Alan Moore & Brian Bolland - Batman: The Killing Joke
New blockbuster Dark Knight is all about the Joker. At first glance he’s almost a comedy character, but in the right hands he can be genuinely terrifying. As a character, The Joker represents insanity at it’s worst; a gibbering maniac who only finds humour in terror, violence and death. A twisted intellect who can’t help but give into his inner urges.
In perhaps the definitive Joker story Alan Moore gives us one of the most compelling character studies in comics that perfectly demonstrates the yin and yang of Batman and the Joker’s relationship. Essentially two sides of the same coin, they manifest their psychoses in extreme polar opposition, a concept that deftly explores how light or dark can only exist in relation to one another.
The art from Brian Bolland is the very definition of crisp and clean, in fact, he hasn’t drawn a comic written by any other writer since, saying in his afterword here ‘when you’ve worked with the best, anything else would seem like a step backward’, giving us the perfect encapsulation of the clown prince of crime.
However, the new colour scheme from Bolland (supplanting John Higgins’ original colouring) does lack some of the vivid lurid edge present in Higgins’. Imagine a director’s cut where new, superfluous material is added, slowing down the pace and robbing it of its visceral punch. But this is easily up there in the top ten comics ever written, so an essential read in any format.