Book Review: The Killing Joke: Hardcover special edition Rating:
As Tim Sale points out inf the foreword of this masterpiece revisited, the late 80's were a great time for comics that saw a re-invigoration of the industry. With titles like The Dark Knight Returns, Watchmen, Batman: Year One, and The Killing Joke writers like Frank Miller and Alan Moore took us to dark moody places we didn't know existed at the time in comics. To help (as if it needed it) the promotion of this summers Batman Begins sequel, The Dark Knight, DC comics has released a special edition hard cover of The Killing Joke. TKG is easily the best Joker story ever told and arguably the best Batman story ever told. Written masterfully by Alan Moore and Illustrated beautifully by Brian Bolland, the story revisits and flushes out the oft forgotten origin story of the Joker and goes deeper than ever before into the mind of the character.
The main theme of the story is that all it takes to make someone like the Joker is one bad day, and the measures in which the Joker takes to prove his point are just as extreme as they are frightening. I've always had a problem with the belief that Jack Nicholson's Joker in the 1989 Batman movie is the definitive version of the Joker, every time I come across someone who holds this belief I let them borrow my copy of TKG and I usually get the same response "okay, I get it now". For the special edition of TKG DC has reissued a hard cover edition of the book featuring a forward by renown comic artist Tim Sale and after thoughts by artist Brian Bolland. Also in the special edition Bolland got a chance that few artists get to go back and find tune his work. When TKG was released in 86 Bolland didn't get to do the finishing color work on the book. The artist that did used a very vibrant pallet that your wouldn't normally find in a Batman story and was not in line with what Bolland had envisioned, so for the special edition of TKJ Bolland has gone back and recolored the entire work from start to finish.
Now, a lot of times when an artist does this it doesn't work (Greedo shooting first), but in this case it does work. Bolland uses a very muted pallet and the color work is very controlled and direct, during the flashback scenes Bolland decided to focus on one item per panel to color and leave the rest in black and white. When I first opened it up and started reading through it I didn't like the new color scheme, mainly because I was so in love with the original version, but as I read on the new coloring really started to grow on me and the second time through the special edition I really enjoyed it. I cannot recommend this book highly enough and I would recommend anyone who id planning on seeing The Dark Knight to pick up this story before you see the movie so that you can have a true reference of what the Joker is supposed to be