Review by: jmstump

Size: pages
Price: 17.99

Sometimes I think maybe I am a bad comic book fan.  I’m a huge fan of Batman, Jim Gordon, the Joker, and Barbara Gordon/Batgirl.  So you may be surprised to know that this was the first time I ever read this book.  How could I avoid such a pivotal moment in the Batman history?  Easy, for the longest time I avoided it because as far as I was concerned it destroyed a character I loved as Batgirl.  It also doesn’t help that Alan Moore is not one of my favorite writers.

I’ll be damned if this book wasn’t good.  I was disappointed that Babs went down so easily and that it was really only about 2 pages, but it made for a good story.  The best part of this book was the history or possible history of the Joker.  We see that he was a man pushed to the limits and was turned into the crazy person we know and love.

The thing I loved about it was that we see that because he was pushed to insanity and became this monster that deep down he feels the need to do the same to other people.  It finally shows us a possibility why this monster exists and I always like it when a monster has a reason.  Why?  Simple it makes them scarier when you know why they want to come out from under the bed and eat you.

Let me say Brian Bolland’s art in this is amazing.  To know that this book is 20 years old is almost a shock to me.  I’m not sure but it really seems like that Bolland’s work to me must have been an inspiration to Ethan Van Scriver and there were many times I thought he had done the pencils in this book, especially on the looks for Batman.

Lastly the thing I did not like about this book was the ending.  The Joker tells your average run of the mill kind of joke.  It was corny and both Batman and him laugh with each other at the end.  I know one of the reasons that I don’t like Alan Moore is that he tends to do things that are supposed to be analyzed and picked apart by the reader for an hour, sorry but this is not the reason I read comics.  I want something quick and enjoyable to read, so when I read the end I essentially sit there and go, what the hell just happened?

Overall if you’re a fan of Batman this is a worthy addition to the collection.  It’s not super expensive and the slightly over sized format does Brian Bolland’s art justice.  Hopefully you will have the patience to analyze the end of the book.  When you do tell me why I shouldn’t be upset about it.

Story: 4 - Very Good
Art: 5 - Excellent


  1. I think the ending represents that The Joker and Batman are both insane, just in different ways. 

  2. Hmm good point.  I thought about that, but I think I was more stricked with how abrupt this story ended to think on it too long.  Thanks for the input Conor.

    Makes a whole lot of sense the more I think about it.

  3. The recoloring in this book made it look outstanding.  The coloring from the 80’s book was not that good.

  4. Great review. I bought a copy of the first printing last summer because I had foolishly sold mine a couple years ago. But I hadn’t gotten around to reading it until I saw tht this special edition was released last week. Looking at the original today, I have to agree that the art and the production value of the book make it look like a modern comic, not something that came out 20 years ago.

    As for the joke at the end, I had the same reaction when I read it the first time all those years ago. I just didn’t think the joke was that funny. Now, maybe because I had that in mind, I enjoyed the ending this time and I did find it funny, as well as sad and revealing. I agree with Conor that this represents batman and the Joker. The man who has escaped could be Batman, and The Joker doesn’t have the courage to trust him. Or the Joker could be the one who has escaped and Batman won’t make the leap to join him, though for reasons that actually don’t quite make sense. It doesn’t matter. The point is that both of them live in a world of their own making, not exactly in line with sane thinking, but Batman has positioned himself at the last outpost where he still tries to tame the insanity around him, while the Joker has embraced his position outside and against what he sees as a world that is already insane.

  5. See I don’t think there is a reason for the Joker. Like Batman was saying "It was just you", its not one bad day that makes a man insane. One bad day is just an excuse he uses. When "the one bad happens" that perons character is revealed, Gordon believes in the law, Bruce Wayne is powerful and did not want to remain powerless, and the Joker is just crazy.

  6. @ Patio – I really enjoyed you explination of the last joke.  I can now see how the joke itself can be used to compare their relationship to one another.

  7. Nice review JS!

    This is one of my all time favourite comics (but I’m too poor to fork out the money to buy it again) and one of the best Batman books ever, in my opinion.

    So, when I read that Alan Moore thinks it’s one of his "lesser stories" I was surprised.

    You reckon he’s arrogant much? 

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