(This review contains spoilers. Read at your own discretion.)
In Batman: The Killing Joke, we learn of the Joker’s backstory. Fifty pages may not seem like a lot, especially when dealing with someone like Joker, but this is Alan Moore we’re talking about. If he doesn’t know his way around the medium, then I don’t know who will.
I haven’t read any other Batman/Joker-centred comics so I’m not sure if they’re all as bleak, dark and disturbing as The Killing Joke. Long story short, The Joker was once an average Joe. He had a girlfriend and a job, but the world shat on him and he was forced to turn to crime. It wasn’t long before petty crime turned to gruesome murder, torture and butchery. In his own words, “all it takes is one bad day to reduce the sanest man alive to lunacy.”
I will admit that, of course, Moore nails the story head on. The art style is synonymous with Joker’s personality, in that it’s creepy, unsettling, yet striking. But that’s not even the most interesting bit. Near the end, The Joker says, “If I have to have a past, then I prefer it to be multiple choice”, implying that even he either doesn’t fully remember his own past or trust his own memories. Even the ending itself is subjective. It’s up to the readers to decide if what’s on the page is actually true or a result of the Joker making the world see what he wants them to see through his demented ways.
The Killing Joke is a fantastic, fast paced and beautifully drawn graphic novel. It’s what happens when you take a simple idea and, with the right mind and hands, turn it into something out of this world.
If you’ve made it this far into my post, thank you for reading! Have you read The Killing Joke before? If so, what did you think? If not, would you consider it? Leave a comment below and I’ll see you in my next post.
Until next time,