Originally released in 1988, Batman: The Killing Joke is widely considered to be a classic. It’s also considered to be one of the most important, as there are events that take place here that had ramifications in the DC universe for decades. Having finally gotten around to reading it, I see what the hype was all about.
Much of this tale focuses on the idea of how people deal with one really bad day. Everyone knows what Bruce Wayne’s was, but we see the Joker’s bad day manifest itself through the story’s many flashbacks. Unlike Batman, the Joker’s bad day drives him to insanity, which he now hopes he can pass onto Commissioner Gordon. He kidnaps Gotham’s police chief and in the flip of a page, shoots Barbara Gordon through the spine, which ended her run as Batgirl. Yes, she miraculously recovers from the injury in The New 52, but that event still haunts her in the comics to this day.
Light on action, The Killing Joke is much darker and cerebral piece that captures the psychological drama between the Joker and Batman. It’s a very strong and entertaining story with no shortage of high points. People mostly remember this story as the one where Barbara Gordon gets shot, but the whole package is amazing. It’s been said many times before by others, but I also recommend putting this on your Batman reading list if you haven’t already.
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