BOOK REVIEW | The Killing Joke


Rating: 5/5 stars

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Summary from Barnes and Noble:

According to the grinning engine of madness and mayhem known as The Joker, that’s all that separates the sane from the psychotic. Freed once again from the confines of Arkham Asylum, he’s out to prove his deranged point. And he¿s going to use Gotham City’s top cop, Commissioner Jim Gordon, and his brilliant and beautiful daughter Barbara to do it.

Now Batman must race to stop his archnemesis before his reign of terror claims two of the Dark Knight’s closest friends. Can he finally put an end to the cycle of bloodlust and lunacy that links these two iconic foes before it leads to its fatal conclusion? And as the horrifying origin of the Clown Prince of Crime is finally revealed, will the thin line that separates Batman’s nobility and The Joker’s insanity snap once and for all?


This is the first time I’m reviewing a graphic novel on this blog I believe and honestly I was waiting for the right one to start this with.  Alan Moore is by far my favorite writer in the graphic novel and superhero world and it felt only fitting to start the graphic novel reviews with one of his most incredible, and also most disturbing graphic novels.  The Killing Joke is not for everyone and I will say that there is one instant were it could be a bit trigger, although it is still very mild compared to other triggering pieces of literature.

This is the graphic novel were we, the reader, are presented with the first serious look at how the Joker became the Joker.  What caused him to be the psychotic man he is today?  And I must say that Moore did a beautiful job at presenting the Joker’s potential story with dignity.  The flashback series that allow us to glimpse back into the Joker’s former life are done minimally and flow very nicely with the story itself.  In my opinion the color scheme of the flashbacks has a large amount to do with this.

In each flashback we are presented with a different color scheme than we see in the main story.  It seems to be more of a dreary color compared to the vibrant and deep colors in the main story panels.  The flashback colors also seem to be more associated with the Joker’s state of despair as we see him struggle through financial and mental stress. In contrast the main story line panels are in full color and are deep rich tones, although they are very dark at times.

I think in terms of story this graphic novel was superb.  Although it was admitted that this may not be the Joker’s real backstory but one instead one of the delusions he came up with, I think it adds to who he is as a character.  It feeds the idea that all it takes is one bad day for a normal person to snap into insanity.  One bad day is ultimately all that separates the Joker and Batman, at least according to the Joker.


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