Batman: The Killing Joke – Book Review

Written by Alan Moore
Illustrated by Brian Bolland

 

Characters:
The Joker
Bruce Wayne/Batman
Barbara Gordan
Jim Gordan 

Technically this is a graphic novel review. 
Batman: The Killing Joke is a 44-page graphic novel, released in 1988, that focuses on two major plots: The Joker’s master plan through the course of the present, and his origin story. 
I read the recoloured version, in which the origin story sections were mostly colourless, so it was easy to distinguish between the two. 
However, this review will focus on the primary story. The Joker is on a quest to send a message, a message that even the most civilised of people can crack to insanity. What he’s really doing is trying to show why he isn’t so different to everyone else, and that is really something that I liked. It made The Joker deep, and you could see why he was doing what he was  doing. 
What he was doing was terrorising Jim Gordan. He went to his house and shot his daughter Barbara, paralysing her from the waist down. (Fun fact: Barbara was Batgirl, but after this event, she became Oracle, Batman’s technical assistant who provides him with information about anything he needs). He then captured Gordan, and stripped Barbara down, taking pictures of her (This is not for children). He then used those same pictures to try and mess with Gordan, and was really trying to get to him. 
At the same time, Bruce Wayne has realised that in the end, either him or The Joker would have to kill the other. They were destined to meet forever until one rid the other of existence. This made Batman’s quest in this book unique: He wanted to help The Joker, settle their differences. He tries so much to learn about his nemesis but, even as The World’s Greatest Detective, he just can’t.
The acts that The Joker performs on two people so close to Batman in this book takes a toll on The Dark Knight, and he has an interesting character arc. 
This book really is a Joker story though. Batman is barely in it. 
The climax is on a really small scale. Which is perfect. It was so personal between The Joker and Batman, and the ending was left to speculate on. Did that actually happen? I’m not going to spoil what ‘that’ is, for anyone that wants to read it. But for comic fans, you know what I’m talking about.
In any case, this is considered a classic for a reason. On a scale where ‘M’ is the lowest rating and ‘R’ is the highest, with the highlighted letter being the rating:

Batman: The Killing Joke – MIHIR

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