Batman: The Killing Joke - Alan Moore, Brian Bolland, Tim Sale, Richard Starkins

Genre: Superheroes / Action / Adventure / Horror

Year Published: 1988

Year Read: 2012

Series: Batman

Publisher: DC Comics





I thought I knew everything there was to know about the Joker, one of Batman’s greatest foes.  But after reading “Batman: The Killing Joke” and how the Joker was portrayed in this book, the Joker has officially become one of the most VILE, TWISTED, DARK and most DISTURBING villain I have ever come face to face with…AND I LOVED IT!  Being brilliantly written by Alan Moore and being masterfully illustrated by Brian Bolland, “Batman: The Killing Joke” has remained to be one of the greatest and most disturbing “Batman” stories to ever be created!


What is the story?


When it turns out that the Joker, one of Batman’s greatest foes, breaks out of Arkham Asylum, Batman must stop this evil doer at all costs.  Unfortunately, the Joker then comes after Commissioner Gordon and his daughter Barbara and performs some of the most vile and disturbing acts in his villainous career (starts by shooting Barbara Gordon, paralyzing her and then twisting Commissioner Gordon’s mind to make him crazy) and Batman must stop the Joker before it is too late.  Also, we are introduced to the back story of the Joker and how he became the villain he is known as today.


What I loved about this comic:


Alan Moore’s writing:  WOW! I mean, I thought that I have read some of the best Batman stories around (“Batman: Year One” for starters), but I think that “Batman: The Killing Joke” has nearly beaten some of the best “Batman” stories I had read!  I had read some of Alan Moore’s works (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen), but I can easily say that this graphic novel is easily one of his best works!  I loved the way that Alan Moore made this story extremely disturbing and dark and I was actually cringing during the scene where Barbara Gordon is shot and then tortured, which proved how demented the Joker really is.  I also loved the way that Alan Moore portrayed the relationship between Batman and the Joker since it is rare that I see a hero and a villain have a sort of understandable relationship seeing as how they both had lost people dear to them, but viewed life in a different life.  I enjoyed the psychological message that Alan Moore was presenting in this story as the Joker sees life as being a huge awful joke (meaning that life is miserable) while Batman is truly trying to see the reality of the situations in life.  I really enjoyed seeing the back story of the Joker as we learn what he was like before he became the villain he is known today and that really added so much depth to the story and to the character of the Joker.  The ending of this story was truly terrifying yet amazing to see at the same time (I will not spoil it for you, but let us just say it is the confrontation between Batman and the Joker).


Brian Bolland’s artwork:  Brian Bolland had done a truly amazing job at providing the artwork of this story as all the characters look truly realistic and colorful.  I loved the attention in details that Brian Bolland gives to the characters’ facial expressions, especially the Joker as he is seen smiling dementedly, which makes him a truly menacing character to look at.  My favorite artwork in this graphic novel was of the images of the rain drops making small circles in the ground, as they look truly beautiful and yet give this story a truly ominous feel as these images appear at the beginning of the book towards the end of the book.


What made me feel uncomfortable about this book:


The only issue with this graphic novel that some readers would have problems with is the fact that the story is extremely dark and disturbing for your average “Batman” story.  For one thing, there is a scene where Barbara Gordon is shot and then tortured which would disturb many readers (it definitely disturbed me a bit).  Also, as in many “Batman” stories, the atmosphere of this story is extremely dark and brooding and that might be a bit uncomfortable for many readers who are not used to reading dark stories to handle.


Final Thoughts:


So what is my final verdict on this story?  “Batman: The Killing Joke” is easily one of the most disturbing yet most amazing stories I have ever read and I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND this story to “Batman” fans everywhere who love a good dark and intelligent story about the follies of life.


Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog