The DC Universe has long presented a number of possible and potential futures for the superhero world. One of the most recent ones showcased a dark future where the heroes and villains of the DC Universe have grown old and exhausted. This world existed within Old Lady Harley, a miniseries by Frank Tieri and Inaki Miranda that riffed off of Marvel stories like Old Man Logan.
The series followed a defiant and bitter older version of Harley Quinn, who was forced across the DC Universe while being chased by the forces of the Joker. Now, CBR is taking a look back at what happened to Harley to set her on this dark path, what became of the heroes of her world and how Harley barely survived everything thrown her way.
Whatever Happened To Harley Quinn?
In this DC Universe, Harley Quinn tried her best to break free of the Joker's influence as she has in DC's current mainline comics. During a battle with the Penguin, Harley went too far and killed the criminal. Abandoning the friends she'd made during her attempt to reform, Harley left New York in shame. Eventually, she found her way back to the Clown Prince of Crime. The pair quickly returned to their criminal ways, laying a path of chaos behind them. She made Joker promise to not kill anyone on their sprees though, and he seemed to follow this promise.
However, things soon took a turn. Realizing he still murdered their victims with a delayed poison, Harley turned him into the JLA. The team fought the Joker, and Aquaman accidentally killed the villain int the chaos. Shortly after the death of the Joker, Harley discovered that she was pregnant. Giving birth to a son, Harley realized she didn't have it in her to raise the son of the man who had tormented her for so long, and gave the child up for adoption.
As the world fell apart around her, Harley eventually relocated to Coast City. Half of the city fell into the ocean alongside most of California, but Poison Ivy managed to convert the earth (and herself) underneath the remains into a veritable paradise. Hidden away from the world, Harley and Ivy lived there for some time before Harley rejoined the remains of society.
Dark DC Universe
The DC Universe has changed radically in the future, with many heroes forced into bitter fates. Atlantis has become the newest territory of the United States, which is currently being presided over by President Power Girl. Following the death of Nightwing (who was briefly even been married to Harley), Batman and Oracle have both embraced varying levels of cybernetic modifications. This has severely prolonged their lives and increased their efficiency, but has also somewhat removed their humanity.
However, in some cases the villains have managed to carve out successful futures for themselves. Lex Luthor and the Legion of Doom have conquered Mexico and rebranded it as Lexico. Lobo has become the mayor of Las Vegas, which has transformed into a major intergalactic port and vacation spot. A now withered Bane and his twin children control Bludhaven, which has gone full dystopia and become home to a number of the other remaining DC villains. Many of the remaining villains are quietly spending their last few years living in Arkham Asylum, which has transformed into a retirement home.
How Harley Survived
The brunt of the series sees an older Harley Quinn exploring the ruins of the DC Universe. Alongside her is her chaotic robotic partner in crime, Red Tool. Designed after Red Tornado, this nigh-indestructible robot was essentially a DC version of Deadpool to work alongside Harley Quinn. Initially heading back to Coast City after dealing with a group of vandals inspired by her on the east coast, Harley becomes the target of an army of Joker-inspired road warriors called the Laughing Boys. It's revealed that they've been ordered to kill Harley by what appears to be the original Joker, seemingly back from the dead.
She travels across the country, working with former heroes and villains alike to try and learn the fate of the Joker. Eventually, Harley and her allies end up facing off with the apparent Joker. It's revealed that it's actually her long lost son, who'd taken on the visage of his father to try and get revenge on the mother who abandoned him. But in the end, he couldn't kill Harley. Instead, she led him (and a handful of her surviving friends) to Coast City and Poison Ivy. However, there's one last threat Harley is unaware: above the world, the mind of the original Joker survives in a robotic body.