Harley Quinn’s cotton candy hair and sequined booty shorts weren’t the only changes she underwent this summer. Suicide Squad introduced the world to a version of Harley Quinn never before witnessed by long-standing fans of the classic DC villain. And the recently released extended cut of the supervillain extravaganza revealed more of Harley than ever seen before, tattoos and all.
The heart under her eye and “Rotten” on her neck were easy enough to make out. But most of Harley’s tats were a little more difficult to decipher whether because of flashy camera shots or her fishnet tights. The extended cut of Suicide Squad seems determined to fix that.
A few — the ones gracing Harley’s torso specifically — look to be professionally done. But it’s the tats on her thighs that draw the most attention, mainly because they’re obviously stick ‘n’ poke tattoos. The general messiness, dotted pattern, and placement of them — within easy reach — all indicate that Harley did her thigh tattoos herself, possibly while in prison. Like all tattoos, they tell the world a little more about her, but these ones might not necessarily be wrapped up in a positive story.
Harley’s tattoos all indicate ownership. And, of course, they indicate Joker’s ownership over her body. But it’s the stick ‘n’ pokes that outwardly reveal how much ownership Joker has over Harley’s mind. He was, after all, the one to turn her into the Harley Quinn the world knows. Mind games, shock therapy, and jumping into a vat of chemicals are all pretty harmful to both the mind and body.
And stick ‘n’ pokes are sometimes used by people as a method of self-harm. The process involves literally sticking oneself with an ink-covered needle over and over again, and someone such as Harley who maybe wasn’t always in a good mental place would definitely use it as a self-harm method. Physically marking herself with the Joker’s insignia —putting her nickname for him under her skin — are just more indicators of what an unhealthy relationship the two of them held.
Harley’s more professionally done tattoos continue with the theme of ownership, though the “I’m Watching” tat presents a bit of a mystery. Perhaps those are the eyes of Harleen, the person Harley was before she was turned by the Joker. It could indicate that Harley’s more stable subconscious still has some power and is, in effect, watching over her and possibly keeping an eye on the Joker as well.
The extended cut of Suicide Squad is now available.