“All it takes is one bad day to reduce the sanest man to lunacy….”

Written by Juan Martinez

The Killing Joke by Alan Moore.

Considered one of the best Batman comics of all time. Alan Moore’d Killing Joke is a tale of both suspense, horror, tragedy and even a few jokes here and there. That one even forgets that you’re reading a comic.

The story begins with Batman making a trip to Arkham Asylum to talk to the Joker, trying to make an attempt to once and for all make peace with each other and stop the insanity and destruction that they both bring to Gotham. The only problem is….Joker has once again escaped the Asylum and is currently at an abandoned Amusement Park thinking up of a new scheme to cause problems like never before.

The story then jumps to flashbacks of none other than the Joker himself. It turns out old Mr. J was once a regular human being. He had a wife, a home, and even a child on the way. Although not everything was perfect in pre joker land, he was also a struggling comedian that wasn’t very good at his job and was in a whole lot of debt. Debt that he would do anything to get out of.

From here on out the comic does a good balance of showing the Jokers past and his current plan to mess up Gotham. Which let me tell you is a doozy of one. He begins it by trying to prove how “it takes one bad day to reduce the sanest man to lunacy” and sadly the man he chooses to prove his point with is, Commissioner Gordon. The Joker is ruthless in his goal to make Gordon insane and commits a crime so horrible it ended up changing a character in the series for years until the New 52 storyline.

Without giving too much away the final act of the book is such a page turner. It explains how Joker came to be and what exactly happened on the one bad day that drove him insane, and how the first meeting with the Batman turned out and how much of an impact it had on him. I can’t dare spoil how the modern times confrontation goes but I’ll say that if you’re a Joker fan, you won’t be disappointed with his portrayal and how he delivers the “Killing Joke” that the title is named for.

Of course I have to talk about the art in this story. I managed to pick up the deluxe edition that released in 2008 and Brian Bolland’s work is fantastic. The colors are dark and very nice to look at and when the flashback scenes come into play he goes for a black and white look reminiscent of older films with only a few items colored that gives the reader foreshadowing as to how the Joker ends up where he is. A bonus for getting the Deluxe edition is you get a full colorized version of “An Innocent Man” which was released in Batman: Black and White a few years prior.

With one of the best monologues in comic book history and an ending that’ll really make you think about what you just read. The Killing Joke is a comic you can’t pass up. It heavily inspired both the 1989 film Batman and 2008’s The Dark Knight, and if you look hard enough you can even see scenes taken straight out of the book. If you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, do so and if you have, give it a read when you’re having a bad day it might keep you from going crazy.

Rating:
Killing Joke gets a 10/10