Knight Terrors: Punchline #1 Review

Writer: Danny Lore
Artist: Lucas Meyers
Colors: Alex Guim
Letters: Steve Wands
Publisher:  DC Comics
Price: $3.99
Release Date: July 18th, 2023

Insomnia has put the entire world to sleep, and Punchline and her Royal Flush Gang take advantage of it to pull a major bank heist in Knight Terrors: Punchline #1.  Punchline doesn’t realize she’s asleep as well though, and when Batgirl (Barbara Gordon) arrives on the scene, things go from bizarre to horrific, as this Batgirl turns out to be a far more nightmarish version than Punchline ever expected, and Punchline will be pushed beyond her limits in the dark landscape of Insomnia’s eternal slumber.

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The Story

I’ve grown to love Punchline since she ditched the Joker.  I appreciate that she’s nothing like Harley Quinn (even though I like Harley also).  Punchline is cold, logical and unlike Harley, she’s focused more on getting rich and powerful rather than sowing chaos.  Having taken control of the Royal Flush Gang, she’s quickly become a major crime figure in Gotham City. In Knight Terrors: Punchline #1, all of Punchline’s calculating and skill doesn’t help her though, as she soon realizes that she’s not immune from Insomnia’s eternal sleep.

When Batgirl arrives and the Royal Flush Gang suddenly disappear, Punchline realizes she’s trapped in the world-wide slumber too, and what follows in the last half of the book is a war of attrition between Punchline and Batgirl, who continues coming back and attacking harder no matter how brutally Punchline takes her down.

As the battle rages across Gotham City, this “Batgirl” transforms and warps into a beast increasingly more terrifying. It’s very rare that Punchline is caught off-guard.  She always plans and calculates every move to the letter, so having her disoriented and street-fighting for her life was a blast to read.  The usually poised and ice cold Punchline, who always goes for the kill (she just blows an opponent away or impales them, it’s much more efficient than letting them keep breathing) has met an opponent she can’t kill. Don’t expect to find any deep character moments here, but that’s fine.  Like “Aliens” or the “Predator” films, this book’s a great combination of horror and action.

The Art

Lucas Meyers’ art on Knight Terrors: Punchline #1 keeps the action moving at a frantic pace.  It really puts you in Punchline’s shoes and you can feel her desperation as she fights across Gotham. Batgirl’s transformation throughout the book into a monstrous Terminator-style monster is wonderfully detailed and horrific, the wires making up her frame seeming almost like a nest of snakes coiled about her. Gotham City looks appropriately dark and nightmarish, at least more nightmarish than it usually looks.  By the way, why does anyone live there?

Final Thoughts

Knight Terrors: Punchline #1 combines action and horror to great effect, tossing Punchline into a battle where she’s totally out of her element, fighting to survive.  It’s one of the better “Knight Terrors” tie-ins and it’s recommended.


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