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kill joke deluxe

Batman: The Killing Joke – Deluxe Edition
Written by Alan Moore
Art by Brian Bolland
Published by DC Comics

What can be said about The Killing Joke that hasn’t already been said?  It routinely pops up in various lists as one of the best Batman tales and it very dark and somewhat disturbing.  One of the key characters suffers a fate that had repercussions across the Bat universe, which remains in place.  It includes a possible origin for the Joker, and Batman attempts to prevent one of them having to kill the other.  All this and it’s only 48 pages long.

Oh, and Alan Moore hates it.It’s long been out of print, which given all this is surprising, but as I already had a copy, news of the reprint didn’t bother me too much.  Never mind the hardback cover and extra story, or that Brian Bolland had re-coloured it the way he wanted; I wasn’t going to let DC make me shell out again.

Then I found a display copy and saw the “flashbacks” had been redone in a muted grey with only one or two items in red, the shrimps from the bar scene, or the Red Hood’s, er, red hood whereas before the scenes were in a sickly yellow tint.

So I picked it up, enjoyed the story again, and then compared the difference in the colours between the new version and the original.  What a difference.  Gone are the yellows, which permeated the original version, and the whole thing in now toned down to a much more muted and naturalistic lighting effect, but where the colours are vivid, they are of a much more dramatic impact.

The new hardcover format is nice, and there’s also a well written Tim Sale foreword, and Bolland afterword. 

Even the short story at the end “An Innocent Man” written and drawn by Bolland is quite chilling.

All in all, an excellent product.  If you don’t own a copy of The Killing Joke, or just have the original version, pick this up.  You’ll either enjoy a fine tale for the first time, or a much improved version of the same.

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