THE KILLING JOKE

No laugh­ing mat­ter

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews -

re­leased OUT NOW! 2016 | 15 | Blu-ray/dVd Di­rec­tor sam liu Cast Kevin Con­roy, Mark Hamill, Tara strong, ray Wise

Alan Moore’s dis­owned the ’80s graphic novel that in­spired this an­i­ma­tion: a vi­ciously provoca­tive take on the “one bad day” at the heart of the Bat­man and Joker feud he now calls “one of the worst things I’ve ever writ­ten”.

Moore’s name is con­trac­tu­ally ab­sent and at first you’ll strug­gle to de­tect his fin­ger­prints at all. 100 Bul­lets’ Brian Az­zarello writes an open­ing act that aims to give agency to Bat­girl, com­pen­sat­ing for her queasy vic­tim­hood in the orig­i­nal. The fact she bumps util­ity belts with the Dark Knight only in­tro­duces a whole new strain of ick­i­ness. It feels like it’s vi­o­lat­ing some­thing sa­cred at the very cen­tre of the Bat mythos.

The rest is faith­ful, keep­ing Moore’s mix of mean-hearted per­ver­sity and re­demp­tive hu­man­ity in­tact, though the func­tional an­i­ma­tion has none of the rich­ness of Brian Bol­land’s orig­i­nal art. At least Mark Hamill’s hav­ing a riot, rel­ish­ing a mu­si­cal num­ber that suits his dis­eased, vaudevil­lian Joker to a twisted tee.

Ex­tras Ex­tended be­hind-thescenes peeks at up­com­ing DCU an­i­ma­tion Jus­tice League Dark plus The Dark Knight Re­turns Parts 1 and 2. There’s also a fea­turette on 2014’s Bat­man: As­sault On Arkham but, bog­glingly, no ma­te­rial on the mak­ing of The Killing Joke it­self. Nick Setch­field

Orig­i­nally the book was even more graphic, with one panel show­ing Bar­bara Gor­don top­less. Bol­land was asked to tone it down.

“Su­per­man could def­i­nitely have you in a fight.”

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