Batman: The Killing Joke Review


The Killing Joke – one of my favorite Batman graphic novels. Written by British comic, Alan Moore & first published 1988, it simply changed the world, well it did for the DC universe. Stirring controversies involving unnecessary (and yet necessary) violence by Joker, showing him in his true elements. Suitable for mature readers only.

The Killing Joke, written by Alan Moore
Art & Colors – Brian Bolland
Letterer – Richard Starkings
Publisher: DC Comics
Edition: Hardcover, 20th Anniversary Deluxe edition
Format: One Shot
Publication date: March 2008 (originally published March 1998)

I don’t remember which is the first graphic novel I read or which I bought. But I know that this is one of the first that made a mark, drew me into the world of Graphic Novels. Every time I read this again, I am blown away by its sheer flawlessness. Alan Moore (V for Vendetta, Watchmen) brings out Joker as the insanely brilliant character that he is. As the pages turn, the plot gets thicker. The unimaginable takes place – limits are crossed, characters will change forever and yet everything will go on, as it must. The one-shot written, not with an intention for continuation, forces the future of DC universe to evolve. The deluxe edition recolored by Brian Bolland, the artist himself. John Higgin’s original coloring for the 1988 version was great but Brian takes this further. The scenes of the flashback take you to a whole new level. Take off the dust cover and you will be in for treat to find what is hidden… a must buy for any Batman fan. This book is supposed to have heavily influenced the Nolan brothers on The Dark Knight.

I own 3 publications of the book:

Since I’ve bought this, I don’t even recall what the other stories are!
DC Universe: The Stories of Alan Moore ISBN 1401209270

2nd Print Edition that I found on eBay
Batman: The Killing Joke ISBN 0-930289-45-5

A super gift to an avid Batman fan:
Batman: The Killing Joke – 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition ISBN 9781401216672


This book gave me one of my favorite quotes:


All it takes is one bad day to reduce the sanest man alive to lunacy. That’s how far the world is from where I am. Just one bad day.

Spoiler alert!

Ok you have been warned. Hope you have read the graphic novel before reading the next bit.

The Killing Joke’s end is said to be heavily debated – did Batman kill Joker? The author has not commented on it. So in a way it’s left to the reader’s imagination. It was written as a one shot. The story begins with Batman asking the question to Joker what would happen in the end and whether they would kill each other. At the end, with the silence – is it a possibility that Batman finally killed Joker? Isn’t that the Killing Joke? The last Batman story.

Check out below Grant Morrison’s interview with Kevin Smith sharing his opinion on the same:

The ambiguity at the end could also believe that the cycle begins again. Joker back in Arkham, he escapes & Batman is on the chase again.