Since Batman and Robin first appeared, Gotham has had an abundance of dynamic duos to choose from, but none stand out quite like Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, and the Batgirl. The four of them share a chemistry that has won readers over, even though they have faced off as adversaries far more frequently than as comrades. The Batgirl are the ideal Harley and Ivy counterparts on the other side of the superhero/villain split since they are a humorous blonde and her stoic, strong partner.
What role does the dynamic play?
They are fiercely capable of studying a scene and putting two and two together because they are the detective daughter of a puzzle champion and a highly skilled psychologist, respectively. It often works to the detriment of anyone who can’t see past their outwardly successful appearance. Stephanie Brown’s Batgirl and Harley are both bubbly and energetic characters, outgoing & frequently silly – but their respective pasts make them ferociously capable of putting two and two together. On the other hand, Cassandra Cain and Ivy bring utter, overpowering power to the alliance despite being far more restrained in their manner. However, beneath this thorny projection lies a fragile heart, making the few occasions they blossom all the more wonderful.
The similarities between the relationships are highlighted in Starlite and CRC Payne’s Wayne Family Adventures #67, “Branching Out,” in which the Batgirl visit a sick Harley Quinn despite the worries of an overly watchful Ivy. Ivy tries to dismiss Stephanie & Cass after making sure Harley is okay, but they persist, arguing that since Harley to harmed while working with them on a mission, it is their duty as colleagues to stay until she is well again. Despite her reservations, Ivy bonds with the Batgirl while there and teaches them how to properly take care of their ailing houseplants.
The partner dynamic is the same, but The Batgirl, Harley Quinn, and Poison Ivy have different morals.
The similarities between Harley and Ivy and the Batgirl stand out when the four are together, even though the two haven’t interacted with each other very often. While Cassandra and Ivy raise an eyebrow at the mere notion of being separated from their charge, Harley and Stephanie routinely joke around and smile. Interestingly enough, Cassandra’s lack of life experience allows her and Ivy to open up a little more. Ivy can talk about her love of botany, and the three of them can properly bond thanks to Cassandra’s ignorance of appropriate plant care.
It’s a well-known comedy trope to give a clown a serious companion to play off of, but that’s interesting to see how it plays out in the superhero genre, not just in the same city but also on opposing ends of the heroic spectrum. Even if Harley and Ivy lean more toward being antiheroes than outright villains, they stand in stark contrast to Cassandra and Stephanie’s higher selves. No matter which side of the law you favor, Gotham guarantees enough mischief between Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, and their Batgirl counterparts.