As one of the newer characters in the DC universe, Harley Quinn‘s powers haven’t always been made obvious to fans. Instead, we know her for her charmingly demented personality—one that sees her going from giddy to ghoulish at a moment’s notice. But that doesn’t mean that the self-proclaimed “Joker’s girl” doesn’t have any hidden abilities up her sleeve.
As far as her origin story goes, Harley Quinn was born as a regular human by the name of Harleen Quinzel. Before she was a supervillain, Harley was a highly trained gymnast, which accounts for her seriously impressive flexibility and dexterity in the field of battle. She also had a genius-level IQ, which led her to use her intelligence to study psychology. Ultimately, Harley landed a job at Arkham Asylum—a.k.a. where she met the Joker and fell under his spell. Once she became the chaotic clown’s accomplice, Harley Quinn’s insanity became her greatest asset. Yet it wasn’t the only one she acquired.
In nearly every iteration of Harley Quinn’s origin story, the supervillain meets Poison Ivy after the Joker drives her insane. According to the comics, Batman’s nemesis helps Harley Quinn by nursing her back to health and injecting her with a superhuman serum. The serum granted her enhanced strength and agility—and in some versions, the ability to heal. While we haven’t necessarily seen this latest superpower play out on screen in 2016’s Suicide Squad or 2020’s Birds of Prey, fans have definitely encountered Harley Quinn’s impressive fighting skills, perhaps courtesy of Poison Ivy’s serum.
Margot Robbie, who reprises her role as Harley Quinn in 2021’s The Suicide Squad, revealed in the past that she’s eager to bring her character’s relationship with Poison Ivy to the screen. “If you read the comics you know that Poison Ivy and Harley have an intimate relationship. In some comics, they convey it as a friendship; in other comics, you can see that they’re actually sexually involved as a couple,” she told Pride Source in 2018. “I’ve been trying to—I would love to have Poison Ivy thrown into the universe, because the Harley and Poison Ivy relationship is one of my favorite aspects of the comics, so I’m looking to explore that on screen.” If it ever happens, fans may even get an on-screen glimpse of how Harley got her powers in the first place.
Until then, we’ll have to settle for any version of Harley Quinn’s powers we can get. In terms of 2021’s The Suicide Squad, these may even include a different kind of superpower called “Harley Vision.” According to Screenrant, certain scenes in the film will feature the world seen through Harley’s eyes—a perspective replete with “animated flowers and tweety birds” that seems to give her a sensory advantage during violent battles, as per the film’s production designer, Beth Mickle. While this is definitely a new interpretation of Harley Quinn’s powers, it’s one that makes plenty of sense.
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