|2009 has so
far been a big year for Harley, after several of relative obscurity! Hope
she enjoyed the vacation, cos she's in demand now!
In the onslaught of reviews
to the online world in the wake of the release of Batman: Arkham Asylum,
the new video game, a dizzying variety of terms have been used to reference
Harley: Joker's main squeeze, his other half, his paramour, henchgirl,
wannabe girlfriend, girlfriend, lover,part-time lover, personal lackey,
Girl Friday, second-in-command, groupie, sidekick, assistant, obsessed
assistant... the list goes on and on!
And all of them are right,
some more so than others... though many used in isolation are just plain
But the most important
thing is what they highlight about Harley's role in this game, and that
is she is back in her rightful place, by Mistah J's side – aiding, abetting
and assisting him in bringing one of his schemes to fruition!
Paul Dini, Harley's Daddy,
is the mastermind behind the script of this game and, true to form, has
injected it with a wealth of detail in terms of character depiction. This
being a video game, the 'plot' must necessarily be focused on what is going
to set up an engaging adventure for the player, and this one delivers –
Batman delivers a too-easily captured Joker back to Arkham, only to find
it's all a big trap and he's at the mercy of Mistah J and Harley, running
the show and unleashing a madhouse of lunactis onto the Dark Knight!
A simple enough premise,
but under Dini's skilled hand at character and dialogue, it comes gloriously
to life. And Harley is ferociously and deliciously in action!
Here, it seems that Dini
has chosen to play up Harley's crueller side for the gamers. She
is cold, vicious, ruthless and deadly – even reacting with an unusual level
of nonchalance and disinterest to her own bestest best friend, Poison Ivy!
She's definitely got a
little extra “edge” but it suits the timbre and tone of the game to a tee!
I'd even argue it's not so much 'extra' as her natural edginess has just
been played up a little bit more for the purposes of this game!
While I'm not a fan of
Harley's “new look” in this game, being a stickler for her classic garb
being perfectly, gorgeously sexier than just about any other look, it has
a certain theatrical funness to it.
But probably the highlight
of this game for any hardcore Harley fan is how unified she is with the
Joker in this, and how beautifully and effectively they work together.
It reflects the way their relationship has evolved to where they really
are now a partnership – loving what they do, supporting each other and
wreaking absolute mayhem!
The game features many
moments of intimate exchange with them, affection and ownership, innuendo
and twisted humour – everything that makes JxH great! As a special little
bonus, you can even find secret recordings of them in session when Harley
was still his psychiatrist!
Possibly in the best news
of all, the incomparable, the one and only Arleen Sorkin returns as Harley's
voice, bringing all her wonderful talent, character and personality and
bringing Harley to life as only Arleen can!
This game is definitely
an exciting new chapter in Harley's story although I must say whilst I
hope that it influences other depictions of her, and her relationship with
Joker, that her sweetness and heart are still preserved – I prefer my Harley
just that little less cold, although of course her moments of utter ruthlessness
are as much a part of her!