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IABC #3: The League of Surprisingly Ordinary Batmen

Part 3 of my continuing quest for true comic-book nerdity

The Book: Batman: The Killing Joke



Why did I read it? It's one of the Batman stand-alones that I'd heard a lot about, and I really liked Watchmen, so I figured I'd like whatever Alan Moore could do with The Bat.

How was it? Not great. I was thoroughly underwhelmed. The setup is pretty interesting. I like most of what I've seen done with the Joker. And I'm glad to see a villain go out and be just insanely, completely evil. Not Supervillain evil, just evil in the way people are, but turned up a notch. But the story gets going and just sort of .... stops. There doesn't seem to be any real payoff, good or bad, for anything that happens. You also get two controversially canonical events in the book: one is the Joker telling his backstory. This would be interesting... if it were interesting. It's not: like the main story, it sets up for something exciting and just kind of drops it. Then there's the paralyzing and assault of Barbara Gordon. It's horrifying, cruel, and graphic, which, like I said earlier, is kind of what you should expect from someone evil. But something about it just seems... not right. It's excessive and more than a little exploitative. I'm not sure how I would have wanted to see it done, but not like this.


The art, though, is spectacular: I read the deluxe edition, which is remastered or something. The characters are bold and striking; the Joker in particular really pops out at you.

What sort of comic book knowledge did I gain from it? Not really anything, since I guess none of this happened except for maybe Barbara getting shot?


Did I get to use my existing comic book knowledge? Yeah, I guess, because I was vaguely aware of the Barbara Gordon/Batgirl/Oracle character arc

And other knowledge? No, not really.

Grade: C+ (Just read the Cliff Notes — you won't need to read the whole thing to pass the exam)


Next time, probably: I'll put away my superheroes and tackle some big-boy "graphic novels"

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