The ending of The Killing Joke by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland has gained some attention of late, after Grant Morrison, talking to Kevin Smith, revived the idea that Batman kills Joker at the end of the Killing Joke, strangling him to death.
It was quite a convincing explanation too. As Morrison points out, immediately after the “choking” panel, the laughter comes to an abrupt stop and the comic ends. This also makes total sense with the themes of the story, The Killing Joke is all about Batman recognizing that he is trapped in an endless, self-destructive cycle with the Joker and doing something to stop it. And, it’s actually called “The Killing Joke”. It’s in the title of the bloody comic book.
…Brian Bolland has been rather reticent about what he did or didn’t choose to draw. Could this have been a way to avoid the eyes of DC editors who might have seen the script, while the real nature of the script was shared by phone call? Or did Moore not even let Bolland in on what he was planning?
Today’s Batman #29 is told as a series of nine courses over a meal taking place with the Joker, the Riddler and Bruce Wayne (Alfred serving) and a host of other Batvillains standing around looking hungry…
Man, that’s a beautiful Penguin and Poison Ivy. But then, during the courses, we get the Joker’s take on how he would kill Batman. And it sounds very familiar to anyone who had read The Killing Joke. Which, at this point, should be everyone.
It was the “smile” bit that did it.
Batman #29 by Tom King, Mikel Janin, Hugo Petrus and June Chung is published today by DC Comics. Or last night if you were lucky.