If you've seen the new trailer for DC's upcoming video game Injustice 2, then you will know that Harley Quinn steals the show. From her viciously humorous attitude to her shiny red outfit, Harley is without a doubt the most eye-catching character on display.
Injustice 2 will be the sequel to 2013 video game Injustice: Gods Among Us, which focused on an alternate universe Batman who summoned the Justice League to help stop a vengeful Superman's new world order. Injustice 2 will be set after the events of this, in which a new evil arises. And by the looks of things, Harley is set to play an integral role.
When it comes to Harley Quinn, one thing people seem to be fascinated by is her outfit. Outside of her traditional jester attire, it's incredibly hard to get her style right. However, Injustice 2 seems to have done quite a clever job, borrowing heavily from a variety of Harley's previous looks. We can see influences of Margot Robbie's acclaimed Suicide Squad appearance, the character's original look from Batman: The Animated Series and her appearance in the Arkham video game franchise.
From the trailer, she appears to have a variety of three different outfits. The first one consisting of her Suicide Squad dip-dyed pig tails and a black and red jacket over a tight corset, while the second has her wearing a more casual black tank top, covered with deadly ammunition. The third appearance is a mix between the character's current highly-sexualized image and an updated revamp of her original jester outfit. It seems like this iteration has borrowed a lot from the Batman Arkham game franchise as the skin-tight corset is a prominent feature, allowing a lot of skin to be on show.
As you can see, Harley Quinn has certainly evolved over the years, changing her appearance yet somehow managing to maintain the soul of her character. Yes, it seems her Injustice 2 appearance has continued the sexualization of the character, as her outfit consists of a tight-fitted corset with quite a lot of skin on display, as opposed to her original outfit which covered her body from head to toe — no skin in sight.
Let's take a look at some of Harley's most important looks over the years since her inception and then we shall see how Injustice 2 compares to them.
Batman: The Animated Series
- Source: Batman: The Animated Series
- Year: 1992
- Creative Team: Bruce Timm and Paul Dini
- Why It's Important: Harley Quinn's inception didn't come in the comics, it came in the legendary Batman: The Animated Series. Her iconic black and red jester costume has become so synonymous with the character that it's almost impossible for us to imagine her successfully pulling off any other look. The outfit completed the package and made Harley Quinn the Joker's perfect clownish companion. In her debut, this outfit helped Harley make an emphatic statement. They say you can't beat the original, and in Harley Quinn's case, that is very true.
Harley Quinn Comic Series
- Source: Batman: Harley Quinn Issue 1
- Year: 1999
- Creative Team: Paul Dini and Yvel Guichet
- Why It's Important: The character's popularity led to her introduction into DC's mainstream comic book canon in 1999. However, the most important thing to take away from her introduction is the costume — it never changed at all. Nothing was updated — this is a testament to the strength of not just the writers of Batman: The Animated Series, but the animators who designed something remarkable. She was now immortalized in the canon, wearing her jester suit once more, and this added to her growing legacy.
Birds Of Prey
- Source: Birds Of Prey
- Year: 2002
- Creative Team: Laeta Kalogridis
- Why It's Important: This marked the character's first ever live-action appearance. The series focused more on the sinister aspect of Harley Quinn, rather than the screw-loose. And her outfit reflected this — it wasn't the traditional jester outfit but it also wasn't revealing like the ones to come. It was relatively normal red and black clothing, making her appear very smart. However the crowning jewel was the black diamond-like design across the red chest of the jumper. It was a uniquely smart look for the character that shouldn't have worked, but it did so very well.
Batman Arkham Game Series
- Source: Batman: Arkham Asylum, Batman: Arkham City, Batman: Arkham Knight
- Year: 2009 - 2015
- Creative Team: Paul Dini, Sefton Hill, Daniel Bailie, Nathan Burlow
- Why It's Important: The Arkham game series was beloved for reuniting cast members of Batman: The Animated Series. And of course, they all featured Harley Quinn in prominent roles — although original voice actress Arleen Sorkin would only perform in the first game, later replaced by Tara Strong. Harleys appearance changes throughout each game but the core of her outfits remain the same. In all three games, she wears a tight fitting red and black corset, along with matching sleeves — as the world got more twisted, her appearance reflected this. This arguably marked the beginning of the sexualization of the character, as the nurse/warden outfit was matched with possibly the tightest corset in the history of video games, leaving very little to the imagination. Did you see how tiny her waist was?
Gotham City Sirens
- Source: DC's Gotham City Sirens comic book series
- Year: 2009
- Creative Team: Paul Dini, Guillem March
- Why It's Important: While the Arkham game series had brought a new version of Harley Quinn into mainstream attention, this comic book series was busy revitalizing the character with her greatest look — the original one. The incredible artwork consisted of a slightly redesigned version of Harley's original Animated Series outfit and managed to maintain the new sexy reputation the character had obtained with a more traditional approach — proving that subtle is sexy too.
The New 52
- Source: DC's New 52
- Year: 2011
- Creative Team: Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti
- Why It's Important: The New 52 relaunch of DC Comics saw Harley's appearance get significantly updated. She no longer wore the full-body jester suit, but borrowed a great deal from it. She wore a skimpy, sleeveless top along with shorts, all with designs reminiscent of her traditional outfit. Her hair was also modeled after the jester outfit with one side dyed red and the other black. Her skin was now white, bleached after the Joker sent her tumbling into a vat of chemicals. This new look not only introduced a new generation to Harley Quinn, but influenced her appearance in the 2016 film Suicide Squad.
Injustice: Gods Among Us
- Source: Injustice: Gods Among Us
- Year: 2013
- Designers: Paulo Garcia, John Edwards, Steve Beran
- Why It's Important: Harley's debut in the Injustice franchise continued the sexualization of the character. The trend reached its peak here as the outfit left very little to the imagination, consisting of a long jester-like gown, wide open the full way down her abdomen and split in multiple places at the bottom in typical jester-like fashion, revealing her very short shorts. Although she was virtually indestructible in this game, it could be argued that the outfit is impractical for a combat game. Which I agree with — it is — but that is the beauty of Harley Quinn, she is completely impractical. And that is why, despite the overly revealing outfit, it is worthy of Harley Quinn and helped the character to evolve even further.
Harley Quinn: Rebirth
- Source: DC's Harley Quinn: Rebirth Comic Series
- Year: 2016
- Creative Team: Chad Hardin, Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti
- Why It's Important: When DC relaunched their continuity with the Rebirth series, once again we got to see Harley revamped. And the redesign was once again a success as it doesn't stray too far from the New 52 design — with the exception of a more subtle Black Canary-esque collar and black and red jacket over attire identical to the New 52 outfit. However, it's also important because they changed her hair back to blonde with the pigtails dip dyed pink and blue, likely taking inspiration from her film appearance in Suicide Squad. Now in their main continuity, DC has a somewhat different but equally as whacky Harley Quinn for a new generation to experience.
- Source: Suicide Squad
- Year: 2016
- Creative Team: David Ayer, Zack Snyder
- Why It's Important: Although we do see it for a second, Suicide Squad chose to steer clear of the character's traditional jester outfit. Instead, Harley is clad in fishnets, high heels, a tattered white T-shirt reading"Daddy's Lil Monster" underneath a bejeweled jacket. Her hair is tied up in two separate pigtails, one dyed blue, the other pink. Despite being drastically different, this costume is perhaps her most important look since her original outfit, because it still screams Harley and is more than worthy of her big screen debut.
So after seeing all those classic looks, it's clear to see where the team behind Injustice 2 got their inspiration from. Whether it's the film version, the comic version or a previous game version, Injustice 2 had a rich history of attires to borrow from. We can see little nods to her original outfit from the jester hat she wears, to Suicide Squad from the dip-dyed pigtails, and to the Arkham game series with the tighter than tight corsets.
While it's better than some and perhaps not as good as others, I believe it's definitely an improvement over her look in the previous Injustice game. Whether you are a fan or not, the new look, without a doubt, respectfully pays tribute to many of Harley's most iconic looks.
Check out the brand new trailer for Injustice 2, featuring Harley:
How do you think Harley's Injustice 2 look compares to the classics? Let us know in the comments!