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Batman: The Killing Joke
December 15th, 2012 by Rusty

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Batman: The Killing Joke cover

Batman: The Killing Joke

Date: 1988
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.50
2012 Price Range: $2 – $20
Stats: 48 color pages (but listed as 52 pages)
Writer: Alan Moore
Artists: Brian Bolland, John Higgins, Richard Starkings
Notable Notes: The issue where Joker cripples Barbara Gordon.

The Beginnings of Oracle

Have you ever wondered why Barbara Gordon / Oracle is in a wheel chair? (Or at least “was”, until the New 52 re-launch) Here is the infamous story from the late 1980s in which we find the disturbing answer to that question.


There are really 2 story lines in this issue: one is set in the present and is about Batman tracking down Joker after he escapes from Arkham Asylum. The Bats is feeling a little bit melancholy because he realizes that their relationship will eventually kill one of them, and he desires a different outcome, but struggles with how to achieve it. The second story line is set in the past and shows how The Joker became “The Joker” – how he was pushed to the edge and eventually snapped after having a very, very bad day. This second story ties in with the first when Joker tries to prove that everyone has their “breaking” point while he tries his best to push Commissioner Gordon to that limit. This, unfortunately, involves the Joker being insanely cruel to not only the Commissioner but his niece Barbara as well. Tsk, tsk, tsk… what a sad story.

My 2 Cents:

The story is great, the dialogue is great, the art is great… but, man, it is kind of a depressing read! Honestly, I prefer feel-good stories, and this definitely isn’t one. Still, it is such a classic story that I would recommend it to any serious fan. It also felt very much like Watchmen – which isn’t surprising since they are by the same author and were written only a few years apart, so if you liked that series then you’ll probably like this one too. What a great cover though huh?

How I Rate This Issue:

  • Story: 5 stars
  • Art: 5 stars
  • Fun Factor: 4 stars

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