WARNING: The following contains spoilers for the Harley Quinn Season 2, Episode 6, “All the Best Inmates Have Daddy Issues,” now streaming on DC Universe.
Harley Quinn has introduced a strangely unique version of the DC Universe. At times, it feels indebted to a deep history of the original comics universe, but it’s also proven more than willing to change things up with sudden deaths of major DC villains. Now, one infamous moment from Batman’s history has also been confirmed to be canon, in the meanest way possible.
During a failed interrogation between Batman and Joker, Joker mocks the hero over the death of Jason Todd — confirming that the events of “Death in the Family” happened in this version of DC continuity.
“Death in the Family” by Jim Starlin, Jim Aparo, and Mike DeCarlo is one of the most important Batman stories ever produced. The story centers around the death of the second Robin, Jason Todd. After luring the young hero into a trap thanks to his birth-mother, the Joker tied up Jason and proceeded to beat him with a crowbar before leaving him for dead. Despite the best efforts of Batman and Jason himself, Robin wasn’t able to escape the building before it was destroyed in an explosion. The blast killed Jason and his mother, and his body was soon found by a grief-stricken Batman.
Jason’s death has become a foundational part of the character and his allies. The impact of Jason’s death has long hung over the identity of Robin, serving as a reminder of the possible cost that being a superhero in Gotham City can have. It had a serious impact on Batman, darkening the character and his actions for a period of time. Coupled with his attack on Barbara Gordon that left her paralyzed, this event also forever transformed the Joker into the most fearsome and murderous of Batman’s enemies. Even though Jason Todd was eventually resurrected and became the Red Hood, his death is still a vital piece of Batman lore and has inspired elements that have appeared in TV shows, films and video-games — and now including Harley Quinn.
The newest episode of Harley Quinn, “All the Best Inmates Have Daddy Issues,” explores the past of this version of Harley Quinn’s life. The story highlights how Harley was first introduced to Poison Ivy, Joker, Harvey Dent, James Gordon and Batman when she first gets a job at Arkham Asylum. It’s revealed that the Joker has successfully hidden a bomb somewhere in Gotham. Despite Harley’s offer to interview Joker and see what information she can convince him to give up, Batman instead elects a more physical confrontation. He brutally beats Joker while asking for the information. Cackling the whole time, Joker even specifically mentions how he killed Jason Todd in the past, prompting Batman to beat him even harder.
A version of Robin has already appeared in Harley Quinn. However, it’s pretty evident that it’s Bruce Wayne’s son, Damian. With Batgirl just now becoming a hero in the present, it remained possible that no other sidekicks had existed in this version of Batman’s career. However, the confirmation of Jason’s life (and death) proves that Robin has been a more consistent presence in Gotham for years, and confirms why Batman and Joker truly hate each other in this continuity.
This also confirms that this version of Batman has been a hero for a very long period of time, having fought alongside other partners across his career. Joker was revealed to be in his thirties during the first season finale. This confirms in that time, there’s been other Robins — although it remains to be seen if there were other Robins as well, such as Dick Grayson or Tim Drake. But the legacy of Batman and Robin apparently goes further back than anyone suspected.
DC Universe’s Harley Quinn stars Kaley Cuoco, Lake Bell, Diedrich Bader, Alan Tudyk, Rahul Kohli, Christopher Meloni, Tony Hale, Ron Funches, Wanda Sykes, Natalie Morales, Jim Rash, Giancarlo Esposito, Jason Alexander and J.B. Smoove. New episodes air on Fridays.
The newest episode of Harley Quinn confirms that a major death from Batman-history did, in fact, occur in the animated reality.