- My rational mind can recognize pain when I see it. But my rational mind is in a pretty small box. All tied up with a bow on it.
Synopsis for "Harley Lives"
Finally, Harley Quinn is relieved to be free of the constraints of the Suicide Squad, but less so to find herself recruited into the Secret Society, who seem to be inclined to more meetings and plans than the squad ever had. As a fan of chaos, plans and meetings do not meet her standards, so she returns to Gotham City, where she knows chaos will not be a long wait away. Without a mission, though, there isn't much left for her to do but try to sort out who she really is.
Her family had not supported her journey toward earning her masters and then doctorate in criminal psychology, taunting her efforts to get out of the life that they were mired in. The chaos and insanity of that family life had pushed her toward order; toward study and categorization. At the time, though, she hadn't realized that insanity is just a matter of perspective.
She had her pick of jobs out of school, choosing the most prestigious hospital in Gotham - but it hadn't been enough for her. In the end, she transferred to a more exciting and challenging position at Arkham Asylum. As soon as she began, she felt it was her calling to be there. She felt that she was the best doctor to grace the asylum's halls, and knew she could be the one to get through to its inmates. Unfortunately, she realized she would never really get through to them unless she could surpass the doctor-patient barrier between them. So, she put on a disguise, and became a patient, giving up her addiction to order in the process.
One day, while in her disguise, she had approached the Joker. He had said nothing, but turned and glared at her before planting a kiss on her lips. When her superiors discovered what she had done, they berated her for breaking every rule they had using her dangerous method. This triggered a realization for her that order was restrictive. Before long, she and the Joker had escaped together.
Even still, Harley doesn't know whether the Joker thought she was an inmate posing as a therapist, or a therapist posing as an inmate. In any case, he obviously didn't care, and he helped her flush away the control and regimented way of life she had been living in a chemical bath. From that point on, she could play for fun, play crazy, and play dumb. A series of purely wanton crime later, and she had developed the uniform that she desired, something of a collage or mosaic. While part of her would always still be Harleen Quinzel, she would forever after be made up of many more parts.
Unfortunately, now, Harleen is starting to squeeze out of her box, and is trying to psychoanalyze Harley, who is content to remain lacking in reason. Even so, Harleen isn't without her uses. She helped to plan a particularly ingenious caper: introducing an insidious software into a widespread, mass-produced handheld gaming system - a software that causes the device to explode when updated. From a vantage point high above Gotham, Harleen makes the call that sees the devices update, and watches as the city lights up with deadly explosions. Any regret or guilt she might feel is filed away into a box, along with her former personality.
She is surprised by a visit from Deadshot, who reminds her that the Joker will not be impressed by her actions - he never did care about her. He explains that the Suicide Squad needs them back, and - to an extent - he thinks they need the Squad, too. Its members are all like bullets, and without a target, they are aimless. Smirking, Harley responds, "So... shoot me."
Appearing in "Harley Lives"
- Secret Society of Super-Villains
- The Riddler (Flashback only)
- Nick Quinzel (Flashback only)
- Sharon Quinzel (Flashback only)
- Barry Quinzel (Flashback only)
- Jenny Quinzel (Flashback only)
- Nicky Quinzel (Flashback only)
- Justice League Watchtower (In ruins)
- Gotham City
- This issue is reprinted in Batman: Harley Quinn.