Gotham’s most wholesome pairs share the same dynamic on both sides of the law.
Warning: Spoilers for Wayne Family Adventures #67 ahead!Gotham has been spoiled for choice when it comes to dynamic duos ever since Batman and Robin burst onto the scene, but none shine quite the way that Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, and the Batgirls do. Although they’ve squared off as enemies far more often than they’ve been allies, the four of them share a dynamic that has made them beloved by readers. As duos comprising a comedic blonde and her stoic stalwart, the Batgirls are the perfect mirrors of Harley and Ivy across the superhero/villain divide.
What makes the dynamic work? Both Stephanie Brown’s Batgirl and Harley are bubbly and vivacious characters, outgoing and frequently silly – but their respective pasts as a puzzle champion’s detective daughter and a highly accomplished psychologist make them ferociously capable at analyzing a scene and putting two and two together, frequently to the detriment of anyone who can’t see past their bright exterior. Cassandra Cain and Ivy, on the other hand, are far more reserved in their demeanor, and bring sheer, overwhelming power to the partnership. This thorny projection hides a vulnerable heart, however, making the rare moments where they blossom even more heartwarming.
The similarities between the partnerships are emphasized in Starbite and CRC Payne’s Wayne Family Adventures #67, “Branching Out,” where the Batgirls visit an injured Harley Quinn despite the objections of an overprotective Ivy. Although Ivy tries to dismiss Stephanie and Cass after ensuring that Harley is okay, the two refuse to leave, saying that since Harley was hurt on a mission for them, it is their responsibility as teammates to stay until she is back on her feet. Ivy finds herself bonding with the Batgirls during their stay despite her misgivings, teaching them how to properly care for their beleaguered houseplants.
The Batgirls And Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy Have Different Morals, But The Same Partner Dynamic
Although the Batgirls have infrequently interacted with Harley and Ivy as a duo, the similarities shine when the four are all in the same room. Harley and Stephanie frequently crack jokes and smile, while Cassandra and Ivy raise their hackles at the mere suggestion of being kept away from their charge. Interestingly, Cassandra’s worldly inexperience gives both her and Ivy an opportunity to open up a little more, as her blank incomprehension about proper plant care allows Ivy in turn to open up about her passion for botany and allow the three of them to properly bond a little.
Giving a clown a serious partner to play off of is a well-established comedic trope, but it’s fascinating to see how it plays out not only in the superhero genre, not only in the same city, but on opposite sides of the heroic spectrum as well. Harley and Ivy may be leaning more towards the antihero than the straight-up villainous these days, but they’re still strong opposites to Cassandra and Stephanie’s better angels. Between Harley Quinn, Posion Ivy, and their counterparts in the Batgirls, Gotham promises plenty of hijinks regardless of which side of the law you prefer.
Wayne Family Adventures #67 is now available on WEBTOON.