Beginning as a one-shot crackfic by Adrian Tullberg, Bruce Has a Problem tells the tale of what happens when Harley Quinn deduces Batman's identity and decides to leave the Joker for him. Bruce is in shock, Alfred is amused, the Bat-Clan is confused, and Harley's oblivious.And the less said about what The Joker feels about this, the better.Due to public affirmation of the idea's brilliance, this one-shot subsequently transformed into a Round Robin (as opposed to Harley, who makes for a really Stacked Robin), moderated by Andrew J. Talon, showing the deepening of Bruce and Harley's surprisingly effective relationship and the often unpredictable effect it has on everyone else.Note: The above link is to a thread on spacebattles.com, which is littered with non-story discussion. Here you can find a table of contents that links to all the story-posts.
This story provides examples of:
Abduction Is Love: Averted when Roxy abducts Dr. Resch and Dr. Resch makes it clear that he has no romantic interest in her.
Air-Vent Passageway: The absurdly spacious ones in Arkham are viciously lampshaded; evidently they were originally dog runs put in by a director who thought dogs would have mental healing properties, abandoned when the director died in a dog-petting accident. They were then repurposed as vents by another director, who was looking to cut costs to fund a step pyramid he was building.
Battle Butler: Nearly everyone who works at Wayne Manor, from the maids, to the gardener, to the mechanic are competently trained combatants, but have various reasons for not really being front-line fighters.
Beta Couple: While Bats and Harley are at the center, other couples that have shown up that highlight relationship differences:
Bodyguarding a Badass: During the election arc, Moe and Larry find themselves body guarding Bruce Wayne, who probably doesn't really need it.
Bored With Insanity: The Joker of all people, after the events of Gotham Con. Sort of. He's bored with homicidal insanity. As he puts it, he's becoming just another Zsasz, and there's no fun in that. He's still pretty crazy though.
Joker: "What?! Where'd she go? She'd never been gone this long before! ... Or has she? Which Crisis event are we on?"
Mook One: "Uh... Third?"
Mook Two: "Fourth, definitely fourth."
Mook Three: "I thought there were only two. Did that whole thing with Superboy Prime count?"
Mook One: "Do any of them count? Or do they just overwrite 'em?"
Call to Agriculture: Jean-Paul Valley along with his Azrael personality has become the Wayne Manor's resident gardener as well as its security guard. Messing with the garden has become his Berserk Button.
Came Back Wrong: Jason has been revealed to be this. According to Bruce, the brain-damage he sustained before his death, combined with his resurrection by the Lazarus Pit has left him with a unique chemical imbalance in his brain that's made worse by the trauma he suffered. Pumping him full of meds has made him much more stable and mellow, and allowed him to rejoin the Bat Family.
Captain Obvious: During the DEMON arc, the Sensei keels over apparently dead during his bout with Stephanie. Gideon immediately screams that there's an assassin in their midst. In the headquarters of the League of Assassins. Stephanie can see the entire audience (who are all assassins) rolling their eyes.
Casual Kink: Harley seems to be very open about what she and the Bat get up to in bed. Or on the couch. Or in the Batcave. Or in the Batmobile. Much to the trauma of his kids.
In her latest 'catfight' with Selina, Harley takes this up to 11. Proudly proclaiming she'd do anything to keep 'Mr. B' happy. Including letting him sleep with other girls... or sleep with them herself.
Chronic Villainy: Excluding the Joker, more and more Rogues are starting to defy this trope turning a new leaf and sticking to their redemption with the occasional relapse.
Combat by Champion: In the DEMON arc, Stephanie participates in this for Talia when her leadership of the League of Shadows is challenged.
Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Subverted, many a Rogue goes legit when they realize they have better options. Mr.Freeze works for Wayne Industries patenting cryogenic technology and now head of research for his wife's illness. Two-Face uses both aspects of his personality to run a very successful campaign for Mayor. Sid the Squid opened a bank of the mob and a union for henchmen. Lampshaded by the Penguin, who holds a private celebration with Sid the Squid and the Riddler for being smarter than most of the Rogues and getting out to put their skills for legit businesses.
Dangerously Genre Savvy: Bruce and company, naturally. However, Jason subverts this in a particular circumstance where tranquilizers he tries to use on Harley get turned back on him, and Bruce is disappointed more than anything that he hasn't concocted an immunity to that particular tranq formula.
Disability Immunity; Doctor Resch's exposure to anti-fear toxin, possibly coupled with post-traumatic stress, has resulted in his seeming immunity to fear and panic. He seemed completely unaffected by AMP and the Hatcasters; and it's suspected that the damage also made him immune to Ivy's pheromones.
Distracted by the Sexy: Damian by Stephanie's "Hypno-Boobs", Tim by Cass's various actions, even Bruce is a victim of this by Harley though he hides it better.
The Riddler's assistants, Query and Echo, try this on Eddie but being Genre Savvy he's wise to their efforts. It's quite effective on Sid the Squid though.
The Don: People seem to have gotten the wrong idea about Bruce Wayne during the Election Arc.
Embarrassing Nickname: Dan "Fancypants" Proxmire is really unhappy about his nickname. Doctor Doyle "Doc Ironballs" Resch probably isn't much happier about his.
Epic Fail: Black Mask hires an assassin to take out Bruce while he's attending the Gotham City Mayoral Debates. The consequences are... special, to say the least.
Even Evil Has Standards: The Rogues reflect on Alfred, Penguin's partner in the Iceberg Lounge, and how well he treated them during their heyday as villains. Then Penguin reveals Alfred was stabbed by Hugo Strange in his insane assault on Wayne Manor. Remembering their "treatments" at the hands of Strange, only one thing comes to mind:
One of the major reasons mobsters and government organizations like Checkmate and the D.E.O. believe Bruce Wayne is a ruthless ambitious mastermind who wants to make Gotham his own personal country is because they believe he thinks like them.
Fan Convention: The setting, or at least the starting point for the Joker Riot Arc.
Flat "What.": The latest snippet has Bruce reacting this way to rumors that he is, in fact, a secret crime boss. The Bat is his enforcer and way to deal with the crazies, Gordon for the cops, and Malone for the mobs, with the Batkids as his lieutenants potential heirs.
Fun with Acronyms: Two-Face's political party for the Mayor office: the Arkham Party, an Organization to Reform Gotham and Advance Social Morality.
I Need a Freaking Drink: Bruce's initial reaction to Harley professing her love for him is to drain a bottle of twelve-year-old bourbon. Tim joins him after Harley starts making plans for bedroom shenanigans with Bruce.
Mistaken for Gay: Jim Gordon, despite being an excellent detective otherwise, draws the completely wrong conclusion about his daughter and those friends who keep sleeping over at her place. Babs straightens him out right away.
Mooks: Moe, Larry and Curly as well as Query and Echo count. They also have Union representation.
Mundane Solution: Mr. Freeze has a new suit, which uses force fields to let him move about like a real person without bulk or a bubble of glass. Its power requirements are too much for conventional batteries. Months, large sums of money, and innumerable brilliant minds are spent trying to find a suitable exotic power storage system, until a janitor helpfully suggests an extension cord.
Ninja Maid: Ever wonder why it seems like Alfred's managing Wayne Manor all by himself? He isn't. It's just that almost no one actually sees the (literal) ninja maids.
Post Cyber Punk: According to the author's notes, this is the DC universe as far as the Problemverse is concerned. Much of the technology seen in the animated series and the Arkham Asylum games is commercially available, if expensive.
Practical Joke: The members of the Batfamily seem to like to pull these on each other.
Psycho Ex-Girlfriend: Inverted as Harley was the one who dumped The Joker, who's subsequent brainwashing of the people at the convention, "Harley" auditions, and giant robot battle with Batman all stemmed from him trying to "win" her back. Thing is, Joker doesn't truly realize he's this until Batman and Harley verbally and literallyhammer it home for him.
Reed Richards Is Useless: Averted as the advances in technology made by various DC heroes and villains are slowing trickling down to the mass market or they themselves are making big changes. For example, Poison Ivy uses her powers to form a small utopian village for the homeless adults and orphans inside a park.
Right Man in the Wrong Place: Bruce visiting Giovanni's for lunch at the exact same time a bunch of mobsters were having a secret meeting at the place lends more credence to the otherwise ridiculous rumors of Bruce being a secret crime boss who rules Gotham from the shadows.
Robotic Reveal: Subverted. Joker's Captain Clown robot at the convention is seen as a legally purchased ex-military android with all the illegal stuff torn out. It hasn't been.
Round Robin: Mostly a traditional one though there are chronological issues given how loosely it's moderated.
Oracle apparently has trained Steph in marksmanship using Dino Crisis light guns.
One of the Arkham guards refers to Dr. Young as Lassie.
Sid the Squid serves as the head of the Blackgate Allied Trades Credit Union, essentially an insurance and banking service for Gotham's henchmen and hoods.
Maxie Zeus, Sid's secretary, refers to his boss as THE MIGHTY KRAKEN, despite the Kraken being a part of NORSE mythology. Since Maxie Zeus is crazy and the film got it wrong too, it's forgivable.
"Zelinski's" is mentioned in the context of a costume shopping trip, which refers to a superhero/villain tailor Leo Zelinski from JMS's run on Spider-Man.
Taking the place of the Batman comics and cartoons in the real world, The Big O is a popular, long-running franchise, with its own myriad adaptions and remakes over the years. The actual anime series takes the spot of B:TAS, but there are also references to an Adam West TV show (which introduced Dorothy, played by Yvonne Craig) and a modern, more realistic film series.
Hugo Strange gets in on the act when he thinks that the Power of God can only be invoked through The Big O and the Batcave. He even dresses as Schwartzvald.
When the Joker breaks out of Arkham for a second time, he purposely takes the car from Rain Man to reference it as he takes it on a short-lived journey of self-discovery.
Shipper on Deck: Azrael ships Jean-Paul Valley and Charlotte "Charlie" Gage-Radcliffe aka Misfit. He's pretty insistent on it too.
Shown Their Work: When Batgirl (Stephanie Brown) attempts to catch Roxy Rocket's... Rocket, with a grappling hook, even with several anchors in the roof she's yanked up and taken for a ride. They even Lampshade it by referencing the MythBusters and The Incredible Hulk.
Signed Up for the Dental: Larry wants to keep his Union benefits because they apparently include discounts at local strip clubs.
Swiss Messenger: Tabloid reporter Susan Morrow overhears and misinterprets a perfectly innocuous conversation at a party and singlehandedly starts the rumors that Bruce is a crime boss. This causes Bruce many headaches in the future.
Tempting Fate: Dan Proxmire's introduction in a henchman's dive bar has him saying that Gotham will be a piece of cake next to Metropolis because the heroes here are "just a bunch of regular folks in capes." Cue Roxy Rocket with Doctor Resch as her hostage smashing through the bar, with Batgirl (Stephanie Brown) hanging onto it by a grappling hook while screaming.
The Metropolis loudmouth, who was covered in plaster dust and bits of what used to be a chair, finally stopped gaping long enough to ask, "What the hell was that?!"
Moe looked the guy in the eye and said in a level tone. "Just regular folks in capes."
Followed up by an even better one, also given to the Joker, by Batman.
Steph tears into Cheshire during their Combat by Champion physically and verbally. While beating the crap out of Cheshire, Steph calls her out on being a terrible mother to Lian, a hypocrite for calling Steph a whore, and an half-rate assassin who killed most of her victims via poison and nukes (as Steph puts it, anyone capable of pouring drinks or pushing buttons could do what Cheshire did).
Springtime for Hitler: An interesting variation during the Election Arc. Two Face runs for the mayoral election, even with a criminal background and a frankly insane platform calling for Gotham to secede from the United States. Though he's running with genuine enthusiasm, he's mostly doing it to make sure Sharpe and Garcetti lose votes. However, Two-Face's platform inadvertently strikes a chord amongst Gothamites, given the events of No Man's Land, and talks of secession actually becomes serious, thus propelling Two Face into becoming a major player in the elections.
Tsundere: Damian acts this way towards Steph. Actually toward everyone.
Unwanted Harem: The amount of romantic interests that Bruce managed to both attract and (attempts to at least)drive away is staggering.
Villain Has a Point: While Two-Face does believe he would be a good mayor, he's running to make sure Garcetti or Sharpe don't get the vote. They are both equally terrible and would make Gotham worse. Also, his platform on Gotham secession makes rather valid points and is taken serious enough for it to become its own proposition.
Babs aka "Oracle" is in far more scenes as a voice on the Bat-comms than actually being physically onsite.
Wendy aka "Proxy" takes over Oracle's job when she wants a break. She also tends to flirt rather heavily with the Batfamily.
Ironically, even Moe filled in on this role during the Dive Bar Siege, although he was the voice, Fancy had the actual internet connection.
Weird Trade Union: Blackgate Allied Trades Credit Union. For henchmen, particularly those working for the Gotham Rogues.
What Did I Do Last Night?: The Bat Demons along with Maxie Zeus managed to hijack a ship and prevent a coup d'etat in a South American country over the course of a drunken weekend following the Gotham elections. None of them remembers exactly how they managed it, but the people of Corto Maltese are grateful all the same.
Wife Husbandry: Inverted. When Ra's and Talia find out about Damian's crush on Stephanie, they insist she undergo "Bridal Training".