64 [includes introduction by Tim Sale, The Killing Joke, afterword by Brian Bolland, and An Innocent Guy]
The Joker has once again escaped from Arkham Asylum. This time though he targets Commissioner Gordon and his daughter Barbara Gordon AKA Batgirl.
Will Batman recapture the Joker before he drags Commissioner Gordon into the depths of madness?
I love this story. The Joker is one of my two favourite Batman villain and The Killing Joke is without a doubt one of my favourite Batman stories. I was recently lucky enough to receive The Deluxe Edition in hardcover as a gift.
The introduction by Tim Sale (artist of another of my favourite Batman stories The Long Halloween) is informative. It tells us about the inception of The Killing Joke; peeks at some of the differences between the 2008 reprint and the original release in 1988; and gives Sale the chance to gush about a story that features a major turning point for one of the most iconic DC heroes. All in all it is well worth taking a minute to read the introduction before diving into the action.
As I mentioned earlier, The Killing Joke is one of my favourite comics. It has the classic game of cat and mouse we have come to expect from interactions between Batman and the Joker … with several twists along the way.
It also tragically forces Barbara Gordon’s evolution to become Oracle as the injuries sustained in The Killing Joke leave her unable to retain the Batgirl mantle. No matter how many times I read it, the Joker’s treatment of Barbara is always heart-wrenching.
All of the things the Joker does to James and Barbara Gordon in The Killing Joke make Batman’s arrival so much more exciting. Barbara Gordon especially is a character who was loved and adored by millions of readers. So when the Batman comes swooping in to save James and avenge Barbara, it is a thrilling feeling.
The flashbacks to the Joker’s past are wonderful little snippets scattered throughout the story. Of course, the Joker’s origin changes from one story to the next, but in The Killing Joke you can truly believe that the events would have driven him to the state of madness he now occupies.
The artwork is gorgeous throughout The Killing Joke. To be honest, I am glad to live in a world where the recoloured deluxe edition exists. Advancements in printing technologies have made it possible for Bolland to revisit the colouring and bring it in line with his original vision. The result is visually stunning artwork to accompany a fascinating story.
The afterword written by The Killing Joke artist Brian Bolland is a lot of fun to read. Brian regales the reader with the changes he made to the artwork and why; discusses the private disagreement he had to certain points in the story; and takes a moment to have some fun with the fans reading.
After the afterword is a short comic called An Innocent Guy. It depicts a man who has lived his life on the right side of the law but dreams of walking on the wild side. His goal? Kill Batman. Is this an original goal? Not at all. Is the story an interesting read? Sure.
Putting together the four main aspects of Batman: The Killing Joke – The Deluxe Edition you have a great value book that can be read many times over. An absolute must have for any Batman fan.
“It’s all a joke! Everything anybody ever valued of struggled for… It’s all a monstrous, demented gag! So why can’t you see the funny side? Why aren’t you laughing?”
“Because I’ve heard it before and it wasn’t funny the first time.”