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Batman: The Killing Joke Paperback – December 1, 1995

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Product Details

  • Series: Batman Beyond (DC Comics)
  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: DC Comics; Graphic Novel edition (December 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0930289455
  • ISBN-13: 978-0930289454
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 0.2 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (783 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #726,223 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

The Killing Joke, one of my favorite Batman stories ever, stirred a bit of controversy because the story involves the Joker brutally, pointlessly shooting Commissioner Gordon's daughter in the spine. This is a no-holds-barred take on a truly insane criminal mind, masterfully written by British comics writer Alan Moore. The art by Brian Bolland is so appealing that his depiction of the Joker became a standard and was imitated by many artists to follow.

From School Library Journal

This classic, infamous story in the Batman saga has been recolored with a more effectively cooler palette and set into context with an introduction and an afterword. Escaped from Arkham Asylum, villain deluxe Joker shoots Barbara "Batgirl" Gordon as part of his plan to drive her police commissioner father insane. Intending to prove that anyone can go mad after "one bad day" as he describes in his putative origin story, the Joker also kidnaps and torments Commissioner Gordon. But Gordon remains sane, and Batman recaptures the Joker—the two actually share a laugh at the ambiguous ending. With Barbara Gordon now a paraplegic, the story stands as a chilling profile of madness. The Killing Joke provoked fury among many readers who lamented the disposal of Barbara Gordon as a mere pawn to testosterone; yet Gordon reinvents herself later as superinfohacker Oracle, poster girl for disability empowerment (see Birds of Prey, LJ 7/08). A bonus story at the end paints the quieter, equally chilling madness of a Batman fan fantasizing about killing the superhero—a perfect foil for the publicly gaudy Joker. For adult collections.—M.C.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

It's a must read for comic and batman fans.
Vader 77
Batman - The Killing Joke is one of the greatest Joker stories ever told by far not the singular one but one of the best.
This book is a great read, and it doesn't demand much of your time.
Ryan Mease

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

248 of 267 people found the following review helpful By trashcanman VINE VOICE on July 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Length: 2:37 Mins
"The Killing Joke" is widely considered to be the be-all-end-all of Joker stories, so what better way to pay homage to the greatest comic book villain of all time near the eve of his re-unveiling in The Dark Knight than by reviewing his definitive story? This is the comic that (sort of) revealed the origin of The Clown Prince of Crime, humanizing him to an extent never before, and truly examined -with pictures rather than words- the antagonistic symbiosis that exists between Joker and his arch nemesis, The Batman. A beloved Gotham regular will never be the same and another will be put through hell before this story is done. Oh, and there are creepy little henchmidgets as well. Gotta love the henchmidgets.

The art is outstanding, the storytelling superb, and the character examinations are vital to understanding both combatants. The "one bad day" premise highlights the "two sides of the same coin" argument that Batman and Joker are in fact more alike than dissimilar. As if Bruce Wayne took a right when his arch-nemesis took a left. The controversial ending leaves little doubt as to Alan Moore's take on the debate, and I like it like that. While many critics have strongly resisted both the comparison and the somewhat sympathetic look at The Joker's past, the truth is that every great character -villain or hero- needs that sort of intricacy to their story to remain relevant in the world of modern fiction. Comics are no longer for children and adults realize that the world is seldom black and white, that all monsters were once men, and that unspeakable darkness and insanity resides deep inside each human mind.
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42 of 49 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 3, 1999
Format: Paperback
Batman: The Killing Joke is the greatest story ever told about the origin of The Joker. What make this story so brilliant is how Batman, by accident, created his greatest foe. The art in this story is perhaps Brian Bolland's greatest achievement. (No one can draw The Joker better than Bolland. ex: The cover of the Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told). Alan Moore delivers a dark story about Batman and his relationship with the Joker. From the first page when Batman visits The Joker at Arkham Asylum on a dark stormy night, to exactly 24 hours later when Batman confronts The Joker at an abandon carnival is brillantly told by Moore in the format of The Dark Knight tradition. I thought it was brillant to begin and end this story with the same panel (rain falling on the ground) which shows no matter what fates happen to everyone else, Batman and The Joker will always end up where they started..."There were once Two men in a lunatic asylum..." This one-shot format for mature readers is also exceptional how it can merge two stories (Joker's origin and Batman's hunt for him) together. For example, When the Joker's hand is outstreched toward's the clown in fortune teller machine, the panel before shows The Joker reaching for his wife, with the same expression on her face...while his expression is reflected in the backround. It is almost as if he were having a flashback to his orgin. It is also interesting to see Batman confront The Joker and offer to help him, despite all The Joker has done. On the panel where The Joker glances at Batman before he says no to Batman's help is very scary in the fact that The Joker is actually considering to accept help from Batman. I guess the best example of Batman's and The Joker's relationship is on the back cover, with both of them on the same playing card...Forever together and forever different sides of the same coin...
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33 of 39 people found the following review helpful By TheIntruder on April 11, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Killing Joke is one of the few Batman stories where you actually feel for the Joker as a character. In most stories he either comes off as a charicature of a killer or a sinister and dispicable murderer who you can't have any sympathy for. One of Alan Moore's masterpieces, it even has a song that you can sing. Its funny, but the tune just comes to your head. You automatically know how you should be singing it. The pacing is very cinematic and it is not overburdened with words. Wordless captions make the story more fast paced.
Bolland (why doesn't he do more interiors these days?) is the best Joker (and Batman) artist of all time. The expressions of dispair that he draws on the faces of Barbara Gordon, the Joker, Commissioner Gordon and others are among the most realistic I have ever seen.
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29 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Darren O'Connor on July 21, 2004
Format: Paperback
I liked this story, generally speaking, but not unreservedly. Despite what others have written, saying the Joker needs no backstory, I actually liked it that we now have some idea where he came from. He is shown here as a failed comic, who is trying to eke out a living doing stand up comedy, but nobody laughs at his routines, and he can't support his wife. The scene where he momentarily snaps at his wife, and then is instantly regretful is very human and very believable, as is her trying to comfort him, and assure him that it doesn't matter and she loves him anyway. This makes it very understandable why he agreed to take part in the criminal venture that went awry and turned him into the Joker. He was desperate to be a husband and provider. There is also a moment where the Joker remembers his past life, and what he has lost, and you can see that there is a part of him that regrets it profoundly. This scene is done without words, and it is the artwork of Brian Bolland that makes it work.

But sympathetic though this treatment is, the Joker is too far gone in his insanity, and Moore shows this as well. Elsewhere in the story, the Joker commits some terribly brutal acts of wanton cruelty, which show why is such a feared villian in Batmans' rogue's gallery. He may have started out as a tragic, ordinary guy, but he has become a true monster.

That's the good. The bad is an out of character treatment of the Batman himself. The Joker is shown as SO brutal, dangerous, and slippery, that it is simply not believable that the Batman would not kill him, whatever his ordinary qualms about taking human life.
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