THE KILLING JOKE
No laughing matter
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.”