Friday, January 2, 2009


41. Batman vs. Joker (Killing Joke)

This is the fight that is most notable for something in the fight that had nothing to do with fighting at all.

In this one-shot by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland, the Joker breaks into the home of Commissioner Gordon and his daughter Barbara (who had just recently retired as Batgirl). When Barbara answers the door, the Joker shoots her in the torso, paralyzing her for life. He then kidnaps and tortures Gordon for hours in an amusement park, all in an attempt to drive Gordon insane. Part of the torture involves showing him pictures of his bleeding daughter in various states of undress. Twisted stuff.

Batman shows up, and saves Gordon, and Gordon shows that he has not been broken by the Joker. He tells Batman to bring the Joker in by the book, to show that their way works.

Batman then goes in and, naturally, beats the Joker up and takes him into custody.

Before he turns him over to the police, though, he tries to break through to the Joker and try to get him to stop his madness. The Joker (throughout the story, Moore has been giving the readers a possible origin for the Joker) tells him no, and points out that he and Batman are basically just opposite ends of the same coin - two men turned based on one bad day - basically what he was trying to recreate with Gordon.

Finally, right as the book ends, Joker tells Batman a joke, and the book ends with both men laughing.

The joke, for the record:

See, there were these two guys in a lunatic asylum…and one night…one night they decide they don’t like living in an asylum any more. They decide they’re going to escape! So like they get up on to the roof, and there, just across the narrow gap, they see the rooftops of the town, stretching away in moon light…stretching away to freedom. Now the first guy he jumps right across with no problem. But his friend, his friend daren’t make the leap. Y’see he’s afraid of falling…So then the first guy has an idea. He says “Hey! I have my flash light with me. I will shine it across the gap between the buildings. You can walk across the beam and join me.” But, the second guy just shakes his head. He says…he says “What do you think I am, crazy? You would turn it off when I was half way across.”

So yeah, this fight is more known for the fact that it was the one where Batman and Joker laugh together more than anything else.

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