Ah, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. They're two of DC's most iconic female villains, straddling the line between antihero and all-out psycho, and looking good while doing it. Ever since they first met in Batman: The Animated Series, the terrible twosome have been close friends. And lately, they've made the slow transition into a relationship that's distinctly less friendly and more romantic.
Both Harley and Ivy are confident, incorrigible women, with a similarly subversive and irreverent sense of humor. This allowed their flirtation to blossom slowly through jokes and little expressions of attraction, which flew over the heads of many readers. But as time went on, as the women constantly called each other pet names, risked their lives for each other, and slept in the same bed, the romantic nature of their relationship became more and more apparent.
Obviously, fans wanted clarification. Was this just a running joke, or were Harley and Ivy actually romantically involved? Last year, the official DC Comics Twitter stepped in to clear up the matter.
And yet, aside from the two living together in the ongoing Harley Quinn comic, and generally showing they care for each other, this Tweet was all we had to make their relationship undeniable. Until the latest issue of DC's Bombshells, that is.
The Bombshells comic is an alternate universe plot where the heroines of DC fight the good fight in World War II. It's bombastically fun, and has been highly critically acclaimed. Harley Quinn leapt into the action in Issue 11, and the alternate universe setting allowed the writers to introduce her in an interesting way, as the semi-reformed Doctor Harleen Quinzel is dragged back to her villainous ways as the Joker returns.
But (thankfully) the relationship between Joker and Harley is neatly sidestepped when she hijacks a bomber bound for Europe and ends up crashing right into Poison Ivy's greenhouse. The two naturally become fast friends (as they are always destined to be), and we don't see them again until Issue 42, when it's clear they've become something more.
The "to be continued" is especially tantalizing, as it implies that we'll get to see Harley and Ivy's relationship develop over subsequent issues. So why is this so awesome? Well, the only other time Harley and Ivy kissed in the comics was when Ivy had lost her memory — Harley kissed her quickly, and although it was a fantastic moment it wasn't exactly romantic.
There's also the fact that so far we've mostly got snapshots of Harley and Ivy's time together; scenes of them just waking up or going to sleep, or flirtations while they're on a mission.
These snippets have become part of the essential tapestry of the two characters' portrayals, but it would be nice to see their romance explored in depth. Hopefully, Bombshells is about to do just that.
Of course, Bombshells is an AU comic, so what's the deal in the current DC canon? Well, Issue 25 of Harley Quinn confirmed that Harley and Ivy are indeed the polyamorous girlfriends the DC Twitter said they were. In this issue, Harley breaks her beau Mason out of prison and beats the hell out of the Joker on the way. But before that awesome scene goes down, we see Harley talking it over with Ivy, which shows how much their relationship has progressed.
There's a ton of reasons why this relationship is important, within the story and without. For the characters, this romance offers a sense of progression in their own lives. The benefit to Harley is most obvious, as being with Ivy means finally getting over the Joker and experiencing a real supportive, loving relationship.
But this relationship also develops Ivy's character in a really nice way. Known to prefer plants to people, Ivy is usually distant and disdainful; but with Harley, she finds herself caring for, and acting to protect another human being. And that's really nice to see.
Outside the story, many fans have chimed with this relationship mostly for two reasons: Harley and Ivy represent hope after an abusive relationship, and they're also a rare symbol of queer representation within the comics.
Of course, there are other LGBT characters in DC, and even another lesbian relationship in Bombshells, but more is always better, especially when it comes to a couple who have danced around the fact for years. Now, finally, we can say for absolute certain that no matter what universe they're in, Harley and Ivy are in love.
Do you have a favorite Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy moment?
[Header by Steftastan on dA]