Over the past couple of months, I’ve found myself repeating that I’m not much of a fan of comic books, yet lately I can’t stop talking about them in some form or another. And I’ve found yet another comic book I want to review. Even though I don’t read too many comic books, anything with Alan Moore or Batman in the title always grabs my attention. The final push I needed to read something like this was a single cover that could draw me into its 46 page book. And not too long ago I found something with all three qualities. This is The Illusive One’s Review of Batman: The Killing Joke.
Written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Brian Bolland in 1988, The Killing Joke is often considered to be one of the greatest Joker themed Batman Stories ever made and changed the entire cannon of the Batman series as well as serving as a major inspiration for the 1989 film Batman and the 2008 film The Dark Knight. But how well does it hold up today to a relative new comer to the area like myself? The plot of it revolves around the Joker as he has once again escaped from Arkham Asylum, (WHEN ARE THEY GOING TO LEARN THAT THAT PLACE CAN’T HOLD HIM?!), kidnaps Commissioner Gordon, and tries to prove that it only takes one traumatic experience to bring people to his level while flashing back to his apparent past.
On the positive side, the majority of the drawing style was great. The coloring was great, the blood was great, and the attention to detail was great. It was also a well written story with good dialog and decent plot structure. I also felt that some of the ways they decided to take the story were bold and welcome, (such as having Barbra Gordon crippled by the Joker). Although a lot of people didn’t like the ending of this comic, I loved it and found myself laughing my ass off with The Dark Knight and the Joker, (although I’m not entirely sure why). Even though the Joker’s past was a major part of the story I like the way they kept it a bit ambiguous; by the end you’re not sure if the flash backs you saw were real or just part of the Joker’s insanity. I also loved how insane the Joker was in this comic, as he constantly killed and shot people almost at random. His ultimate goal of trying to prove that only one bad day stands between the average person and insanity was something that actually got under my skin. The last but greatest thing about this comic was how it analyzed the relationship between Batman and the Joker. It showed their deadly rivalry and how it would probably escalate until one of them killed the other but also showed a kind of kindred spirit between the two; how traumatic events changed both of their lives and how they adapted to them.
On the negative side, I honestly felt that this comic was too short. To me, it almost seemed like it should have been thirty to sixty pages longer but was somehow cut short. As a result, the Joker’s plan of driving Gordon insane seemed a bit underwhelming. I also felt that there was a little too much focus on the Joker’s past and not enough directly on the rival of Batman and the Joker. While I do know that Batman’s blue and gray outfit is his classical look it’s not one that holds up very well today and I couldn’t help but be distracted by it. The last negative thing I have to say about this comic is that I didn’t particularly care for the way the Joker looked in it. His face just seemed way to long and his neck seemed way to thin. Maybe that’s nitpicking but it’s something I couldn’t help but be distracted by.
All around, this was definitely a comic that was well worth my time. While I found the Joker’s plan to be slightly underwhelming, it made up for it with its themes and analysis of the characters. What else can I say? I don’t read too many D.C. Comics but this one certainly makes me want to read more. If you’re like me and don’t read to many comic books and are a fan of Batman and the Joker I’d recommend at least picking it up at a library and take the time to read it. It was well worth my time and I’m sure it will be worth yours.
So until next time this is the Illusive One saying There were these two guys in a lunatic asylum and one night, one night they decide they don’t like living in an asylum any more. They decide they’re going to escape! So, like, they get up onto the roof, and there, just across this narrow gap, they see the rooftops of the town, stretching away in the moon light… stretching away to freedom. Now, the first guy, he jumps right across with no problem. But his friend, his friend didn’t dare make the leap. Y’see… Y’see, he’s afraid of falling. So then, the first guy has an idea… He says ‘Hey! I have my flashlight with me! I’ll shine it across the gap between the buildings. You can walk along the beam and join me!’ B-but the second guy just shakes his head. He suh-says… He says ‘Wh-what do you think I am? Crazy? You’d turn it off when I was half way across!
GAH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!