When it comes to Batman and his lengthy history, there are a few must-read stories. Stories that altered the way we view and think of Batman, and some of his greatest foes. Alan Moore just so happens to be responsible for more than a single one of those stories. My personal favorite, however, is less about Batman and more about Joker than anything. It’s only appropriate that the book be titled Batman: The Killing Joke.
What we get here is no doubt the greatest Joker story ever told. It’s a bold thing to craft a Joker origin story. It’s far bolder to tell that story all the while pushing Batman’s greatest villain to depravities unknown even to this legendary monster. Never has the grinning one been so cutthroat and vile. Never has he pushed Batman in such fashion. Never has he been so frightening.
That’s another element of the book that steals my soul. This is a genuinely frightening Batman book, and that’s brilliant. While I adore the silliness that comes with some of the earlier Detective Comics issues, I’ve been much more keen on edgier tales (Shadow of the Bat was a brilliant run), and this fits the bill.
So, as we’re reading this issue, we find ourselves – for the first time in a long time – wondering if Batman will actually capture the Joker before he can slaughter an excessive amount of decent Gothamites. That’s a mystery we don’t typically get from Batman books, and it’s absolutely amazing.
What more can be said of this one other than major, major respect to the legendary Alan Moore and the master of cover art, and former boss of the insides, artist Brian Bolland. These two are mind bogglingly good together. These men don’t make comic books, they make very real, very respectful artwork that, as The Killing Joke proves, is truly timeless.