The Batman Adventures: Mad Love
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|The Batman Adventures: Mad Love|
|Publication date||February 1994|
|Number of issues||1|
|Main character(s)||Harley Quinn
|Batman: Mad Love and Other Stories||ISBN 978-1-4012-2245-1|
The Batman Adventures: Mad Love is a one-shot comic book written by Paul Dini (writer on Batman: The Animated Series and Batman Beyond) and Bruce Timm (executive producer on The New Batman/Superman Adventures and the co-creator of Batman: The Animated Series). Set in the continuity of The Batman Animated Series, it won an Eisner Award for "Best Single Story" in 1994. It was later adapted (with minor alterations for pacing) as an episode of the animated series The New Batman Adventures.
The story revolves around the Joker's sidekick Harley Quinn, who was once psychiatrist Dr. Harleen Quinzel. She falls in love with the Joker after treating him inside Arkham Asylum, where he tells her that he was abused as a child by his alcoholic father. She develops an obsession with him, and turns to crime just to win his love.
Years later, the Joker still remains fixated on killing Batman in spectacular fashion, rebuffing Quinn's advances and kicking her out of their hideout. Quinn decides that the only way to make the Joker love her is to kill Batman, which she attempts to do by feeding him to a school of piranhas. She nearly succeeds, but Batman distracts her by telling her that the Joker has been using her from the start, and that the Joker's stories of an unhappy childhood were lies. When she tearfully insists that the Joker really loves her, Batman convinces her to call the Joker so that he will know she accomplished her goal (as otherwise, the piranhas would leave no evidence).
When the Joker arrives, however, he is infuriated that Harley would try to kill Batman herself; Harley explains her plan to him, but the Joker only gets angrier, roaring, "If you have to explain a joke, there is no joke!" He then strikes Quinn with a plastic swordfish, knocking her out a window; Renee Montoya saves her life. The Joker decides nonetheless to use the opportunity to finally kill Batman, apparently taking Harley's earlier idea of "just shooting him" instead of a complicated plan. This escalates into a wild chase ending atop a moving subway train, where Batman confronts his nemesis, taunting him, "I have to admit she came a lot closer to killing me than you ever did... Puddin'!" Enraged, the Joker attacks him, but Batman sends him lunging into a burning smokestack.
Back in Arkham, a severely injured Quinn renounces the Joker forever, wanting nothing more than to heal and leave Arkham for good. Joan Leland, the head therapist at Arkham shows up to mock Harley for having trusted the Joker. A moment later, however, Harley finds flowers sent by her clownish beau with a "get well soon" card and falls in love with him again.
Mad Love was reprinted as a graphic novella in 1998 (ISBN 1563892448), and in 2009 the story was collected – alongside a number of others by Bruce Timm and Paul Dini – in a hardcover collection titled Batman: Mad Love and Other Stories (ISBN 9781401222451).
IGN Comics said that "Mad Love is everything a comic book should be" and called it "one Batman book everyone should read". The website ranked Mad Love #12 on a list of the 25 greatest Batman graphic novels.
An animated adaptation of the issue, nearly identical in script and design to the original comic, originally aired on the WB Network on January 16, 1999, as a part of The New Batman Adventures. The script was written by Paul Dini, and the episode was directed by Butch Lukic. Perhaps the only contrasts to the comic over the episode were the revamped character designs and the removal of minor scenes for pacing and time concerns.
In 2008, Warner Premiere Digital adapted Mad Love as part of DC Comics' motion comics line, available for download through digital outlets such as iTunes and Xbox Live. Subscribers can download each chapter separately from Xbox Live, but iTunes groups the seven chapters into three downloads (Chapters 1 & 2, Chapters 3, 4, & 5, and Chapters 6 & 7).
Batman: Arkham Asylum, also penned by Dini, lifts much of its dialogue from Harley Quinn's patient interviews from Mad Love. Batman: Arkham Origins, the prequel to Asylum, also uses much of Mad Love's plot in retelling Harley Quinn's first encounter with the Joker.
- 1994 Will Eisner Comic Industry Award Nominees and Winners, Comic Book Awards Almanac
- "BATMAN: MAD LOVE AND OTHER STORIES". Graphic Novels. DC Comics. Retrieved 30 May 2010.
- The Batman Adventures: Mad Love Review, Hilary Goldstein, IGN, May 24, 2005
- The 25 Greatest Batman Graphic Novels, Hilary Goldstein, IGN, June 13, 2005
- Batman: Arham Asylum at the Internet Movie Database