Thursday, November 17, 2016

Alan Moore's The Killing Joke: A Review

In short, yes I read comics and graphic novels. Full disclosure, the combination of Watchmen and V for Vendetta come off as not only some the best written comics/graphic novels I have ever read, but also strong pieces of literature in general. Alan Moore has a unique art for story telling and he explores themes that can make the skin crawl and the mind ponder. In The Killing Joke he furthers this tradition as he explores the never ending conflict between Batman and his nemesis: The Joker.

The comic, available in hardbound form, follows Batman and his personal quest to understand first The Joker and second the root of their classical battle of good versus evil. In the form of the latter comes the truth—there are multiple references throughout the pages to police work being done the right way, to Batman being on the right side of the law. This conflict relates to the antihero status of the character—a man who takes law enforcement into his own hands, and often breaks the law in doing so. Even when faced with the unthinkable, Barbara Gordon paralyzed at The Joker’s hands and her father naked and in the cage of an abandoned amusement park, Batman must fight with himself. Does he attack and kill his enemy, or does he look for an amicable solution?

Either way he wants to talk. This a mature Bruce Wayne, a man ready to see life calm down. He wants to live and he wants The Joker to survive as well. Rehabilitation is not only allowed but perhaps desirable. In the course of the story arc, we see the exploration of these themes, moving forward until we end with a single joke.

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