Graphic Novel Reviews

Batman The Killing Joke.

Batman The Killing Joke.

  • Alan Moore – Author.
  • Brian Bollard – Artist.

5 stars out of 5.

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Graphic Novel Blurb:

Alan Moore cemented his reputation for unparalleled storytelling with wildly acclaimed books such as WATCHMEN and V FOR VENDETTA. Here he takes on some of DC’s most classic characters, offering his unforgettable version of the disturbing relationship between the Dark Knight and his greatest foe, the Joker.

In this groundbreaking work, Moore creates a twisted tale of insanity and human perseverance. Looking to prove that any man can be pushed past his breaking point to madness, the Joker attempts to drive Commissioner Gordon insane.

Refusing to give up, Gordon struggles to maintain his sanity with the help of Batman in a desperate effort to best the madman.

Story:

The story of The Killing Joke focuses on The Joker and is in part an origin story for the Clown Prince of Crime himself and  also a look into the relationship between himself and Batman.

The Joker has once again escaped from Arkham Asylum and has this time decided to take his revenge on the characters he believes make him suffer the most, foiling him at every turn, namely Batman and Police Commissioner Jim Gordon.

The story revolves around the flashbacks to The Joker’s origin and his sickening plot. During the flashbacks we are shown that The  Joker suffered one very bad day that inevitably resulted in his broken psyche and transformation into The  Joker. As a result he believes that there is a very fine line that we all walk between sane and insane and that just one horrific event can turn even the most sane person insane. The Joker being The Joker, he attempts to test his theory out on Gordon in the most sadistic way possible, how much does it take to break someone?

After The Joker pays The Gordon’s a visit resulting in a horrific injury to Barbara and Jim being kidnapped, we see The  Joker’s attempts to ‘break’ Gordon at a dilapidated carnival and prove his theory correct.

When Batman finally confronts The Joker it’s a very violent Batman that we see. And even though Gordon has suffered at The Joker’s hands he still wants Batman to bring him in by the book,  in the right way of the law to show The Joker that he was wrong.

Writing:

The writing is really good and the novel is well written, showing the characters and the bonds between them really well with a very interesting top notch story. The relationship between Batman and The Joker has always been far more than just that of a hero and villain, it’s very dark and complex by nature and this graphic novel gives us a deeper glimpse and snapshot in to it.

The conversations between The  Joker and Batman are some of the best and area at times really thought provoking. Even with the violence, the way that Batman tries to reason with The Joker is really deep. We know that there’s is a fateful and doomed relationship and Batman does his best to talk The Joker around, almost pleading with him to accept his help. But, maybe The Joker is just to far gone? That is where the writing excels between these two classic characters.

The plot moves along well with no wasted words and at times the writing is thought provoking and you really feel the characters, even feeling sympathetic towards The Joker in the flashbacks to his origin.

The writing also does a great job within  The Joker’s origin in that it’s very ambiguous, leaving us thinking, did it actually happen that way or is it simply the maddening delusions of  a broken mind?

Art:

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The artwork in The Killing Joke is stunning! There’s no other way to describe it, for the present story taking place the colouring is perfect bringing the characters and events to life in full vivid detail.

And then, for the flashbacks to The Joker’s origin, we forgo most of the colour in favour of a muted grey scale colour palette with only certain objects being coloured, emphasising the importance and really drawing your attention to them. This works exceptionally well giving you the contrast between the past and the present in the novel.

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Final Thoughts:

A classic! Dark, disturbing and at times twisted but lets be fair, those are the things that we all love about The Joker anyway! The novel revolves around such a simple premise but it’s executed so well and is a gripping great read.

Some may dislike both the short length and the open ending with the lack of a definite conclusion to The Killing Joke. But for me, the length was just right and I really liked the ending. I thought it felt natural to the encounter between Batman and The Joker that had just taken place and also found it to fit really well with the story that had been told throughout. It left you questioning, had Joker lost his laugh? And, has he finally managed to push Batman over the edge towards insanity?

I can see why The Killing Joke is one of the most well respected Batman graphic novels out there.

A must read for fans of Batman and The Clown Prince of Crime.

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36 thoughts on “Batman The Killing Joke.

  1. You should watch the new animated movie of this story- and see if the source material holds up when others adapt it. I had very mixed feelings about the movie, but at least Mark Hamill did an outstanding job voicing the Joker.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Frankly I’m starting to tell people not to watch the movie , I didn’t hate it , but I have said it before it was more disturbing for me than any of Alan Moore’s work (& that’s saying something ) and not in a good way either . in fact I have started to pretend the movie never happened …

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Awesome review! 🙂 I’m definitely buying this one now. Rash warned me on Goodreads that it’s really disturbing. I like disturbing things, so I’m sure I’ll love it. *insert Joker laugh here* 😂 And I love the Joker, best villain ever. 🙂 Ya gotta love that Gordon is always trying to do the right thing. I’ve always liked his relationship with Batman and the weird relationship Batman has with Joker. And I love the artwork. It’s so well done. That’s a nice use of the darker frames to show the past and color for the present.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. what i actually meant by disturbing , and I’m sure you will notice it when you read , that in many ways the book went a bit too far, there have been many disturbing Joker plots in the past this one was a bit too much , and considering the times we live in many will call this politically incorrect , In fact Alan Moore himself has gone on record to say that considering the times we live in this book isn’t his best work but instead a very disturbing and probably his worst .

      i don’t agree with that statement but I read this book back in the 90s when this was a big deal of a book for me .

      Anyways I don’t want to impose my thoughts , in fact My own review had only good things to say about this book but just to be sure I warn everyone who is looking to pick this book up

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yeah, I agree with you, it was wrote in the 80’s when you could get away with what you wanted and even upto the mid nineties to, it’s just now days everything is so politically incorrect and things that were fine back then aren’t now and they are either not mentioned or only implied. It’s The Joker though, we expect disturbing from him! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah, it’s considered a state of emergency here. Of course, it’s right after I move! I had to order a battery operated fan on Amazon with rush delivery. I hope it gets here by tomorrow. They think it’s going to knock out the power. My dad is getting the generator ready now. I’ll need to have all my devices charged. Wish me luck! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Seriously awesome review Drew! The Clown Prince of Crime aka The Joker is an all time fave character of mine, is it sort of like a stand alone? i’m curious as to whether or not I can just pick this up & start reading it w/out having read any of the previous Batman comics…YUP! another great review making me run to open that $ LOL. The artwork though looks simply ON POINT! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. 😀

      Joker is an awesome character, have to agree with you about him being a favourite.

      It’s the first Batman graphic novel I’ve read so yes, you can read it without having first read others as I did! 😂

      The artwork is awesome, especially for Joker and using the muted tones with a highlighted object in colour for the flashbacks is a great idea that works really well. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Fantastic review Drew, yet again making my reviews look like cinderella’s ugly step sister … keep up the good reviews , I’m actually learning a few things 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Excellent review! 😀 I’m very curious now as to what happened on that one very bad day…I mean, I have a severe cold and menstrual cramps at the moment and I’m not going insane yet? *clings onto nasal spray for dear life* . Love the artwork as well, it’s always good to see a different in the style when it comes to flashbacks :).

    Liked by 1 person

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