Punchline DC

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Ever since Batman The Animated series, we know Harley Quinn as Joker’s long-time sidekick. Interest in Harley exploded after she appeared in video games and movies. As she began to shift toward being an antihero and less of a villain, another character was created to fill in the cracks. That character is Punchline, DC’s second sidekick for Joker. (They should probably retire Joker altogether, or have someone else take up the mantle.)

Punchline’s alleged first appearance was in The comic Batman, issue 89 from the 2016 series. However, there is actually just one panel of her mouth on the last page of the comic. Otherwise, she’s not present at all. The best comic to learn about this new character is from a special 1-shot issue simply called “Punchline”. DC must really have been banking on this new sidekick, since this special issue has something like 18 different variant covers.

The story is called “Center Stage”, written by James Tynion and Sam Johns. In the story, Alexis Kaye is on a school trip to a news station. When they enter the room where they report the news, it turns out that The Joker is there and had killed basically the entire crew. Alexis was told to read off of some cards in front of a camera that will bring Joker’s message to Gotham. At that moment, Batman comes crashing through a window, landing with his foot on Joker’s neck, while four of his henchmen shooting at Batman simultaneously but somehow they all still miss their target.

Alexis Keye and Joker from DC

Alexis, aka Punchline, tells this story about her school trip while sitting in front of a judge in Gotham City. The judge says that if the district attorney proves her to be an accessory to The Joker, she will be held accountable and may get the death penalty. Alexis posts a tearful apology video to social media, saying that she saw Joker as a symbol of how the system needed to be torn down so something new could be built. Harper Row’s brother Cullen Row finds Punchline’s old podcast where she was tracking The Joker’s actions for years. Harper objects to him listening to the podcasts, and they argue about whether Punchline is a bad person for hanging out with a murderer. Cullen points out that Harper was hanging out with Cassandra Cain, who killed their mother. Harper dismisses this by saying Cain was brainwashed.

Cullen continues listening to the podcasts. Episode 52 is the last one, and we witness Alexis’ transformation into the character Punchline. While Cullen listens, we see panels where Alexis uses poison gas on people. The gas is supposed to be Joker’s formula, but it’s not quite right, since the victims don’t laugh before their death. Joker finds Punchline and lets her know that the formula is wrong. They embrace in a kiss.

Punchline kissing Joker from DC

This is about as far as Punchline’s origin goes. It’s not particularly glamorous, nor clever. However, she does have a cute outfit, and I’m sure that’s enough for DC fans to cosplay as her during conventions. It’s also a breath of fresh air, since it’s getting pretty foggy with Harley Quinn all over the place. At least the character Punchline has more skin covered, and is able to cause mischief in colder climates. Want to get your hands (Affiliate Link) on this comic? The best part of having, like, 18 variant covers is that it guarantees that they won’t all be valuable, meaning that you can own this story for the price of that pretentious latte coffee you are currently holding.