Harley Quinn and the Joker are often thought of as a couple, but that hasn't been the case for a while now. Recently Harley grew tired of Joker's abusive and manipulative ways, after which she left her former idol rotting in a Arkham Asylum cell (after beating him up, of course). Since then she hasn't looked back. But Joker has a way of always coming back to haunt you, as Harley discovers in the latest issue of her DC Comics solo series.
Spoilers for Harley Quinn #9 below!
Just because Harley is free of the Joker doesn't mean her life is easy. The issue sees her being nearly beat to death during a round of roller derby fight club (only to be secretly saved by a character in the audience that appears to be Joker) and struggling with her own inner demons. Later she prevents a pizza joint from being robbed and along the way has some pretty trippy Wizard of Oz-inspired dreams.
Needless to say, when Harley returns home to her apartment, she's completely beat and ready for a break. Unfortunately, Harley's day only gets more complicated when she finds her front door open and the Joker inside petting her dog. "Hello kiddo, miss me?" Joker asks in the comic's final page.
It's the first official appearance of Joker since DC's Rebirth initiative. It was revealed in Justice League #50 and DC Rebirth #1 that the current DC universe includes not just one but three versions of the character, with most fans presuming the three versions of the character to be the Joker from Alan Moore and Brian Bolland's The Killing Joke, the New 52 Joker and the classic, Jerry Robinson version of the character.
Which Joker, then, is the one now in Harley's apartment? It doesn't appear to be the visually distinct New 52 version of the character, so The Killing Joke Joker or Robinson version seem to be the two most likely candidates. Sadly, fans will have to wait a while for more information. The next issue of Harley Quinn won't pick up where issue #9 leaves off, as it will instead tell a standalone holiday story called "Inside Santa's Brain". It will be in issue #11 that the story will pick up immediately where #9 leaves off in a tale titled "What Do You Want, Joker?" It's certain to be a confrontation that fans of both the Joker and Harley won't want to miss.