The story was quite compelling; I was taken in by the Joker’s story and his outlook. But I think what sold me on it the most was the Joker’s song.
The art and panel layout was hard for me to get comfortable with. I’ve never been a huge fan of color, so it was kind of an overload, however I do appreciate the grotesque attention to detail and the color palette. The panel layout evoked a sense of finality for each panel, which can be good and promotes the idea that there are no extraneous panels that include extraneous words or concepts, there is a point to everything–as their should be–however, to me, the point is more like a punctuation, one that I wasn’t prepared for because I’m in the mood to read a story, not an extricable collection of statements and conclusions. My bias for the movement and flow built into most manga panel layouts is certainly showing.
On the subject of details. I am not a fan of tentacles, so the odd appearance of them on the kitchen table–just sitting there like they belonged–was more jarring than I was prepared for so early in the story.
I was particularly fond of this question Bruce asked Alfred:
Then came another bowl of something red. If I didn’t love shrimp (and similar crustaceans) so much and hadn’t already come to terms with the nature of them–the scavengers that they are–the likeness of them to the bowl of tentacles would have turned me off of them for sure.
The Joker’s pretty rational for an insane man.
The Joker’s reflection in the puddle… I was already intrigued by it, and then, when I turned the page and saw the flash back, I got something like a chill.
I read this book from cover to cover. When I turned what I learned was the last page of the comic, nothing happened. I was at a loss, I didn’t get it.
I thought about it for a moment or eight and still nothing. I was going to post this and admit that I didn’t get the joke. I got sidetracked and worked on something else for more hours than I should have and, incidentally, forgot all about it. I forgot about the joke. I forgot about not getting it. I forgot about the whole book, actually. Then, in an attempt to procrastinate on something else, I remembered everything and figured I should just get it out of the way. And it wasn’t until just before I typed the first letter of this paragraph–which was originally supposed to be me attempting to articulate my confusion–that it clicked. Or rather, dots quickly connected to form an image that made sense to me.
I still can’t say for certain that what I get is what’s there to be got, but this notion is what made the joke for me.
So now I’ll make a lazy attempt to articulate my grasp of the joke. Batman is the first guy, The Joker is the second guy, and the approaching cop cars are the flashlight. Other thoughts I have are in regards to Batman being the first guy who leaps to freedom, or you could say that he was the first of the two to actually snap. He invites The Joker over to his side–let yourself be arrested and we’ll fix you right up. For the sake of this attempt, I’m going with the idea that the The Joker was actually already on the beam–having already admitted that he was insane–and Batman lived up to the second guy’s expectations and thwarted him from making it all the way across.
Somewhere in the paragraph above is something that makes a lot of sense to me, but I’m done trying to make it make sense to you; you’ll just have to take my word for it.