Alan Moore is one of the most famous comic authors around, he’s better known for his original works, but this Batman graphic novel is actually one of the best things I’ve read by him! Don’t worry if you don’t know much about Batman either, this is only the second Batman graphic novel that I’ve read (the first being Year One) but it still made enough sense to me.
The story starts with Batman heading down to an insane asylum so that he can visit his enemy The Joker; he wants to talk things over with him because he is sure that they will one day end up killing each other and that is not something he wants to happen. Sadly, The Joker escapes and soon starts coming up with some diabolical scheme.
But this story isn’t so much about The Joker’s latest evil plan, it’s also about his origin story. Through flashbacks we see The Joker as a young man who’s trying to make it as a comedian and I think it’s really sad to see how things turn out. As much as he’s a terrible, terrible person, The Joker still feels very vulnerable and human and I think that makes for a very engaging read.
Speaking of The Joker being a terrible person, there’s quite a bit of shocking, extreme violence in this graphic novel. This might make some people uncomfortable (in fact it made me uncomfortable!) but I think it’s appropriate because it does a lot to convey the thoughts and perspectives of characters.
As a graphic novel is partially a visual experience, I should say a little something about the excellent illustrations by Brian Bolland. I actually have “The Deluxe Edition” which features different colouring from the original because he wanted to take the time to improve it. I’ve not seen the original, so I can’t compare, but the artwork in this edition is certainly very nice. I find it hard to write much about things that I find visually appealing, but I certainly have no complaints! My edition also came with a very short, standalone story about a man who wanted to kill Batman (written by Brian Bolland) and I liked that very much as well. Very dark and mildly comical.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading this and couldn’t wait to find out what would happen next. I kept reading until I got to the end and was very excited the whole way through. An excellent read.
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