Thursday, December 22, 2011

Review - Batman: The Killing Joke

I've been a fan of Batman for as long as I can remember but only really via TV Shows, cartoons and movies. I never really got into the monthly comic book scene and haven't picked up many superhero graphic novels. But I've seen The Killing Joke sitting on the store and library shelves for a long while and it kept calling to me...until I finally read it.

Of the Batman villains, my favorite is the Riddler. Mostly this is due to my own penchant for riddles, puzzles, codes and random mind games. However, close behind Riddler's methods of toying with Batman, my next favorite antagonist is the Joker. Thus having the entire cover devoted to him, really made me eager to read this. Add to that the writing of Alan Moore and I was stoked to get into this.

Apparently the original novel had much less color (mostly black and white, from what I understand) but the one I read was the "remastered" (that's the term for movies...does it apply to books?) version with cleaned up art and color.

I really enjoyed the art style. It was a little greusome at times and there were a couple of scenes that I would have prefered a little less "graphic" in the graphic novel.

The story was very fast paced and the writing very tight. Rather than the long back stories and explanations from something like Watchmen or V for Vendetta, this book just jumped right through all the hoops and presented the story with clean, concise movements that kept the plot jolting forward.

Probably my favorite part in the whole book was during the actual joke at the end. The joke itself was alright, but having Batman give a half smirk really just cracked me up. The stoic, withdrawn Batman who never reveals his humanity let himself emit a small sense of appreciation at the Joker's joke. Not a laugh or a giggle...more just a slight exhale with even slighter motion at the corners of his lips, but enough to see Batman's humanity.

For Batman lovers, this is a fun book. It's definitely not for kids (violence, language and covered/implied nudity) but for the more mature Batman crowd, this is an enjoying read.


3.5 out of 5 stars


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4 comments:

David J. West said...

This was the first Batman graphic I ever bought and helped shape a different view of Batman for me from the campy TV show and first Tim Burton Batman movie. While not my favorite Batman graphic it sure wasn't the worst either.

Brian Miller said...

definitive batman....one of my fav scenes of all time...he and joker laughing together...

Eric said...

Great review. This sounds like a book right my alley. Thanks for a great book purchase idea post-Christmas.

logankstewart said...

Indeed, this one's a bit dark & gruesome, but it's also seminal in establishing the Bat, and one of the most important graphic novels out there, too, in my estimation.

That said, the joke is crucial to the book, and I loved it. Not side-splitting hilarity, but the reaction between Batman and truly how similar he is when compared to his arch-nemesis.

Good stuff, here, and it gets better with a re-read (as all Moore tends to do).