Batman: Killing Joke (英語) ハードカバー – Special Edition, 2008/3/19
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A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
Presented for the first time with stark, stunning new coloring by Bolland, BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE is Alan Moore's unforgettable meditation on the razor-thin line between sanity and insanity, heroism and villainy, comedy and tragedy.
According to the grinning engine of madness and mayhem known as The Joker, that's all that separates the sane from the psychotic. Freed once again from the confines of Arkham Asylum, he's out to prove his deranged point. And he¿s going to use Gotham City's top cop, Commissioner Jim Gordon, and his brilliant and beautiful daughter Barbara to do it.
Now Batman must race to stop his archnemesis before his reign of terror claims two of the Dark Knight's closest friends. Can he finally put an end to the cycle of bloodlust and lunacy that links these two iconic foes before it leads to its fatal conclusion? And as the horrifying origin of the Clown Prince of Crime is finally revealed, will the thin line that separates Batman's nobility and The Joker's insanity snap once and for all?
Legendary writer Alan Moore redefined the super-hero with WATCHMEN and V FOR VENDETTA. In BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE, he takes on the origin of comics' greatest super-villain, The Joker —and changes Batman's world forever.
Stunningly illustrated, BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE, THE DELUXE EDITION has been lushly re-colored by artist Brian Bolland, presenting his original vision of this modern classic for the first time.
"Easily the greatest Joker story ever told, BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE is also one of Alan Moore's finest works. If you've read it before, go back and read it again. You owe it to yourself."—IGN
"...a genuinely chilling portrayal of Batman's greatest foe."—Booklist
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The art is outstanding, the storytelling superb, and the character examinations are vital to understanding both combatants. The "one bad day" premise highlights the "two sides of the same coin" argument that Batman and Joker are in fact more alike than dissimilar. As if Bruce Wayne took a right when his arch-nemesis took a left. The controversial ending leaves little doubt as to Alan Moore's take on the debate, and I like it like that. While many critics have strongly resisted both the comparison and the somewhat sympathetic look at The Joker's past, the truth is that every great character -villain or hero- needs that sort of intricacy to their story to remain relevant in the world of modern fiction. Comics are no longer for children and adults realize that the world is seldom black and white, that all monsters were once men, and that unspeakable darkness and insanity resides deep inside each human mind. It can take years of suffering to bring them out or it can take one bad day. One bad day could ruin your very existence and everything you were; it's a frightening reality that cannot be overlooked while reading this comic. The more the reader is willing to ponder the ideas put forth by this story, the more you are likely to appreciate "The Killing Joke". An outstanding achievement in storytelling any way you look at it.
I was tempted to knock this down to four stars because with this book you are buying a single issue of a comic for what you could easily pay for a full trade paperback or graphic novel of equal quality like, say, Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, which is so good it may very well cure cancer (can you prove it doesn't?). But the fact is no Batman fan should be without "The Killing Joke" and I would rather stick to reviewing based on quality rather than haggling over price. The bonus story at the end (written and illustrated by TKJ artist Brian Bolland) is a killer little mini-comic that serves as a perfect companion piece to the main story and definitely sweetens the pot for those wondering if they should get this hardcover edition. "The Killing Joke" is an absolute mindless must-have for fans of the comic book medium and even more so if you claim to be a follower of The Caped Crusader or his twisted nemesis. End of story.
It's nice to see The Killing Joke in hardcover and in a bigger page format. The crisp line work of Brian Bolland shines even more on a wider, longer page. His legendary hatching and feathering technique deserves the industry version of "widescreen". This is where my compliments on this edition mainly lie. The recoloring brings out a very different response in me.
The recoloring by penciller Brian Bolland for this edition was a mistake. Gone are the atmospheric tints and lighting effects from John Higgins. Gone are great effects like raindrops on The Joker's shoulder when he appears in the story for the first time. Gone is an important component of the story that stood along Moore's script and Bolland's fine penciling as something that made The Killing Joke a visual tale to be remembered by Batman and comic book fans alike.
Bolland's recoloring job for the most part looks like he turned white lights onto every scene set in the story's present narrative and therefore effectively kills the disturbing mood that Higgins colors had substantially helped inject into the story. Instead of the original presence of emotion and horror, this version takes on some visual blandness. The scene between Alfred and Batman in the Batcave loses its somber tone. The attack on Barbara Gordon loses some of the terror of the original. Where has the strong mood of this story gone DC? I can see adjusting the intensity of Higgins original color palette to some degree like the method they chose with his coloring when they released an Absolute Version of Watchmen. It sophisticated his coloring job without changing the tone of the original. Production services at DC Comics should have just ignored Bolland's plea to recolor it altogether and let John Higgins go back and tweak his original job. I could even see Bolland and Higgins collaborating on a new recoloring but not Bolland by himself.
The flashbacks in the "possible" Joker origin have been changed to black and white with emphasis certain objects that are colored. This seems to work in a foreshadowing sense and it is disquieting to see what is chosen to be labled crimson. However, the flashback's black and white could have used more grays or a darker tint overall on these sequences (with the exception of the red objects). The Killing Joke is a very dark tale and a nice retro feel should not take the place of overall atmospheric disposition. If it was originally done as a play or film a good lighting designer or cinematographer would acknowledge the original intention through the lighting methods, but not dilute the story being told.
I loved the back up 8-pager, "An Innocent Man" when originally printed as a black and white tale for the 1996 Batman: Black and White anthology. However, I don't believe stories originally intended to be printed in black and white should get colored reprintings and vice versa. The only reason it seems to be included it because it is another Batman story by the same artist as The Killing Joke. I would much rather have seen more Joker sketches and covers that Bolland has done for fanzines, conventions, commisons and DC over the years--after all this book is supposed to focus on the Joker.
Alan Moore would not have approved of reprinting any script excerpts but that hasn't stopped DC Comics from going against his wishes as they have in the past. Fans would have loved reading the original script--even just one or two pages! This collection is aimed at fans of the Killing Joke. Give them a decent amount of extras DC! I realize that most of the original penciled and inked pages from the Killing Joke are hard to track down. Still, DC has plenty of Joker covers and art from Bolland that could have filled out the extras section very nicely. Batman: Year One, Dark Knight Returns, Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth have all had satisfying deluxe reprintings but it seems Killing Joke, a story that is certainly in the same league as those others, has gotten inferior anniversary treatment.
Before buying this edition, one should seek out examples online of side-by-side comparisons of pages from the original and recolored editions of the Killing Joke. Compare the examples and see which version you think you would like best. Normally, I'd give this The Killing Joke five stars but this deluxe edition could have been so much better. All the previous printings are worth hunting down.
Bolland (why doesn't he do more interiors these days?) is the best Joker (and Batman) artist of all time. The expressions of dispair that he draws on the faces of Barbara Gordon, the Joker, Commissioner Gordon and others are among the most realistic I have ever seen.