WARNING: The following contains spoilers for the Harley Quinn Season 2 premiere, now streaming on DC Universe.
Season 2 of Harley Quinn picks up where the first one left off. After the destruction of Gotham City, the U.S. government has cut off the city from the rest of the country. With no support from police, military, or Batman, the first episode of Season 2 ends with the revelation the city has been divided into territories among remaining villains, a plotline that carries a strong resemblance to the 1999 DC comics crossover No Man’s Land.
No Man’s Land is a Batman story arc from the comics where a devastating earthquake led to the U.S. government abandoning and isolating Gotham City. This left Batman and a few of his allies alone to regain control from the villains who had taken over. Now it looks like the newest season of Harley Quinn will share a lot of similarities with the comic except the person to take Gotham back will be Harley.
Both stories will feature a cast of villains who each have distinctly different styles of rule. In the season premiere, this was established by the city landmarks each member of the Injustice League controls in their territory. In the comic, this meant each territory came with unique challenges based on who ruled it. Furthermore, it looks like Jim Gordon will attempt to assemble his own crew to protect the city as he did in the comic.
Loose adaptations of the storyline can also be seen in The Dark Knight Rises and the final season of Gotham. The major difference is this season of Harley Quinn would be the first adaptation where the biggest threat to villain rule is another villain. Where Batman and Gordon looked to take the city back for the people, Harley’s looking to take it back for herself. Like Bruce Wayne in other versions, Harley has a small team of trusted and capable allies to help her with the door open for more members. The season’s trailer already teased an appearance from Catwoman and season one left Joker’s status on a cliff-hanger.
Like previous versions of the story arc, Harley Quinn shows the city has to survive a period of time without Batman. The latest episode revealed he’s been found among the rubble of Joker’s tower which establishes he’s been away for a while. This lack of authority catalyzes a power vacuum that allows villains to take over. The season premiere incapacitates Harley for two months which further serves the same function for her.
Even though the show makes her relatable, it doesn’t let its audience forget Harley is still an enemy of the people in her world. They have common enemies, but Harley’s goal of ruling Gotham doesn’t fit Batman’s goal of keeping the city safe. The revelation at the end of the episode does appear to set up Bruce Wayne’s return like in previous adaptations. With Jim Gordon set up to have his own storyline for the season, he may be a further ally to Batman when he returns or simply be a nuisance to Harley like he’s been in the show.
The first episode of Season 2 appears to perfectly set up No Man’s Land with a much different protagonist to follow. Where many fans are used to Batman’s tactfulness, self-sufficiency and legendary preparation, Harley’s much more impulsive, unpredictable and reliant on her friends. Putting Harley in a familiar scenario and showing how differently she handles it could further distinguish the show from other Batman-related series.
Harley Quinn has done a great job establishing a Gotham made for Harley as opposed to Batman, and this may further the contrast between the two. No Man’s Land gave Batman the daunting task of rebuilding Gotham on his own, and now it gives Harley the same chance which means fans get to see her vision for Gotham. This season can see Harley build a lasting Gotham in her image by going through the gauntlet of villains and heroes in her way.
The second season of DC Universe's Harley Quinn looks to take some cues from a classic Batman story…with a twist