Writer: Alan Moore

Artist: Brian Bolland

Colorist: John Higgins

The Good

This isn’t your typical Batman comic. Released in 1988 The Killing Joke has stood the test of time. Batman vs. Joker might be the most oversaturated rivalry in the history of comic books, but this is the story that set the bar a bar that 33 years later is still yet to have been eclipsed. The dark tone and gritty style alone are enough to pull you in and keep you interested, but everything from the art to the story is about as good as it gets. To me this is the comic that makes the Joker the most beloved villain of all time, as well as one of the first to really delve into the root of the evilness of its villain—a trend that’s been copied hundreds of times since. The Joker is such a complex character that, in a world where Marvel and DC only make movies starring the heroes, the fans NEEDED to see the world from the Joker’s point of view. 2019’s Joker, loosely based on this oneshot, made a billion dollars. And not to take away at all from Todd Phillips, Joaquin Phoenix, or the rest of the cast and crew by any means, but that movie never would’ve happened if not for The Killing Joke. The tones are identical, and given how talented of a director Phillips has proven to be over the years I have to think that was done intentionally.

The Bad

This will be short and sweet. If you prefer the popcorn, PG Batman comics then The Killing Joke is probably is not for you, but if you like the grittier, rated M style, then there isn’t a single bad thing to say about this series.

The Veredict

Not only is The Killing Joke arguably the best Batman comic of all time, but it’s possibly one of the best COMIC BOOKS of all time. Tim Burton, who directed Batman and Batman Returns, has been swearing by this claim since the ‘80s, and it’s hard to dispute. Sympathizing with our villains has become so prevalent across all types of media these days, and The Killing Joke is one of the first and best to do so. It puts all the best things about the Joker on full display. There’s nothing heroic about the villain, and yet something about him is just so damn intriguing that we still love him, if not love to hate him. Many of us likely sympathize with his mental illness, and it’s hard not to laugh at his twisted sense of humor, especially for comic book standards. It’s hard to imagine that any comic book fan over the age of 15 hasn’t read this one yet, but if for some crazy reason you haven’t (or, even crazier, never heard of it), then you need to pick it up now.

SCORE: 9.0

About the Author: Robert Napolitano

Robert Napolitano

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