“Ya know what? I’ve just come out of a pretty abusive relationship. I’ve had a little bit of time. I’m starting to come to terms with a life without my puddin’. And you know what I’ve decided? No one gets to lay a hand on me ever again.”
—Harley Quinn, Injustice: Gods Among Us
Injustice: Gods Among Us contains one of the most interesting and dynamic versions of Harley Quinn to date, which just so happens to be my personal favorite version as well. She has quite a major role in comparison to other comic and gaming arcs (though that is not to say that her role in Suicide Squad was any less major too), and we are able to watch her slowly develop in wake of the death of the Joker.
Sorry, spoiler alert: Injustice should be treated the same as Game of Thrones when it comes to characters. Because it is set in an alternate universe to the one us consumers are used to, DC Comics and Netherrealm studios had lots of freedom with what they wanted to do in terms of plot and characterization. And as it so happens, the Joker ends up being killed near the very beginning.
It is fair to say that Harley Quinn’s character and origin have been heavily developed over the years. Although, we must remember that she was specifically made for the Joker, and I don’t mean that in a deep way; she was created by writers to be the Joker’s sidekick and abused girlfriend. Pull the Joker out of the picture however… and what are we left with?
That is the question that is brought about by the creators of Injustice, and this quote summarizes it beautifully.
Without the Joker around to tell her what to do, Harley suddenly has a whole range of freedom that she can use to exercise her own forms of chaos… and thinking.
We also see some evidence leading up to this quote that show she is slowly moving on from the Joker (emphasized when she asks Green Arrow “Have you ever loved someone you knew was wrong for you?”). Though there can be much debate on when her mental state began to heal, it is clear once she says to Lobo: “No one gets to lay a hand on me ever again,” that she has finally found herself.
It is likely that her meeting with Green Arrow had an influence on her and her thought process, but no matter the cause, she is eventually able to find her own strength, and learn once again that she is her own person. Whether that be a villain, chaotic antihero, or a true, crime-fighting hero along Batman’s side, she can decide from now on where she wants to go.
And I can tell you right now that her joining Batman in his insurgence against Superman’s regime was my favorite part of the whole Injustice storyline.