Batman: The Killing Joke

Batman: The Killing Joke

For the first time the Joker's origin is revealed in this tale of insanity and human perseverance. Looking to prove that any man can be pushed past his breaking point and go mad, the Joker attempts to drive Commissioner Gordon insane. After shooting and permanently paralyzing his daughter Barbara (a.k.a. Batgirl), the Joker kidnaps the commissioner and attacks his mind in...

DownloadRead Online
Title:Batman: The Killing Joke
Author:Alan Moore
Rating:
ISBN:0930289455
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:50 pages

Batman: The Killing Joke Reviews

  • Erin
    Mar 14, 2008

    It causes me no joy to give any comic written by Alan Moore one star, but this is how it has to be. Now, before I write a single word more, let me start with this simple disclaimer: I consider Alan Moore the best writer to have ever worked in comics. There are no qualifiers to that; no qualifications. Moore is unmatched.

    But The Killing Joke? As a Batman book, it's just bad. That isn't to say there's nothing to like here: this book certainly has its moments; some of which are brilliant, in fact.

    It causes me no joy to give any comic written by Alan Moore one star, but this is how it has to be. Now, before I write a single word more, let me start with this simple disclaimer: I consider Alan Moore the best writer to have ever worked in comics. There are no qualifiers to that; no qualifications. Moore is unmatched.

    But The Killing Joke? As a Batman book, it's just bad. That isn't to say there's nothing to like here: this book certainly has its moments; some of which are brilliant, in fact. But as a story, it doesn't work.

    Killing Joke is really two stories told in parallel. It provides an origin for the Joker while simultaneously following him on a scheme to drive Commissioner Gordon insane.

    The origin is largely based on an old issue of Batman from the 50's: "The Man Behind the Red Hood." As much as I appreciate the nod to the past, the Red Hood origin of the Joker is one I could do without. While I am not in favor of attempts to make Batman "realistic," I do feel that some elements should be handled carefully if handled at all.

    And that's really the problem here. Not only did Alan Moore use an absurd origin; he made it more so. In the original, the Red Hood was a hardened criminal before he became the Joker. In this version, he was a comedian having a really bad day.

    I think I understand what Moore was trying to do here. I believe he wanted to create an element of pathos in the Joker's past while playing up the absurdity of the medium.

    But the result felt sloppy. Instead of adding layers to the Joker's personality, it just made him less interesting.

    The real problem with Killing Joke, however, is the other story line. The Joker takes Barbara Gordon by surprise, shooting and paralyzing her. Setting aside my personal objection to crippling one of DC's best (and, at the time, few) female characters, Moore missed a huge opportunity here. Had Oracle’s injury been sustained as Batgirl, the psychological effect on Batman could have been developed in great depth, as he’d have been responsible for placing her in harm’s way. As it was, the story only takes a toll on her father, and that's largely wrapped up by the end of the comic.

    The Joker's motive for all this mayhem, to break Jim Gordon and prove that a bad enough day can drive anyone insane, comes to nothing. In part, he's foiled by Batman, but really he loses because he's wrong: Gordon is strong enough to survive his ordeal.

    In the end, after everything, The Joker's comprehension of the human psyche is wrong. To me, this destroys the character’s credibility. The Joker has no superpowers, but madness is his expertise. For him to set to prove a point about insanity than fail, not due to Batman but rather his own assumptions, weakens him. Even after shooting Barbara, he ends the book less of a threat than he started.

    Now, let's be honest: one star is a harsh rating, and were this book not commonly called "The Greatest Batman Story Ever Told" I'd almost certainly have been more lenient. There are certainly excellent aspects to the writing and the art; aspects that would buy any other book three stars.

    But this isn't any other book. It's one of the most significant Batman stories written, having forever altered the continuity and status of several characters. It's Alan Moore's most famous Batman story.

    And it really isn't that good.

  • Ronyell
    Jul 10, 2012

    I thought I knew everything there was to know about the Joker, one of Batman’s greatest foes. But after reading “Batman: The Killing Joke” and how the Joker was portrayed in this book, the Joker has officially become one of the most

    villain I have ever come face to face with…

    Being brilliantly written by Alan Moore and being masterfully illustrated by Brian Bolland, “Batman: The Killing Joke” has remained to be one of

    I thought I knew everything there was to know about the Joker, one of Batman’s greatest foes. But after reading “Batman: The Killing Joke” and how the Joker was portrayed in this book, the Joker has officially become one of the most

    villain I have ever come face to face with…

    Being brilliantly written by Alan Moore and being masterfully illustrated by Brian Bolland, “Batman: The Killing Joke” has remained to be one of the greatest and most disturbing “Batman” stories to ever be created!

    When it turns out that the Joker, one of Batman’s greatest foes, breaks out of Arkham Asylum, Batman must stop this evil doer at all costs. Unfortunately, the Joker then comes after Commissioner Gordon and his daughter Barbara and performs some of the most vile and disturbing acts in his villainous career (starts by shooting Barbara Gordon, paralyzing her and then twisting Commissioner Gordon’s mind to make him crazy) and Batman must stop the Joker before it is too late. Also, we are introduced to the back story of the Joker and how he became the villain he is known as today.

    I mean, I thought that I have read some of the best Batman stories around (“Batman: Year One” for starters), but I think that “Batman: The Killing Joke” has nearly beaten some of the best “Batman” stories I had read! I had read some of Alan Moore’s works (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen), but I can easily say that this graphic novel is easily one of his best works! I loved the way that Alan Moore made this story extremely disturbing and dark and I was actually cringing during the scene where Barbara Gordon is shot and then tortured, which proved how demented the Joker really is. I also loved the way that Alan Moore portrayed the relationship between Batman and the Joker since it is rare that I see a hero and a villain have a sort of understandable relationship seeing as how they both had lost people dear to them, but viewed life in a different life. I enjoyed the psychological message that Alan Moore was presenting in this story as the Joker sees life as being a huge awful joke (meaning that life is miserable) while Batman is truly trying to see the reality of the situations in life. I really enjoyed seeing the back story of the Joker as we learn what he was like before he became the villain he is known today and that really added so much depth to the story and to the character of the Joker. The ending of this story was truly terrifying yet amazing to see at the same time (I will not spoil it for you, but let us just say it is the confrontation between Batman and the Joker).

    Brian Bolland had done a truly amazing job at providing the artwork of this story as all the characters look truly realistic and colorful. I loved the attention in details that Brian Bolland gives to the characters’ facial expressions, especially the Joker as he is seen smiling dementedly, which makes him a truly menacing character to look at. My favorite artwork in this graphic novel was of the images of the rain drops making small circles in the ground, as they look truly beautiful and yet give this story a truly ominous feel as these images appear at the beginning of the book towards the end of the book.

    The only issue with this graphic novel that some readers would have problems with is the fact that the story is extremely dark and disturbing for your average “Batman” story. For one thing, there is a scene where Barbara Gordon is shot and then tortured which would disturb many readers (it definitely disturbed me a bit). Also, as in many “Batman” stories, the atmosphere of this story is extremely dark and brooding and that might be a bit uncomfortable for many readers who are not used to reading dark stories to handle.

    So what is my final verdict on this story? “Batman: The Killing Joke” is easily one of the most disturbing yet most amazing stories I have ever read and I would

    this story to “Batman” fans everywhere who love a good dark and intelligent story about the follies of life.

  • Alejandro
    Jan 22, 2013

    Writer: Alan Moore

    Illustrator: Brian Bolland

    Colorist: John Higgins

    A writer should have balls, and I don’t mean the organic meat sacs, since a female writer is the same entitled to have balls. But if you aren’t confortable with the “male metaphor”, I am confident that you already got that I am talking about writing with courage.

    A writer

    Writer: Alan Moore

    Illustrator: Brian Bolland

    Colorist: John Higgins

    A writer should have balls, and I don’t mean the organic meat sacs, since a female writer is the same entitled to have balls. But if you aren’t confortable with the “male metaphor”, I am confident that you already got that I am talking about writing with courage.

    A writer without courage never will be able to impact the readers.

    Madonna commented many years ago that there is not such thing as bad publicity, that any publicity is good publicity.

    So, fitting that concept into writing, I think that there isn’t such thing as “bad impact”, that any impact is good impact. Since if people talk about a book, about a story, not matter their intention, the story becomes famous, it provokes curiousity, people got aware of it.

    Alan Moore never thought that DC Comics would approve his proposal about this Batman’s story involving the crippling of Barbara Gordon. But it was approved by the editorial staff, and a surprised Alan Moore started to write…

    .

    I am not insensitive, and I can understand why so many people got angry to the nasty stuff that the character of Barbara Gordon suffered in this story. However, sometimes a bad thing happened for a good reason.

    Barbara Gordon was Batgirl. But, to be honest, how much difference can she does as such heroine? She was just yet another bat-costumed crime-fighter and trust me, for Batman, that he’s supposed to be a “lonely crusader”, he has too many bat-costumed crime-fighters around. However, due her awful episode in

    , Barbara Gordon proved her value as character… proved

    .

    Barbara Gordon became a handicapped person, but hardly of disappearing from the pages of comics, she

    into “Oracle”, and as such persona, she turned to be one of the most powerful characters in the DC Universe. From her wheelchair, using her intelligence, hacking skills and information searches, she became a key ally to not only the Bat-family but also the Titans and even the Justice League.

    And then… due social pressure from people that never really understood the value of Barbara Gordon, DC Comics devolved her to be Batgirl again. Yipee, hurray (using Droopy’s voice tone). Yet another bat-costumed throwing-batarangs character again, one of many others. All her courage overcoming a monumental tragedy, just erased.

    And curious that people raged against what Barbara suffered but nobody gave a crap about James Gordon’s own suffering and humiliation, but of course, if you are a heterosexual caucasian man (even if you are an imaginary character reflecting that type of person)… you’re screwed, since nobody will defend your dignity. (and hey, I am a latin man, so since I am part of a “minority” group, if you attack my review, I am in my “right” of accusing you of a racist/ethnic hate act… geez! What a crazy world where we live in!)

    It seems that villains can do all the harm and killing that they wish,

    only if they target heterosexual caucasian men, since it seems that any other type of people in this world is under the label of some “minority” group and therefore, there will be rage riots about it.

    I think that “labels” instead of unite us, they just keep away the distance between each other in this little blue planet. People see me as a heterosexual latin man. And I can’t deny that. That’s what I am in the eyes of society. I born that way…

    …However, I’d prefer to be a “citizen of the world”. But maybe I am crazy, since it looks like everybody else feels confortable under the safety of their particular sex/ethnic labels.

    And call me crazy again, but it seems that in real life, criminals just pick any kind of victim, regardless of their sexual preferences or ethnic origins, just watch the news anyday, so I don’t understand why literature should present politically correct villains only.

    Writers! Don’t lose your courage! It’s not an easy path, but true born writers aren’t meant to travel in safe roads. We, readers, are an unthankful species, we don’t deserve you. However, I hope that you, writers, still being willing to impact us, to make us think, and to provoke us feelings.

    Batman is a cause of order. Joker is a force of chaos. Right?

    Therefore, they are totally different. Right?

    is

    .

    One bad day. That was all they needed to get crazy.

    You may tell me: “Oh! But only Joker is crazy!”. Right. Since disguising as a bat is clearly a sanity’s proof.

    Joker’s origins are unknown (since you can’t trust what you read in this tale about his past, after all, those are the memories of an insane killer), but you can be sure that something bad, something very bad, happened to him, one day, and the following day, he turned to be The Joker.

    Bruce Wayne had a bad day, a very bad day, his parents died in front of him while he was still just a defenseless kid, and the following day, he turned to be The Batman (training could take years, but he was The Batman since that moment).

    The Joker kills people in very theatrical ways.

    The Batman protects people in very theatrical ways.

    Gotham City is in the middle…

    …in the hands of murdering clowns and costumed vigilantes…

    …in the hands of mad men.

    The only one that keeps Gotham City from falling deep into madness?

    James Gordon.

    The Joker will do everything (and I mean

    ) to give to James Gordon, a bad day, a very bad day, and turned him crazy.

    But that’s not the scariest thing…

    …oh, no…

    …that isn’t

    .

    The scariest thing is when two people, supposed to be opposites…

    …they laugh for the same joke.

    Mic drop, and I’m outta here!

  • Jeff
    Oct 11, 2013

    Should some origin stories be better left untold?

    Comic publishers will embellish the backstory of character more than necessary or drag it out and milk it, or they’ll retcon the character one too many times until the reader doesn’t know which way is up. If there’s a month, a week, a day, a couple of minutes left undocumented in a character’s background, it’ll be fodder for a future story.

    Does the Joker need an origin story?

    Some basic facts are presented here: He was once “normal”. He became a

    Should some origin stories be better left untold?

    Comic publishers will embellish the backstory of character more than necessary or drag it out and milk it, or they’ll retcon the character one too many times until the reader doesn’t know which way is up. If there’s a month, a week, a day, a couple of minutes left undocumented in a character’s background, it’ll be fodder for a future story.

    Does the Joker need an origin story?

    Some basic facts are presented here: He was once “normal”. He became a small time criminal out of necessity. He inadvertently gets dumped into a vat of

    chemicals by Batman. As a result, he goes stark, raving bonkers.

    How much more of the Joker’s backstory do we want to be privy to? Do we need to add the fact that he was a struggling stand-up comedian and had a pregnant wife to the mix? Is sympathy necessary to appreciate and like the character even more?

    The Joker’s persona is established as a homicidal loon, but do we have to be there at square one? Can his “accident” really turn him from an ordinary guy to a criminal mastermind, divorced of all humanity? Can the collective comic reader brain fill in the blanks themselves, leaving something to the imagination and not have it spoon fed to us? Do we need the complete story?

    Back in the ‘80’s, before the ‘90’s when collectors nearly killed off the industry (Psst. Hey mister, you wanna buy a truckload of alternate foil #1 issues of Spider-Man 2099?), comic book creators were expanding the kiddie-geared bounds of storytelling by getting edgy and no one was more on board with the movement to more mature themes than Alan Moore, hence his interest in the Joker’s story.

    This isn’t a Batman book. Bats comes off as weak, conciliatory, a step behind the Joker, his arch-nemesis. Sure I get the oft presented theory that they’re two parts to a whole, ying to the yang, “you complete me”, “let’s stop the madness, because one of us is going to die” yada, yada, yada… Here, Batman is a second banana.

    The Joker even gets the better of Batman in combat! More than once!

    Brian Bolland’s art is exceptional and sells the story far better than Moore’s writing. That said, this a graphic novel that fans of Batman and the super hero genre should check out, if they haven’t done so already. It’s a defining moment in the Batman family legend and a game changer for Barbara Gordon -> Batgirl -> Oracle.

    : This book has some panels that will be burned into your brain for the rest of your life. The Joker shooting Barbara Gordon usually makes top five lists of most memorable comic moments.

    Seeing Commissioner Gordon trussed up naked and led around an abandoned amusement park by creepy, deranged midgets and driven to the edge of insanity is something I’d like to mind wipe.

    “Top of the pile of dolls, Ma!!”

  • Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
    Dec 09, 2014

    2.5 stars rounded up.

    This book was much better than "The Watchmen" to me. I may just not be a fan of Alan Moore's writing.

    I mean it has this guy!

    and I still didn't fan-girl over it.

    It was an okay book for me though. You get the origins of the Joker..who I think is one of the best villains ever.

    It's a dark one though for those of you who don't like dark. Barbara Gordan (aka-Batgirl) gets shot by the joker and he doesn't stop there. He pulls out full assholeness for this one.

    The artwork is frigg

    2.5 stars rounded up.

    This book was much better than "The Watchmen" to me. I may just not be a fan of Alan Moore's writing.

    I mean it has this guy!

    and I still didn't fan-girl over it.

    It was an okay book for me though. You get the origins of the Joker..who I think is one of the best villains ever.

    It's a dark one though for those of you who don't like dark. Barbara Gordan (aka-Batgirl) gets shot by the joker and he doesn't stop there. He pulls out full assholeness for this one.

    The artwork is frigging awesome though. (Had to throw that in)

  • Ana
    Oct 13, 2015

    Brilliant, absolutely loved it! This is the best Batman graphic novel ever written.

    Here we have a collection that includes two of the greatest comic book characters. The Caped Crusader aka Batman and the Clown Prince of Crime aka the Joker. (suck on that Marvel)

    What can I say about Joker? He is my favorite villain of all time. He's the greatest, hands down.

    He's been a constant thorn in Batman's side. Batsy's been trying

    Brilliant, absolutely loved it! This is the best Batman graphic novel ever written.

    Here we have a collection that includes two of the greatest comic book characters. The Caped Crusader aka Batman and the Clown Prince of Crime aka the Joker. (suck on that Marvel)

    What can I say about Joker? He is my favorite villain of all time. He's the greatest, hands down.

    He's been a constant thorn in Batman's side. Batsy's been trying to stop him since like… forever. He tends to brood a lot. Deep thoughts, he's thinking “How can two people hate so much without knowing each other?” So he confronts the Joker and he's completely all, whatever, dude.

    The Joker simply doesn't care, it's all just a game to him.

    I don't like Batman, I love him. He's the world's greatest detective. He's an outstanding martial artist. He's a technology enthusiast. He's the world's broodiest billionaire. Batman wins. Every time. Why? *Christian Bale's gruff growl* Because he's Batman.

    Oh to live in Gotham...

  • Melissa ♥ Dog Lover ♥ Martin
    Mar 05, 2016

    MY BLOG:

    I'm sure everyone and their cousin has already read this book, but I haven't so here we go. This is about how the joker turned nutsy cuckoo! He had a good job but left it thinking he could be a stand up comedian and support his wife and unborn baby. Well.... that didn't happen, he apparently wasn't funny --->who knew?

    Then he goes and tries to get some crime job with some idiots

    MY BLOG:

    I'm sure everyone and their cousin has already read this book, but I haven't so here we go. This is about how the joker turned nutsy cuckoo! He had a good job but left it thinking he could be a stand up comedian and support his wife and unborn baby. Well.... that didn't happen, he apparently wasn't funny --->who knew?

    Then he goes and tries to get some crime job with some idiots so he could have the money until he could figure something out. Being out in a warehouse with said "idiots".. he has some stupid mask on, they get chased by security, he falls in some chemical crap and comes out whackadoo. I think it's brilliant.

    Then he goes and shoots batgirl, kidnaps the commissioner and puts him in some freak show at a carnival he bought (or stole). It's just all so freaky and cool! I'm going to leave it at that and close with some awesome graphics! :-)

    My favorite is when they are laughing at his joke in the picture above ↑ :-D

    We are all mad here! Fin

  • Bookworm Sean
    Mar 11, 2016

    Now this was good, and I mean good. It’s such a simple idea, but so real and powerful. I mean one bad day is all it takes. One push, one snap, one descent into chaos and it’s over. Once you’ve crossed that threshold then things will never be the same again. And the Joker, being the sly and brilliant villain that he is, wants to share the experience with the world.

    Now this was good, and I mean good. It’s such a simple idea, but so real and powerful. I mean one bad day is all it takes. One push, one snap, one descent into chaos and it’s over. Once you’ve crossed that threshold then things will never be the same again. And the Joker, being the sly and brilliant villain that he is, wants to share the experience with the world. He wants to show humanity that they are not that far from him. The first man he wants to reduce is the stalwart Commissioner Gordon. But, I think we all know who is intended victim actually is.

    The Joker was once normal. He had a girlfriend; he had a job, but the world shitted on him somewhat chronic. And like many people he was forced to turn to crime; he was forced to break society's rules in order to survive. That’s where it all began. That first step into the darkness led to many other steps down the road of corruption. It wasn’t long before petty crime turned to murder and butchery. The Joker became ruined and lost himself in his nasty deeds. This is a great origin story, one that fully lives up to the character immense personality. Allan More totally nails it.

    And the ending, it’s all about the ending. The Joker’s personality is infectious. At least, he wants it to be. He’s always tried to bring down the good. He ruined Harvey Dent, and he has always wanted to ruin the bat. And he just may have. The end is suggestive of two things: firstly, Batman strangling the Joker in one final heroic act, there’s some irony in that sentence; secondly, Batman descending to the Jokers level and embracing the insanity of one bad day.

    I'll leave you with this picture and see if you can decide:

  • Mohammed Arabey
    Jul 22, 2016

    الجوكر تقريبا من اكتر الأشرار اللي فاقت شعبيتهم شخصية البطل "السوبرهيرو" نفسه

    ولو مش عارف ايه الكاريزما اللي وصلته لكدة...لازم تشوف الحكاية القصيرة العبقرية دي

    "صورة نادرة لباتمان يبتسم :)"

    الجوكر تقريبا من اكتر الأشرار اللي فاقت شعبيتهم شخصية البطل "السوبرهيرو" نفسه

    ولو مش عارف ايه الكاريزما اللي وصلته لكدة...لازم تشوف الحكاية القصيرة العبقرية دي

    "صورة نادرة لباتمان يبتسم :)"

    "الفنان برايان بولاند وهو يصور نفسه تحضيرا لرسم الغلاف الأيقوني"

    "ملحوظة, لنفس الرسام له كوميكس في النسخة الحديثة عن رجل برئ, جمع برسومه المتقنة اشهر اشرار عالم باتمان في قصة قصيرة جدا تخيلية عن الخير والشر"

    محمد العربي

    من 22 يوليو 2016

    الي 23 يوليو 2016

  • Fino
    Oct 02, 2016

    One of the classic and most brutal Joker vs Batman graphic novels, The Killing Joke is a Batman classic and should be considered one of the essential canonical books in the genre. The Joker is as sinister and terrifying as ever and Batman is pushed to his limits and beyond. A fantastic fast-moving and beautifully drawn epic!