It’s finally time to take a look at the origin of Punchline!
Unless you’ve been living under a rock surely you’ve heard of Punchline! The Harley Quinn wannabe. The Joker’s new girlfriend. The character who looks like Loonette from the Big Comfy Couch. Okay, so, most of these actually aren’t true. Punchline hates Harley, isn’t dating Joker (as far as we know), and has never hosted a children’s show. Even so, she’s been everywhere for the last few months. First, there were some major debates with her first appearance. Then people questioned her necessity. Since then she’s made numerous appearances across several different DC Comics, including The Joker 80th Year Anniversary Issue.
But what’s the actual deal with her? Why does she matter so much? Is she actually worth keeping tabs on? Well, most of that is up to each individual person. What I can do, however, is tell you what we know so far so you can decide if you want to know more.
Before you go on, please note that there’s some spoilers for several recent comics. Just a few of these titles include Batman #92-95, Hell’s Arisen #3 and Joker’s 80th Anniversary Issue.
So today we’re…
Punchline is a new character created by James Tynion IV and Jorge Jiménez. The Punchline origin has been on everyone’s minds for a while now. As of this article, Punchline is still relatively new. She first appeared in Batman #89. Or to be more precise her mouth first appeared in Batman #89. See it was just a cameo appearance where she speaks one line at the very end of the issue. Her first full appearance would come a little later in Year Of The Villain: Hell’s Arisen #3. The issue (ha, get it?) with this one was although we saw her entire body, Punchline had no speaking role. She was just… there.
Luckily, she’s been quite busy since then. Punchline began taking a more active role the closer we got to Joker War. Joker war will be taking place across Batman #95-100 and have several tie-in books as well. In the lead up to Joker War, and since it began, this is where she’s really had a chance to shine. We’ve seen Punchline trade blows with Harley, Batgirl and even Batman herself. I should probably note that Punchline has come out of all of these fights relatively untouched.
We’ve established that she’s somewhat obsessed with the Joker, she’s something of a fangirl. She isn’t looking to change him, in fact, she appreciates the chaos he causes. When confronted with Harley she berates Joker’s former partner for wanting to change him. She claims that Harley was always trying to fix him. Despite Harley’s warnings that Joker’s going to hurt Punchline, the new partner dramatically ends this fight by slitting Harley’s throat and leaving her to die in the sewers.
Punchline is also involved in a plot in which the Joker hypnotizes Dick Grayson (currently going by Ric. Don’t ask.) to turn him into one of his own henchmen. This would eventually result in a fight between Batgirl and Punchline, with Nightwing joining in to help Joker’s new friend. This culminates with the dramatic reveal of Dick working with Joker and Punchline.
She also managed to take out a drugged up Batman, which is no minor feat. In Batman #95 she ambushes the Dark Knight in a secret hideout and drugs him for purposes not quite yet known.
One thing’s for sure though: Punchline is dangerous and that’s more apparent than ever in her origin story.
The Joker 80th Anniversary is where we’d finally get a look at Punchline’s origin story. The issue introduces us to Alexis Kayne, a Joker fangirl. During ‘Dress Like Your Hero’ day Alexis decided she would pick the Joker as her inspiration, much to her classmates’ dismay. This results in the Dean speaking with her privately in her room, Alexis seeming unconcerned the whole time.
As the story goes on we get some real insight into her twisted little mind. Alexis idolizes the Joker, and has been experimenting on homeless people for some time. She’s been trying to impress the Joker, show him that she’s serious about joining him. She views the world as some twisted joke.
Some of her lines are actually quite chilling. She goes on and on about how her generation grew up being told “… we can be anything we wanted. But you never realized the downside to all that. Some of us don’t want to be the good guys.”. At this point the Dean is laughing, choking on her homemade Joker gas only for her to finally exclaim “This whole world you built is the joke… I’m the Punchline.”.
Is it a little cheesy? Sure. But if I’m being completely honest it got me, it freaked me out a little bit. Punchline is obviously a psycho, maybe even crazy enough to rival the Joker. She’s one of those villains who just wants to watch the world burn.
Like I said above, Punchline’s still pretty new. Whether or not she actually has any staying power has yet to be seen. So far, I think she’s been a nice addition to the DCU but the rest of Joker War should reveal more and help solidify opinions.
We’ll just have to wait and see, but I’m hoping Punchline sticks around.