There’s nothing worse than running into an old ex. Especially when that ex is Batman’s homicidal archenemy.

In the vague timeline of DC’s rebooted New 52 continuity, Harleen Quinzel and the Clown Prince of Crime broke up a long time ago. But the new issue of the Harley Quinn series clearly illustrates that the Joker’s one-time moll didn’t get closure at the end of their relationship.

In this week’s Harley Quinn #25—written by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, with art by Chard Hardin, Alex Sinclair and Tom Napolitano—the title character needs to sneak into Arkham Asylum to break out her current boyfriend. She gets a little help from her forever girlfriend Poison Ivy, with whom she reflects on what it means to be in a relationship.

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Once she’s inside the supervillain rehabilitation facility, Harley gets within whispering distance of her old beau. The Joker, of course, tries to get inside her head.

Harley goes into the Joker’s cell to talk things out.

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The pale exes get into a brutal close quarters fight, which looks like it might end with Harley falling under the killer clown’s sway again....

...but she’s way past that.

Even when you know a relationship is bad for you, it can be hard to resist the pull of the other person, and this issue hones in on that dynamic really well. The newest iteration of Harley Quinn has played the character as the star of a raunchy action comedy, which makes the raw psychodrama of this issue a big break from the norm. It’ll be interesting to see how the film version of this relationship plays out in the Suicide Squad movie next month.


Contact the author at evan@kotaku.com.