"Mad Love": The Joker and Harley Quinn try to murder Commissioner Gordon during the Commissioner's mandatory physical, but are quickly thwarted by Batman, who accuses the Joker of having grown sloppy and predictable. Nevertheless, the demented duo escape Batman's clutches, and both parties retir
Appearing in "Mad Love"
- Batman (Flashback and main story)
- Renee Montoya
- Summer Gleeson
- Harvey Bullock (Cameo)
- Penguin (As an illusion only)
- Two-Face (As an illusion only)
- Riddler (As an illusion only)
- Gotham City
Synopsis for "Mad Love"
The Joker and Harley Quinn try to murder Commissioner Gordon during the Commissioner's mandatory physical, but are quickly thwarted by Batman, who accuses the Joker of having grown sloppy and predictable. Nevertheless, the demented duo escape Batman's clutches, and both parties retire to lick their wounds, preparing for the next round.
Frustrated by his failure, and unable to concoct a sufficiently funny and gruesome death for Batman, the Joker violently rejects Harley's latest advances and ejects her from his hideout. Despondent and angry, Harley reflects on her life thus far, and concludes that Batman is the source of all her misery.
A series of narrations and flashbacks reveal Harley's origin: once Harleen Quinzel, a psychology student with subpar grades, she had seduced her professor into passing her and secured a job at Arkham Asylum. Harleen had hoped to use the job and the infamy of Arkham's inmates to launch herself into fame and fortune as a pop-psychologist, but quickly became charmed by Arkham's most infamous patient, the Joker. Over a period of months, the Joker further seduced Harleen with stories of his abusive childhood and war with Batman, until Harleen became convinced he was unjustly victimized by society.
The Joker eventually escaped on Harleen's watch, only to return a week later, severely beaten by Batman. The sight of the Joker's injuries pushed Harleen over the edge; that very night, she donned a jester costume and broke the Joker out of Arkham, reinventing herself as Harley Quinn, the Joker's loyal girlfriend.
From her reminiscences, Harley concludes that as long as Batman lives, her dream of settling down with the Joker and raising a family will never come true. She thus concocts a scheme of her own to kill Batman, via "The Death of 1000 Smiles" - a piranha-tank trap the Joker had rejected on the grounds that piranhas lack the jaw muscles to smile. Harley prepares the piranha tank herself, then successfully lures Batman into it, dangling him upside-down so the piranhas' grimaces will seem like smiles to him.
Badly drugged and deprived of his utility belt, Batman realizes he has only one chance of escape: the Joker. He successfully goads Harley into calling the Joker, who, upon arriving, immediately attacks Harley for interfering in his life's dream. After violently "disciplining" Harley, the Joker frees Batman from the piranha tank, promising his old foe a "traditional" end the next time they meet. Moments later, however, he changes his mind and decides to shoot Batman point-blank.
Though still bound, Batman manages to redirect the Joker's gunshot at the piranha tank, shattering it. While dozens of piranhas overwhelm the Joker, Batman secures his utility belt and frees himself, then chases the Joker out of the building and onto an elevated train. The two men proceed to beat each other senseless, until a punch from Batman hurls the Joker off the train and into a nearby smokestack.
While authorities believe the Joker dead, a badly-injured Harley is returned to Arkham Asylum, where she swears that she will never again love the Joker. However, upon seeing a rose and a get-well-soon card from the Joker beside her bed, she instantly relapses into her old obsession.
- This book was first published on December 14, 1993.
- This issue is reprinted in the Batman Adventures: Dangerous Dames and Demons trade paperback.
- This issue won Best Single Issue in the 1994 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards.
- Among Arkham Asylum's inmates are caricatures of Paul Dini, Bruce Timm, and Kevin Altieri.
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