Way Too Late Review – ‘Batman: The Killing Joke’
I know, I know, it’s downright criminal that I made it all the way to age 34 and hadn’t read Batman: The Killing Joke before now. Well, I finally got around to reading Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s 1988 graphic novel. Hailed as a seminal story and book, I figure it’s time to see what all the fuss is about.
I managed to pick up Batman: The Killing Joke at the local Hasting’s and read through it pretty quickly. I like that it’s a complete story and that it isn’t very long at all, coming in at under 50 pages. The art is fantastic and the story is really very good too.
Now that I’m going back and reading Batman stories, I keep finding ones that have influenced directors of the Batman movies. This one helped Tim Burton with his Batman movies; Burton has said “I loved The Killing Joke…It’s my favorite. It’s the first comic I’ve ever loved.” That’s pretty high praise as Burton is known for telling great stories.
Let’s dig in to my actual review for Batman: The Killing Joke. I guess honesty is the best policy here: overall, I wasn’t blown away by the book. I don’t know if it’s because I haven’t been reading Batman comics for my whole life, but for whatever reason it just didn’t make we say, “Wow.”
That’s not to say that I don’t like the book, I like it a lot; it simply wasn’t the transformative read that I thought it would be. Perhaps I had too many expectations of what I was going to get before I picked it up. Maybe it’s that this story and style has influenced so many later Batman stories that I didn’t feel the full shock of the action.
If you asked me, “Should I read Batman: The Killing Joke?” my answer would be very easy to give: “Yes, read it now. Then read it again.” That’s what I can’t figure out. I really liked this book but I wanted it to change the way that I look at comics, and it failed to live up to that expectation. That is something that I don’t have an answer to.
But I want to. I want you to tell me why I have the feeling about this book that I do. Help with come up with why it doesn’t live up to what I think it should. Help me feel better about what this book is and its place in comics. Help me everyone, you’re my only hope.