Comics Reviews

Harley Quinn’s Punchline Trauma Will Have a Lasting Visual Impact


Writer Stephanie Phillips says Harley Quinn is still carrying some physical and emotional scars from her intense battles with Punchline.

Harley Quinn is still carrying some baggae from her clashes with Punchline.

Speaking at a New York Comic Con panel attended by CBR, Harley Quinn writer Stephanie Phillips explained that the weight of Harley’s exploits has begun to take a toll on her: “She’s in Gotham, which is a really dangerous place a lot of times, and a lot of bad things have happened to her.” Phillips went on to clarify that despite Harley’s cheery disposition, these events will not go unmentioned, adding “we need to always remember that that’s where she is.”

RELATED: DC Announces Weekly Arkham-Themed Batman Event, Shadows of the Bat


In recent years, Harley Quinn has gone from criminal to crime-fighter, doing whatever it takes to earn Batman’s respect. Still, the experiences that Harley has endured have had a dramatic impact on her, which has informed Phillips’ work. Even though Harley is quick to chime in with a dumb joke, her sense of humor has become a tool to defend her against the city. Phillips said there’s “something to be said I think for humor being used as this mask and Gotham being a very dark place.”

Among her many traumas, Harley Quinn’s fights with Punchline during “The Joker War” have proven to be some of the most difficult for her to work through. While Punchline was defeated and locked away for her crimes, Phillips said that she’ll continue to play a role in Harley’s life moving forward. “She’s got her neck guard now always because she doesn’t want to see the scar from Punchline, which is something that we’ve been kind of exploring, and we’ll explore more as the series goes on too.”

RELATED: Joker: Punchline Hasn’t Lost Her Most Dangerous Ability Behind Bars

Harley Quinn is currently a featured part of Fear State, a crossover event spinning out of James Tynion IV’s final Batman storyline. In it, a powered-up Scarecrow makes a play to control Gotham City, unleashing fear gas on its citizens and causing mass hysteria. With the city turned into a war zone, Harley Quinn and Catwoman must race against the clock to try and save Poison Ivy, who may be the key to Gotham’s survival.

Moving forward, Phillips said she has plans to continue bringing out the tragedy along with Harley’s comedy. Influenced by her time writing the series during a global pandemic, Phillips said, “We wanted this book to live on the corner of funny and sad, which sounds like a really weird thing to say for a Harley Quinn book.” Hopefully, her upcoming reunion with Poison Ivy can help Harley find her smile.

KEEP READING: Batman: Harley Quinn Is Headed for a Rematch With Her Rival in DC’s Dark Future

Source: New York Comic Con

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