How Do Suicide Squad & Harley Quinn Fit Together in Continuity?

Comic Book Questions Answered – where I answer whatever questions you folks might have about comic books (feel free to they're e-mail questions to me at brianc@cbr.com).

Reader Sean F. wrote in to ask:

I've got a continuity question, specific to the Rebirth, that is driving me batty (no pun intended).

How is Harley a prisoner in Belle Reve and a member of the Suicide Squad, while she is living freely in Coney Island with her own crew?

The simplest explanation, really, Sean, is that Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti's hilarious Harley Quinn series is effectively based in its own little universe.

There was a notable series that ran for years called Brave and the Bold, starring Batman and different heroes every issue. The series was written by Bob Haney for many years. Haney was not a fan of shared comic book continuity. Therefore, Brave and the Bold was, in effect, it's own universe. People used to call it Earth-Haney, as it was unlike any other Earth in the DC Universe. Characters acted however Haney felt like them acting, whether it fit their continuity or not. That is basically the same thing that Conner and Palmiotti are doing with their Harley Quinn series. It is ostensibly part of the main DC Universe, just like how Haney's Batman was ostensibly part of the main Earth-1 DC Universe, but they are not beholden to any real continuity points, just like Haney wasn't.

THAT SAID, they actually did sort of throw readers a bone in the first issue of Harley Quinn's current series (launched post DC Rebirth) that helps to give fans at least a little bit of an explanation for how Harley's series could be reconciled with her appearances in Suicide Squad...

In the issue (written by Conner and Palmiotti and drawn by Chad Hardin), Harley Quinn opens the issue by explaining her back story to an audience, but really, of course, explaining everything to the new readers that would be brought in by the new #1 (and the whole DC Rebirth deal).

And she mentions that she was with the Suicide Squad, but then she left...

Now, again, please note that this doesn't really work, continuity-wise, as clearly, Harley's stories in her ongoing series are plainly meant to be taking place in the present, just like her adventures in the Suicide Squad. So this is nothing more than Conner and Palmiotti throwing fans who are concerned about continuity a proverbial bone. But, hey, at least it is something!

So there ya go, Sean!

Thanks for the question! If anyone else has a question, drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com!

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