In Punchline #1, it’s revealed that Alexis Kaye’s obsession with the Joker began years before Joker War, but did it also start before Harley Quinn’s?
Warning! Spoilers ahead for Punchline #1
In DC’s new Punchline #1, the origins of Alexis Kaye are revealed, showing how she became so obsessed with the Joker and eventually transformed into his new girlfriend – taking the name Punchline. While her debut into the DC Universe was made at the beginning of the Joker War, Kaye has apparently been in the DC Universe for a long time prior to her helping the Joker in his latest attempt to corrupt Gotham City. While the new series follows her upcoming trial after being arrested after Joker War, Punchline #1 reveals that Punchline’s obsession with the Joker began years ago…perhaps even before Harley Quinn became Joker’s first girlfriend.
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In Punchline #1 from James Tynion IV, Sam Johns, and Mirka Andolfo, Alexis Kaye’s first fateful meeting with the Joker happened years in the past when she was just a college student. While she was taking a tour of a news station for school, the Joker and his goons attacked, holding her hostage as Joker wanted her to spread his message to Gotham on the air. While Batman arrived and saved the day, Alexis was never the same after being face to face with the Clown Prince of Crime. Her obsession began, and she was determined to study and uncover everything she could about Joker and his crimes (or what he would refer to as “jokes”). Kaye created a public podcast and blog, recording her findings and sharing her feelings about the Joker with every episode. With every new “joke” told by the Joker, Alexis went further and further down the rabbit hole, until she eventually had to take her obsession further with twisted actions of her own, creating her own Joker toxin formula and becoming Punchline, seeing it as her mission to help everyone hear and get the “jokes”. Naturally, this gained Joker’s attention and their relationship began just before the events of Joker War.
What’s interesting here in Punchline #1 is the absence of Harley Quinn in these flashbacks. Joker’s attack on the news station did not feature Joker’s first girlfriend, and it’s only noted as having taken place years ago, with no specific point in the DC Universe timeline for reference. Was it further back enough that Harley had yet to come into the picture? Dr. Harleen Quinzel would become corrupted and obsessed with the Joker after trying to treat and understand his dark psyche during his stays in Arkham Asylum before turning her into Harley Quinn. However, is it possible that Alexis’ obsession began first, albeit at a much slower rate?
Harley’s transformation might have just been at a much more rapid pace compared to Punchline’s, seeing as how Harley was in such close proximity with Joker, like in their sessions in Arkham. Punchline’s transformation was possibly more gradual, as she’d only met the Joker that one time years ago with the attack on the news station, but that was apparently enough. Alexis’ meeting with Joker and becoming enamored with him may very well have come first, but the full transformation would have to have been faster for Harley if so.
In any case, Harley Quinn and Punchline’s respective journeys to becoming so twisted thanks to the Joker’s ability to captivate and corrupt are eerily similar. However, it would certainly be an interesting dynamic if Alexis was the first one to be drawn to him. At the moment, this is all conjecture and theory, but it will be interesting to see if any new details come to light as Punchline continues from DC Comics.
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