I thoroughly enjoyed this comic book, and I absolutely recommend it. It’s fast paced, riveting and has a great plot. The narration and illustrations are brilliant, dark and they perfectly complement the quintessential madness of Joker.
This book delves on the origins of Joker, the most badass super villain the comic book industry has ever known. Alan Moore, in his trademark style, blurs the line between a madman and a common man, and imbues the Joker with a tragic history that turns him into a coldblooded psychopath. It’s a heart-wrenching and scary tale of a fickle fate, and a wrecked destiny. I think Alan Moore was presenting this hypothesis that anyone could turn into a lunatic overnight; all it would take is one cruel, mayhem inflicting twist of fate. He also harps upon how random yet precise, senseless and the brutal, life's injustice can be.
The book starts off with the escape of Joker from the Arkham Asylum, and his psychotic and chilling plan to show the world how a madman as mad as him is created, given the right amount of exposure to the inhumane humanity. He targets two of Batman's closest friends, the commissioner of Gotham city and his daughter. While he nearly kills the daughter, he takes the commissioner as a hostage, and leads him to his madhouse to turn him into a madman. As the commissioner is exposed to obscene and disturbing acts, the joker celebrates and the batman furiously pursues the trail of Joker. The climax of the book is a face-off between Batman and Joker, and what exact fate befalls the Joker is not known; the last panel of the book leaves it open-ended, classic Alan Moore style. Whether the Batman avenges the heinousness inflicted upon his friends by slaying the Joker, or whether in a moment of an all-consuming empathy for Joker's personal plight, does batman spare Joker his life, or does he turn the Joker over to the cops because of a promise made to the commissioner; the answer is not known.
The Joker's monologue about madness, about the inhumanity and sheer stupidity and ignorance of humanity, and about how conscience, virtues, prayers will not save anyone from a cruel blow of fate are epic, and lend a profound depth and a nuance to his character. His back-story takes us to his struggling days as a stand-up comedian, and his pregnant wife. One day, his wife dies in a freak accident, and he is trapped by two ruthless goons into executing a crime, which backfires, and he ends up becoming the Joker.
That the Batman offers the Joker a chance at redemption, and that the Joker forsakes it, explaining that its too late for him to turn a new leaf, and that it’s all over, is a haunting moment. Another brilliantly crafted moment is when the Joker proclaims that insanity is better than dealing with unimaginably twisted horrors, and that madness is an emergency exit. That sanity, order, dignity is only an illusion was an interesting point by the Joker.
The Joker totally is the star of the book, and is one of the best crafted characters ever. His compromised psychology and psychosis creates a rich tale, against which Batman totally pales into oblivion.
The love for books & a hunger for stories was programmed into my DNA. And, sooner than later, life experiences sealed the deal. Books have saved me, transformed my life, enlightened me and have shown me the path I must walk. In a way, far too many books have played the role of kindred spirits and guides, leading the seeker in me to answers and paving a way for a new way of life. Books have helped me keep my wits, my sense of wonder, my sense of mystery and curiosity & my sanity in a life that has been anything but predictable and normal.