“Madness is the emergency exit. You can just step outside, and close the door on all those dreadful things that happened. You can lock them away… forever.”– The Joker in The Killing Joke
Where does a person begin when their minds are blown and their bodies are numb? Alan Moore is a God among us. Any comic reader has the hair on their skin rise at the simple mention of this God’s name. He does not fear to push boundaries. He does not fear to bring to light ideas taboo to the eyes of others. He does not fear to take on one of the most notorious villains origin story in comic book history. The Killing Joke, published in 1988, remains to this date a one-shot story that’s bound to be read by any superhero fan. Giving readers an in-depth look inside the mind of the Joker at his finest, this graphic novel gives us the chance to understand madness like never before.
In my most honest opinion, The Killing Joke is the best story I’ve ever read when it comes to Batman’s universe. In fact, it is safe to say that this one-shot story contains a perfect balance between dialogue, action, suspense and jokes. Not only is the Clown Prince of Crime portrayed beautifully in this tragic story, we also get to see key characters go through events that would have been unimaginable if Alan Moore had never tackled the idea of doing comics. Barbara Gordon’s, daughter of James Gordon, fate might be one of the most astonishing moments in this 48 page story. SPOILER HERE: Hover over text to read. The violence depicted on Barbara might have even been one of the most controversial events in the Batman comics. Only Alan Moore might have pulled off such a move. All hail Alan Moore!
There seems to always be room for praise and admiration for Alan Moore’s work. The Killing Joke contains a couple jokes beautifully dispersed throughout the storyline. Brilliantly balanced to make the reader insanely joyful, some of these jokes actually manage to crack you up and chuckle for quite some time. Although, you might get some amusement throughout this graphic novel, Alan Moore still manages to showcase sadness in all it’s splendor. The tragic event unfolding the Joker’s origin as a failed comedian who wanted to support his wife and unborn child could make the toughest of soul’s feel sadness and empathy for the deranged killer. The Red Hood tie-in also adds interesting facts into the Joker story, especially when the identity of the Red Hood had remained a mystery for so long in Batman’s history. Although, don’t be fooled by this. The Red Hood makes other appearances!
“Remember? Ohh, I wouldn’t do that! Remembering’s dangerous. I find the past such a worrying anxious place.” – The Joker in The Killing Joke
Madness. What would The Joker be without indulging madness at least once? Joker’s case on the subject is one to remember. In my opinion, I believe the past plays a huge role in a person’s mental state throughout their life. Knowing how to cope with tragic events, knowing how to not dwell in the past and knowing how to learn from your mistakes are among a couple of know-how’s that a person needs in order to remain rational and sane as they continue to face different obstacles Life throws at them. The Joker explains how the overwhelming emotions attached to painful and unfortunate events a person has lived can destroy them. He suggests madness as the perfect emergency exit. He suggests that repressing the terrible incidents that a person has lived, to let madness carry you around, helps them survive and surpass these moments. SPOILER HERE: Hover over text to read.
The final joke, one that gives us beautiful insight to Batman and Joker’s bromance, is one to stay printed into my memory for the rest of my life. Not only does it explain how each of these characters became what they are at this date, it also demonstrates Joker’s cry for help from Batman. It shows a discrete attempt by Batman’s archnemesis to be understood. SPOILER HERE: Hover over text to read.
Let’s not forget about Brian Bolland in all this! Luckily for me, I got my hands on the deluxe edition. The coloring got a complete upgrade and, if you ask me, it does justice to the art. I’d have to say that the artwork is flawless, ingenious. If I was forced to choose a style, this would be the one I’d pick with my eyes closed. The amount of detail… the ability to translate the amazing ideas of Alan Moore into pictures… Brian Bolland did an amazing work. I’d have to add how I absolutely loved the transitions in this graphic novel. How they did it to make the last scene of a sequence and the first scene of the next sequence flow perfectly. If you ever get the chance to read this masterpiece, watch carefully how they transition from one scene to the other. Nothing is random, everything has a purpose.
If this review isn’t crystal clear enough, The Killing Joke by Alan Moore is a must-read by anyone remotely intrigued by Batman and his enemies. Batman might not be the center of attention in this graphic novel, but who wouldn’t love to see more Joker in their comics? Sometimes you have to wonder how many more death does Joker need to do before Batman makes an exception to his rule and takes out the Clown Prince of Crime. Forever. Although, blame can’t be put entirely on Batman for locking up the Joker every single time he escapes and kills. In my book, death is not the solution to any criminal’s activity. Sentencing a person to death wouldn’t make us any better than the criminal himself. The Dark Knight Returns emphasizes even more on this subject (look out for a review of that trade paperback in the future!). The Killing Joke deserves to be read. Also, a big thank you to my girlfriend Trang for gifting me for my birthday; truly the best! I also believe this graphic novel will definitely change the perception of comics for several thousands of people. How about you get your hands on a copy right away and get ready to be amazed? It’s time to put a smile on that face.
You can find a copy of Batman: Killing Joke by clicking on this hyperlink !
My overall rating: ★★★★★/