The Badger On: Batman: The Killing Joke (Graphic Novel and Movie)

killing joke

 

If you read my other blog you would know that I am on a bit of a DC binge with all my entertainment pursuits being DC related with the exception of The Magicians (only one episode left!!) and strangely enough episodes of the first season of Pokemon (blame GO for that). Hell, I watched Dawn of Justice twice last week alone and the extended edition to boot. My assessment on re-watch is that I know what they were trying to achieve with the movie, especially when it comes to Lex, I just don’t think they pulled it off with the exception being WONDER WOMAN!!! The SDCC for her movie is PHENOMENAL BTW so is Justice League one.

Enough of me hyping movies that won’t be released until next year. Today’s review/opinion piece is on the well-known and critically acclaimed book and the animated version of it, Batman: The Killing Joke.

The graphic novel is written by Alan Moore with the art by Brian Bollard and was released in 1988. Admittedly I had only read the book for the first time about a month ago. Actually that is wrong I bought the book in March of this year in preparation of when the movie will be released. I started to read it but the content and story is a little full on so I stopped reading only to pick it up about a month ago to finish reading it.

The story is considered a possible origin story for the Joker and even he states in the book that he prefers his past to be multiple choice. During the story we see flashbacks to what Moore and Bollard see as his origin. A former chemical engineer who quits to be a comedian and fails. With a pregnant wife, who he cannot support, he agrees to lead some crooks though the chemical plant he worked for so they can rob the factory next door. On the day of the job he is told that his wife and unborn child have died in a freak accident but is forced to do the job anyway. Wearing the Red Hood mask he leads them through only to be found by security and Batman. Scared and unable to see properly he trips and falls in a vat of chemicals and gets washed into the overflow bleaching his skin, turning his hair green and insane.

In the ‘present day’ Joker shoots Barbara Gordon and as his goons kidnap Commissioner Gordon. The Joker takes provocative photos of her as she is injured and bleeding (this is what made me stop reading the book). They take the Commissioner to an abandoned amusement park, strip him naked and subject him to torture, including the photos that Joker had taken of his daughter. Joker is doing this to prove a point. That even the best of people, the Police Commissioner of Gotham City perhaps, can be driven completely insane after having one bad day.

Batman, naturally shows up and rescues the Commissioner, who is not insane and orders him to do it by the book. After a fight in which Joker does his bad-guy monolouge in which he informs Batman what the purpose of it all was and correctly guesses that Batman does what he does because he too had a bad day. Batman, of course wins and lets Joker know that the Commissioner is not insane and that it is only him that went insane after all. He then offers Joker help as he fears that their rivalry will lead to one killing the other, in which of course Joker refuses. The story ends with the Joker telling a joke and both of them laughing.

Now the movie sticks very faithfully to this story with the exception of the first third to half of the movie, it is not a long story after all. The first part revolves around Barbara Gordon/Batgirl and I understand why they did it to. For those that are going to watch the movie who have never read the book or know much about Barbara Gordon, for something like what happened to her matter to the audience you have to care and you have to see why Batman cares. A friend of mine who was lucky enough to see the movie in theatre called the Batgirl part a backstory and in some ways it was but it was more of what leads Batgirl to quit.

I am, however, a little uncertain of it all maybe on re-watch and on a bigger screen (I watched in on a iPad Mini) I might appreciate/like it more. Barbara comes off cocky and arrogant which of course leads Batman to pull her reigns in a bit which of course makes her down right bratty. That didn’t really make me like her all that much and then the Batman/Batgirl fight leading to sex didn’t make it much better. I wasn’t surprised by the Bat sex per say as that part of their relationship had been hinted at in other DC related media that I had read or watched and I realise that it is not unnatural for something like that to happen but I just not sure if it was appropriate.

That being said it the movie was very well made and the voice acting was naturally wonderful. In Batman circles when you have Kevin Conroy as Batman and Mark Hamill as the Joker you can’t get any better. Tara Strong also did a  great job with Barbara Gordon as did Ray Wise as Commissioner Gordon.

 

Graphic Novel: badgerbadgerbadgerbadger

Movie: badgerbadgerbadger 1/2

 

I just couldn’t resist!!!