Comic Review: Batman, ‘The Killing Joke’ – by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland

Now that was a batman comic. Though it has its’ errors, that was a beautiful representation of what a comic should be like. Movement, action, speech and sound came together in a robust harmony that allows you to really look into the character of the Joker. The one question you end up asking yourself, however, is: ‘wasn’t that over the top’? I mean, sure he’s the Joker. Sure, he’s meant to have a level of insanity about him but it’s pushing the point a little too much. The way the Joker portrays himself doesn’t quite fit with the view of the Joker we’ve come to see, especially now after the Christopher Nolan portrayal, which causes an instant comparison.

The Joker in ‘The Killing Joke’ seems to be completely unhinged, self-proclaiming that he is insane and that everyone can become insane to escape their problems. He tries to prove tis by capturing a man and mentally torturing him in an abandoned theme park. While this is all well and good, it’s very small-scale stuff. It also doesn’t feel clever enough for the Joker. The Joker, for me, is an extremely clever villain who carries out series of delicately linked, twisted events. However, in this comic, while what he’s doing to the man he captures is pretty crazed and… well trippy, it’s not clever enough. It doesn’t make enough of an impact. However, even though the modern portrayal of the Joker was a little over the top, we did get some snippets of backstory which were really interesting.

The other characters in the comic were good. I liked the involvement of batman and how the scenes kept skipping back and forth between ‘Joker action’ and ‘batman action’, until the grand finale. There was also a clever little loop of repetition, with parts from the front of the book appearing again later. This was a nice little technique and added drama and suspense. The comic was also very fast-paced and there was always something going on, which made for a pleasant read.

The ending, while dramatic, was a little off for me. It’s a little bit of an anti-climax. The Joker makes his big speech in the front-off, batman replies and it’s looking really tense…and then laughter? Ok so both characters had made their statements, it linked in to the start of the comic and it was all wrapping itself up. But, really? It just… ended. Perhaps to add more drama, perhaps to have some sort of audience effect… but for me? I want that little bit more.

Overall, this was an enjoyable batman comic. It had the right levels of action and pacing and, while I’d have preferred a plot with a cleverer ‘Joker-plan’, it was quite a brilliant story. The art-work is beautiful and the movement has that edge to it that makes ‘The Killing Joke’ truly crazy.

Rating: 6/10


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