For months now, one question has been on the minds of Batman fans -- who exactly is Punchline? The new female villain has captured readers' attention long before she officially debuted on the page, with fans curious to see exactly how she will factor into the upcoming "Joker War". While a lot of that is still left unanswered, a recent comic shed light on one very specific part of Punchline -- her origin story. Spoilers for The Joker 80th Anniversary 100-Page Super Spectacular, which is released this week, below! Only look if you want to know!
One of the stories in the collection, James Tynion IV and Mike Janin's "What Comes at the End of a Joke", opens on a Dean of Students at the Snyder College outside of Gotham. The dean begins having a conversation with a girl named Alexis, who caused a controversy at the college by wearing Joker merchandise to a "Dress Like Your Hero Day". Alexis, a generic hipster girl with dark hair, began to lecture the dean, arguing that he cares about his reputation more than her. She then blew a puff of some sort of cigarette smoke into his face, which was quickly revealed to be a homemade laughing gas that she made, with the help of a certain teacher.
As "Dean Bob" sat in the dorm room laughing hysterically, Alexis began to dress up in a purple ensemble and put on a full face of makeup, while telling him how upset she was with the current state of society. As she put it, she and her generation had been told they could achieve anything, only to inherit a world that was falling apart -- and she would be willing to do whatever it takes to help achieve it. She then fully unveiled her supervillain persona -- Punchline.
Dean Bob now dead on her dorm room floor, Punchline began to address The Joker, who had been hiding in her closet the entire time. She explained that she hoped this was proof to the Joker that she "wasn't just another creepy fangirl".
This origin for Punchline is certainly surprising, in part because it feels like it only scratches the surface of who she seems to be as a character. At the same time, it gives her so much more of a unique motivation than simply being a newer love interest for The Joker. Her attitude towards the world - and her open comparison to The Joker's other "fangirls" - certainly draws comparisons to some of the real-life true-crime culture, and to the women who romanticize serial killers and school shooters in online fandoms. Regardless of however the "Joker War" - and whatever comes next - shakes out for Punchline, it's certainly going to be interesting.
What do you think of Punchline's origin story in The Joker 80th Anniversary 100-Page Super Spectacular? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!