Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Comic Book Consideration Special: Batman the Killing Joke

       Hello and welcome to another special edition of Comic Book Consideration. This week we look at Batman the Killing Joke from 1988.

        Last time we looked at the Feline enemy and sometime friend of Batman but this week we look at the Joker who is among the biggest foe that the Dark Knight has and likely one of the most insane. Joker first appeared in Batman #1 from 1940 and went on to terrorize the Dark Knight from than on. However, by 1988 when the Killing Joke come out Crisis on Infinite Earth had occurred helping to move Batman Comics to be even more dark and into the era of some of the best Batman stories. The Killing Joke than works to show how truly evil the Joker is and helps to bring about great change to the Batman universe. Heading into spoilers it led to Barbara Gordon being shot in the spine and not being able to walk again. While this would be retconned by the New 52 to only a few years it lead to one of the best characters that of Oracle. She was an example of a person who though disability still did the good fight. The story outside of the Comics also had an effect on the 1989 Tim Burton movie. While much was changed and reworked the idea that Batman created the Joker is used. So too is a mob connection.
        With some of the Background and the importance of the Killing Joke now examined let us turn to the plot of the special. This story written by Alan Moore has two interconnected stories that interweave. Half of the it takes part in the present where the Joker invades Commissioner Gordon's home and shots his daughter Barbara. The rest deals with Batman tracking down the Joker who is trying to break Commissioner Gordon with the believe that one bad day can break a man. he fails but Batman and him share a laugh as Gotham P.D arrive. The other side of this tale looks at one possible Joker origin story and how he came to be. He is married and worked as a engineer but quite to be a stand up Comedian but is deemed unfunny. One day his wife dies and the mob asks him to become the Red Hood for a night at a chemical plant. He does only to face Batman and fall into a chemical tailing pond. Transformed into the Joker and driven mad his last part of sanity gone. However, is this truly what happened the Joker at best is know to make up lies and other factors that thus helps to give extra depth to the story.
       With the story out of the way let us turn to the Artwork in this special. The artwork especially in the 10th anniversary edition is great. It features a great and well drawn Batman.
                                   It also uses effects this quite well.

The Joker is perhaps drawn as one of his best appearances. The look of his face and changed appearance is also done well. Faces play a key role in the artwork in this story and add a great depth to it. Lastly, the time out of feeling of the characters and the look of Gotham also helps the story. especially the appearance of a old style Bat Mobile.
       Having explored both the story and artwork let's turn to the Plus and Minuses of this tale.
-Story that helps to define the Joker and Batman relationship
-Leads to the creation of Oracle one my favorite D.C comics character
-Helps to influence not just comics but also the 89 Batman movie and many of the Arkham games as well
-unreliability of Jokers origin story also makes it quite neat

-treatment of Barbara and the sexism that flows in the comic and behind it is quite telling
- it is still canon in the New 52 but did not now cause permanent loss of walking for Barbara making it possible for her to become Batgirl again and lessen the special place Oracle had

     In closing, Batman the Killing Joke from 1988 offers a possible origin story of the Joker. It is interweaved with the present of Joker tying to break Jim Gordon after shooting his daughter. The artwork especially in the 10th anniversary edition is great  and really adds to the story. While the story is definitive a product of its time the influence it has had on Batman and his universe is clear to see making it work a read. Ultimately, I would give this story and trade a recommendation but would say it is not the all time best Batman Story but a great one still.                

No comments:

Post a Comment