Writer: James Tynion IV and Sam Johns
Art: Mirka Andolfo, Yasmine Putri, Romulo Fajardo Jr., and Gabriela Downie
Publisher: DC COMICS
Release Date: November 10th, 2020
This idea of Punchline as a character naturally rubbed me the wrong way from the start. Was this just another Harley Quinn but simply more up to date for the Zoomers of the world? Truthfully, I didn’t know what to think of the character as it was introduced during THE JOKER WAR. There were moments where Punchline seemed to over the top as if James Tynion was trying too hard, like many writers, to forcefully inject their brand new character into the comic landscape. However, there were also moments that Punchline provided a perfect balance offering intriguing storyline concepts that frankly had this reviewer interested in discovering more. Nevertheless, how did her first Number One do? And, did readers really need this? Let’s dive into PUNCHLINE #1 by James Tynion IV and find out.
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The issue opens with Harper Row’s brother being partially manipulated by a podcast run by Punchline as well as her trial after THE JOKER WAR. I love the character connection here with Harper, however, this section of the issue portrays Punchline’s obsession more like teenage angst and resentment to society like the Goth Metal kids of the late ’90s flocking towards Marylin Manson simply to stand out. Additionally, I was confused by Dr. Thompkins being able to determine if Punchline could stand trial. I thought Leslie Thompkins was a different kind of Doctor? But, I digress.
Either way, readers can tell she’s a sociopath that very well may exhibit a multiple personality disorder. That said, she’s probably just pushing the envelope to buy time and not head to Arkham Asylum as well as to draw more attention to herself. Plus, if she heads to trial, she ultimately gets the limelight it appears she desperately wants. That said, disorders aside, Alexis certainly sees eye to eye with Joker’s lunacy. However, the premise seemed like Tynion was trying to create a Joker-like villain for Batman’s wards to fight with an updated 2020 edge. I mean the Batkids need villains too, right?
Now, even though Tynion’s job within this issue was to show just how far off the reservation Punchline has become, this issue fails to hit the mark with the overdone dialogue, excessive narration, and unneeded conversations that became a grudge. Sure, it’s an origin story and it was great to see characters like Leslie and Harper back in the comic. Nevertheless, Punchline is being pushed hard on the readers right now and it’s becoming a bit taxing. She has some interesting qualities that I would like to explore over time. Yet, I think she needs to be put on the back burner for a good 6 to 8 months before resurfacing again. It was simply a bit too much too fast for this reviewer. Truthfully, I can see the potential but I think her connection to the Joker is ultimately what will hinder her character development. Right now, this is a hard pass for me but it does answer a few nagging questions fans of the character had during her initiation into the Gotham villain landscape. Drop me a line and let me know what you think.
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