Warning: SPOILERS for harley quinn #22harley quinn death and resurrection place her among some of DC’s most iconic heroes. Harley has been growing in popularity for years: a fan-favorite character for her humor, her fraught romantic life, and her murky morality. But with a dip in the Lazarus Pits, magical water that has the power to heal and even resurrect, Harley Quinn has become part of a superhero tradition that includes Superman, the Flash, Jason Todd and many others.
Superheroes have been dying on the page practically since their inception, but the now-iconic trope of the hero’s resurrection was popularized in the 1990s with the Death and Return of Superman history 30 years of the apparent death of Superman in Dan Jurgens and Brett Breeding’s Superman #75, the event is still causing ripples both in the universe and in the way creators choose to tell their stories. Since Superman’s return from the dead, countless DC heroes have joined the living, including heroes whose deaths had massive repercussions on the DCU, such as the Flash’s death in crisis on infinite earths and the death of Robin Jason Todd in batman: a death in the family. Now, DC readers expect only temporary deaths, and part of experiencing a death in a superhero comic is predicting when and how that character will return in the future.
Readers don’t have much time to speculate when they read harley quinn #22 by Stephanie Phillips, Matteo Lolli, David Baldeón, Rain Beredo and AndWorld Design, which sees Harley die and come back to life in the span of a single issue. The story, appropriately titled “Who Killed Harley Quinn?”, frames itself as a murder mystery. In a flashback sequence, Harley is mugged by a mysterious attacker, but dies of a gunshot wound before she or her best friend, Kevin, can see who attacked her. Kevin, with Harley’s body in tow, seeks out the League of Assassins and convinces League member Angel Breaker to (successfully) use the Lazarus Pits to bring Harley Quinn back from the dead.
With her death and immediate resurrection, Harley Quinn officially joined the ranks of iconic DC characters like Superman and Jason Todd. In fact, this splash page where Kevin screams holding Harley’s corpse in his arms echoes two famous images from DC history: Batman cradling Robin’s body after Jason’s explosive death and Superman holding a Dead Supergirl on the cover (by the late legendary George Perez) of crisis on infinite earths #7. Given that Harley has already returned from the dead, using none other than the dangerous and unstable Lazarus Pits, the question remains as to what she will do with her second chance. Will Ella seek revenge on her killer or will she continue on her path to redemption?
Given Harley Quinn’s popularity, it was only a matter of time before DC decided to use her death as story material, but no one could have guessed that she would return so quickly. But with his return to life almost immediately, Harley has become part of a long DC tradition of heroic resurrections. Fans will surely see the fallout from Harley’s immersion in the Lazarus Pits, causing instability in its users, and hopefully the resurrection trope will be used to its fullest and most emotional extent as harley quinn begins to solve his own personal murder mystery.
Next: Harley Quinn Proved That Superman’s Glasses Costume Really Works
Verify harley quinn #22, available now from DC Comics!
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