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Sunday, July 17, 2016
Batman: The Killing Joke - Comics From The Basement
Dwellers and Welcome to COMICS FROM THE BASEMENT!
Friday at San Diego Comic-Con, there will be the world premier of the
‘The Killing Joke’ film, and boy has the hype around it gone
through the freaking roof… because it has an ‘R-Rating’ and
they are going to remain ‘faithful’ to the original story…
just so happens that I have a copy of ‘The Killing Joke’… okay,
granted it’s the Deluxe Edition, because I wasn’t going to spent
$225 on a first print edition… and I figure why not review it this
those of you who may not know, this tells a dual story, and I’ll go
over them separately.
and biggest draw of it is that it tells the ‘origin’ of The
Joker, a failing stand up comedian who is desperate to support his
pregnant wife and who gets roped into taking part of a robbery of
where he use to work… his wife dies in an accident, the goons who
talk him into the robbery make him wear the mask of the ‘Red Hood’
and he ends up taking a bath, diving into chemical waste to avoid the
Batman, which transformed his body into how we’ve come to see the
Joker today: Chalk white skin, ruby red lips and green hair… which
combined with everything else… drives him totally insane.
basically became the ‘accepted’ origin of the Clown Prince of
Crime, in fact it ended up being worked into Tim Burton’s 1989
Batman movie… and establishes the parallel of The Joker and Batman
being two sides of the same coin, both having been ‘created’
thanks to a unique series of tragic circumstances. However,
considering the end game was to drive this nameless guy to be the
Joker, there isn’t any sense of ‘what if’ beyond that of ‘what
if’ his comedy career was a success… because even if his wife
didn’t die, he still would’ve gone through with the robbery, and
more than likely became The Joker anyway.
get to the other plot… in present day (well 1988 Gotham)… The
Joker has escaped from Arkham, and has reached his apparent breaking
point. He goes to the home of Commissioner Gordan, shoots and
paralyzes Barbara aka Batgirl… and sets about trying to make the
Commissioner’s mind snap, by giving him one hell of bad day,
stripping him naked, making him view pictures of his wounded
daughter… Batman eventually arrives, rescues Gordan who managed to
mentally survive the Joker’s plans to make him insane.
concludes with a confrontation between Batman and The Joker, Batman
being afraid that they are going to keep going around in circles
until one day they kill each other… The Joker being philosophical
about the world not being worth fighting for and correctly guessing
it was a ‘bad day’ that lead Batman to be what he is, just like a
‘bad day’ led him to become who he is… which leads to The Joker
telling Batman a joke, which makes him laugh… and apparently Bats
kills The Joker…
apparently because it’s left really ambiguous… we see them
sharing a laugh in the shadows, Batman hands placed on The Joker’s
shoulders and then… nothing...and since the events of this story
are considered canon obviously, Batman didn’t kill him. This side
of the story is decent and puts forward the fact that the
Batman-(Insert Random Name from his Rouge Gallery here) dynamic is forever stuck in the same cycle,
doomed to repeat itself until something happens to end it, namely
with Batman or the villain, being killed.
course, I have to talk about the one big thing from this story that
has caught people’s attention thanks to the movie coming out. And
that Barbara Gordan, whose days as Batgirl were done, being paralyzed
and would remain that way until 2011 with the New 52 Reboot (where
it’s stated she recovered)… and of everything in this story, this
would be the most controversial, as writer Alan Moore called it
‘shallow and ill-conceived’, and that when he asked editor Len
Wein of if it would be a problem, the word he got (from Executive
Editorial Director Dick Giordano) was to ‘Cripple the bitch’.
Moore obviously regrets this decision, and hasn’t had anything
positive to say about it in recent years. It hasn’t helped matters
that this is one of more infamous ‘Women in Refrigerators’
moments in comic book history… which is to de-power, weaken, kill
off and or devalue a female character with no chance of them being
restored to what they once were.
the Artwork is decent, but since this version of the story was
recolored for its re-release by Brian Bolland. Which leads me to
believe the reason why another story he did, ‘An Innocent Man’
from Batman Black and White , is included for no apparent reason. It
doesn’t connect to the main story at all, and could just as easily
be about anyone wanting to get ‘famous’ by being ‘Mark David
Chapman’ with Batman being ‘John Lennon’. It probably was part
of Bolland’s price to be work on the Deluxe Edition, since Alan
Moore hasn’t been too keen on it as I mentioned earlier.
wrap this up, the verdict here is simple, due to its historical
significance to The Batman franchise… yeah you have to check the
story out at some point, and because of its popularity, it’s easy
to get physical copies at mycomicshop.com, Amazon and eBay, plus of
course digitally via comixology.com.