without Joker, she ended up coming back to him (despite Ivy’s advice not to), than leaving him, than coming back, and so on.

Harleen Quinzel is a brilliant psychiatrist and an excellent gymnast: she uses her notable I. Q. and her knowledge of psychiatry to manipulate her subordinates and her victims, while dealing with more physical matters with her acrobatic skills. Harley Quinn’s strength and resistance are augmented by both the chemicals she’s been exposed to and her growing psychosis, which focuses on a desperate love for The Joker, maybe the only man on Earth who’s incapable of any kind of human compassion. Harley developed also a total immunity to a variety of toxins, poisons and venom, including Poison Ivy’s touch, thus allowing them to be friends. Harley Quinn is a deranged mad woman, whose insanity and sadism is second only to the man she loves.

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