Punchline and the Royal Flush Gang’s crusade to reshape the Gotham City underworld continues with a vengeance.
But Punchline is done dealing with henchmen and hired assassins… she’s going right to the top, forcing a meeting with Black Mask and his criminal hive.
Will Punchline have their ear, or will they rip out her heart?!
And how will Bluebird recover from the vicious defeat Punchline dealt her as she tries to help her brother?
The Comicbook DispatchPunchline: The Gotham Game #4 continues the story with various subplots, all of them interesting, and gives us another issue filled with great characters, intrigue, a couple great twists and Punchline continuing to be a fascinating and menacing counterpoint to Harley Quinn.
Geek DadTini Howard has essentially taken over the Gotham underworld, with runs on Catwoman, this violent crime thriller, and an upcoming Harley Quinn run. This title is still the weak link overall thanks to a lack of a compelling lead, but this issue steps things up a bit with Bluebird and Cullen taking larger roles. Cullen is being held hostage by Punchline thanks to his ex-boyfriend Bluff joining up with him, while Punchline plans to make her move against the city. Black Mask—still wearing a makeshift mask thanks to Catwoman—has assembled a gang of old-school mobsters to drive Punchline out, setting up a violent showdown of criminals vs. chaos agents. The action comes fast and furious this issue, with betrayals being pretty clearly telegraphed throughout. This isn’t a bad comic, but it’s one that mostly seems to exist to pick up on loose ends from Catwoman right now. Punchline almost feels ancillary to it.
Batman-NewsOverall, I’m not mad at this issue. In two issues, the Howards have introduced far more interesting antagonists and angles to work with. While I can bet money that almost nobody is finding interest in Alexis Kaye’s story right now, there are now some promising threads to follow. I think a big thematic conflict of the active and passive supervillain models makes for good conversation. However, I’m still not comfortable calling up those people on the fence about this book back into the yard just yet. I mean, there have been four issues and each one feels like another pilot episode.
ComicBook.comAs Punchline's solo series is beginning to reach its climax, the end result is proving to be yet another chaotic battle. Punchline and the Royal Flush Gang's efforts begin to grow even more complicated, bringing in a larger roster of characters – antagonists and supporting characters whose appearances in a modern DC comic are nice to see, but aren't given anything meaty to do other than react to the immediate. While the aesthetic and narrative choices on display here work well enough, it feels like they barely scratch the surface for the kind of wacky, resonant story that could be told here.
You Don't Read ComicsThe series feels like it should be coming to an end soon. Everything is caving in for Punchline, and it’s only a matter of time before things fall in one direction or another. It’s too bad that it’s been such a mess from the beginning. If the Howards had focused on one or two of the main elements of the story, it might have been a much more satisfying run. As it is, the series never really manages to build up enough momentum in any of the supporting ends of the story.