Who the fuck is running DC's animation division?!? Zalman King?!?
What was the story meeting like?
"How do we top quasi-incest in our last movie?"
"Ooo! How about quasi-rape?!?"
"Perfect! Search FanFiction.net for a writer we can get cheap!"
Warner Bros has released clips from the upcoming Batman And Harley Quinn video movie, and fuck me sidewise, Bruce Timm, the writer, is at it again. You will recall how, last year, after years of trying to sneak his fanfic pairing of Batgirl and Batman into both The Animated Series and Batman Beyond, he succeeded in getting them to knock boots on a rooftop in last year's The Killing Joke movie. Well, he has a new pairing to show to the world, Nightwing and Harley Quinn. At first, I just laughed. But then I read the details of the scene, and I just felt sick all over again.
Harley decides to rape Nightwing.
But it's no big deal because he actually wanted it.
Get yourself a bucket and keep it at ready.
There's a roughly 3.5 minute clip on YouTube showing the scene. You can also see the clip for when Batman locates them and walks in on them. And just like the relationship between Harley and Poison Ivy in the comics, this comes up with cute little dodges to let people think what is happening didn't happen, even though the dialog and surrounding behaviors practically scream otherwise. (We are going to ignore the fact that Nightwing just wanting to have sex with Harley is completely out of character for him.)
First, the main clip. It seems Batman and Nightwing are working separately, Batman to find Poison Ivy, and Nightiwng to find Harley Quinn. Nightwing and Harley have a brawl, and she apparently gets the drop on him, because the clip opens with Nighwing regaining consciousness and finding himself tied to Harley's bed. Not tied up like a hostage, but spread eagle. After a weak attempt to show what a rough time Harley has had since going straight (more on this later), she decides she's going to have sex with Nightwing. After stripping down to her underwear and giving Nightwing a free show, she turns out the lights, telling him she's going to have her way with him. Nightwing, in the middle of trying to talk her out of it, admits he finds the idea of sleeping with her appealing, and ultimately acquiesses. And scene.
The next clip finds Batman walking in on them. Harley is fully clothed in her traditional outfit. Nightwing is also clothed, free of the restraints, and apparently has spent this time tickling her. Well, that's what Batsy walks in on, not what the previous clip implied. When he asks if Nightwing got what he needed, he says yes, then says, "Oh, you mean Poison Ivy's location. No, I didn't get that."
So, just to make sure I'm clear, showing Harley in an abusive relationship with the Joker and ready to rape Nightwing is okay, but showing her in a consenual, loving relationship with Poison Ivy isn't. Awesome.
(And a special "fuck you" for the suggestion that men are just hormones with feet and, when presented with an opportunity for sex, will not be able to resist. Men are stupid! They're animals! He wants to get raped, because then he's getting lucky! Get that shit out of here.)
It's really weird watching the clip. The movie is done in the style of Batman: The Animated Series, so this could be considered a continuation. What makes the first clip really strange, though, is Harley explaining how tough it is for her after going straight. She's gotten offers to appear in porn, and decries being viewed only for her sex appeal. And yet, that's kind of the whole genesis of the scene. Before pouncing on Nightwing, she goes to her closet in her bra and panties and looks over all her themed costumes for one to put on, and among them are Sucker Punch Harley (fetish), Roller Babe Harley (fetish, especially if you saw Boogie Nights), and Goth Lolita Harley (duh). Seriously? The character may claim to own her sexuality, but it is still being modified and presented for the benefit of the pervs in the audience. There's a disconnect between the whole empowerment thing and the reason it is in there in the first place.
Lest you think this is a one-time thing, the movie does seem to provide more fetish fuel, as Harley and Ivy get into a fight during the movie. Not only does it feature elements of catfights like on the old show Dynasty, but Harley stops Ivy from releasing the virus by removing her make-up and giving her tearful eyes. This affecting Ivy only works if you accept the Harley/Ivy relationship as canon. Otherwise, why would someone as fiercely determined as Ivy, who apparently had no qualms about betraining her compatriots and killing children (we saw in No Man's Land that she not only harbors no ill will towards children, but will actively fight to protect the innocent), have an emotional break at this? Once again, her relationship with Ivy can only be hinted at. But her ready to rape Nightwing and him being cool with it? Oh, that's perfectly fine!
I was hoping that, after the uproar around The Killing Joke last year, DC and Warner Bros. would force Timm to take a cold shower and tell him to knock it off. But apparently, they were happy with the press and sales, because here we are again. Had it just been Nightwing and Harley having a quick fling, I would have been fine iwth it. Well, not fine, I still say it's OOC, but whatever. But setting it up as potential rape, his coerced consent, and the cutesy way they try to dodge their own suggestion makes this, not as bad as Batman/Batgirl, but it's close.
Bruce Timm? Look at what happened to Doctor Who once Stephen Moffat turned it into his own personal fanfic. Do you really think abusive power dynamic sex is empowering and humanizing? Because if you do...you need to stop writing things.