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Harley Quinn aims to re-invent herself and save Gotham in new DC ongoing

Harley Quinn
(Image credit: Riley Rossmo (DC))

Harley Quinn has put her past (i.e. the Joker) firmly behind her as witnessed in 'The Joker War,' but at the same time she ended up shot in the head with his replacement for her, Punchline.

(Image credit: Riley Rossmo (DC))

Don't worry, she survived - and she's back with a plan to start a new life (and turn over a new leaf) on March 23 with a new Harley Quinn ongoing series by writer Stephanie Phillips and artist Riley Rossmo. In this 'Infinite Frontier' era series, Harley Quinn plants her roots in Gotham in an attempt to the wrongs of her past - and she has help with a new partner (but not partner-in-crime), Kevin.

Phillips spoke with Newsarama about what's in store next month with Harley Quinn #1, but also in the unofficial prequel about her and Poison Ivy in the March 16 anthology Batman: Urban Legends #1. So we talk about on-again-off-again romances, the effects of 'The Joker War,' and how this new best bud Kevin fits into everything.

Newsarama: Stephanie, to jump right in, your upcoming story in Batman: Urban Legends will be focusing on Harley + Ivy. 

Page from Batman: Urban Legends #1 (Image credit: Laura Braga (DC))

Will this story explore the state of their romance in the current continuity? Is this something you'd like to carry into the Harley ongoing series?

Stephanie Phillips: This is absolutely something I would like to explore. This romance is very important to Harley Quinn and who she is as a character. 

While we need to spend time with Harley on her adventure in this ongoing series, the short story in Batman: Urban Legends helps address where Ivy is and how Harley still feels about this relationship. That will carry over into issue #1 of the ongoing Harley Quinn series.

Nrama: Are there elements from your Future State: Harley Quinn story we'll see in the ongoing?

Phillips: 'Future State' was a really important place to figure out exactly what kind of tone to set for Harley. It's really important for me to have a very intelligent Harley who can use her classic humor to undermine her opponents.

'Future State' offers a look at a possible future Gotham, but no matter how those events unfold, I wanted to present a very self-actualized Harley.

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Harley Quinn

(Image credit: Riley Rossmo (DC))

Harley Quinn #1 unlettered preview

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Harley Quinn

(Image credit: Riley Rossmo (DC))
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Harley Quinn

(Image credit: Riley Rossmo (DC))

Nrama: You not only have the weight of a prospective future version of Harley, but also the very real and very recent past of hers with 'The Joker War' and her interaction with Joker, Punchline, and Batman.

How has Harley been affected by 'The Joker War'?

Phillips: 'The Joker War' really helps launch the Harley that we have in the ongoing series. 

This is a Harley who was willing to pull the trigger on Joker, and was rather instrumental in helping Batman's mission. While I would say that finally pulling the trigger on Joker lends a lot of catharsis to Harley, her run-in with Punchline has created some literal and metaphorical scars that will also be carried into the ongoing. 

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Harley Quinn

(Image credit: Riley Rossmo (DC))

Harley Quinn concept art

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Harley Quinn

(Image credit: Riley Rossmo (DC))

Not to mention 'The Joker War' has left Gotham in pretty bad shape, meaning that it might just be the right time for Harley to try to reinvent herself and find a way to do something good for the city that she has, on more than one occasion, attacked.

(Image credit: Riley Rossmo (DC))

Nrama: Harley is starting to show up in the Bat-family more and more. Are we going to see this in the ongoing as well or she going on more solo adventures?

Phillips: One of the really cool elements of Harley being back in Gotham is that she does get to interact more with the larger Gotham universe and its characters. 

While I can't say that Harley is a new member of the Bat-family here, she's operating out of the same city and she's on better terms with Batman than she has been in some time. That's been a ton of fun to write and I think her interactions with the Bat-family and Gotham are going to be a really fun aspect of the ongoing.

Nrama: Harley has a new sidekick, Kevin, tell us a little bit about him.

(Image credit: Riley Rossmo (DC))

Phillips: Kevin was a former Joker henchman who, like Harley, is really trying to figure out what it means to find forgiveness and redemption for things in his past he's not proud of. 

I think Kevin also represents a really positive friendship for Harley where both Kevin and Harley are kind of working on themselves and supporting each other in their respective quests to find purpose and forgiveness. 

Kevin is a kind soul just trying to be a better person than he was the day before, and I find that really relatable. I can't wait for readers to meet Kevin in issue 1!

Make sure you've read all the best Harley Quinn comics of all time.

Kat has been working in the comic book industry as a critic for over a decade with her YouTube channel, Comic Uno. She’s been writing for Newsarama since 2017 and also currently writes for DC Comics’ DC Universe - bylines include IGN, Fandom, and TV Guide. She writes her own comics with her titles Like Father, Like Daughter and They Call Her…The Dancer. Calamia has a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and minor in Journalism through Marymount Manhattan and a MFA in Writing and Producing Television from LIU Brooklyn.