Review: Knight Terrors: Punchline #1 & #2
Writer: Danny Lore
Artist: Lucas Meyer
Colour Artist: Alex Guimarães
Letterer: Steve Wands
Review by Davydh Tidey
Knight Terrors: Punchline revisits Gotham’s newest, and arguably most dangerous, firebrand villain in Knight Terrors style!
First came the Joker War, then came the Trial of Alexis Kaye and the Gotham Game followed soon after. Alexis has been busy, and Punchline has become a name to be feared and respected in Gotham, in a startlingly short amount of time.
The question must be asked, though; what could Punchline possibly be scared of? She’s going all the way to the top, and fast, but what underlying fear could be holding her back?
It’s fun to extreminate a rodent.”
Issues #1 and #2 of Knight Terrors: Punchline are constructed in very different ways. The first issue almost seems like a dream as opposed to a nightmare, with Punchline coming out on top against a formidable foe, and getting everything she ever wanted by doing so.
With the second issue, things take a very sudden left turn into nightmare country. It’s a fun dichotomy that the other Knight Terrors tie-ins haven’t really leaned into, most of them have been straight nightmares or very strange dreams (Knight Terrors: The Joker, I’m looking at you), but not for Alexis, who gets the bait and switch, and it’s used to great effect here.
If you enjoyed Punchline: The Trial of Alexis Kaye, there’s a lot more of all of that happening here. Punchline’s clever use of social media comes back to haunt her, her cold, analytical mind is used in a self-aware way, it’s a great acknowledgement of what her skill set actually is. This lady isn’t a Harley Quinn clone, and any book that goes out of it’s way to acknowledge that gets a gold star from me.
I did it. I beat the internet.”
Writer Danny Lore brings some interesting themes to Knight Terrors: Punchline, not least the clever use and manipulation of her past.
As much as Punchline would rather forget, underneath her villainous persona, before the Joker and Punchline there was a damaged, terminally-online young woman. These issues tap into that heavily, revealing her buried insecurities in dramatic fashion, and watching Alexis Kaye turn those weaknesses into strengths made for a great read.
…Anything but the comment section.”
Artists Lucas Meyer and Alex Guimarães did a brilliant job with this story. Without spoiling anything, there are a lot of panels in here that are… non-standard, to say the least, and the pair made them look incredible. There’s one particular sequence where we see the the different faces of Alexis Kaye, and that will be living rent-free in my head for a good while.
I must send a special shout-out to the letterer, Steve Wands, as well. There are numerous different text and dialogue styles at play in these issues, and he absolutely killed it with all of them.
I called Punchline “Gotham’s newest, and arguably most dangerous, firebrand villain” at the start of this review, and I do truly believe that, in the hands of a good writer, Punchline could be the biggest threat Batman has ever faced. Knight Terrors: Punchline has showed us something more than that. These issues show us that Alexis is still there, buried deep underneath Punchline, and I believe that that’s one of the most important parts of her character.
This story delivers another great entry into Punchline’s lore, these two issues give us a window into her mind we’ve never seen before, and add more depth to this conflicted, complicated character. I cannot recommend them enough.
Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment