Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home


By Munawar Mobin

…heading for the places in your past where the screaming is unbearable, remember there's always madness. Madness is the emergency exit.

Master writer Alan Moore gave the world The Killing Joke back in 1988, and ever since then, this book has been the most published Batman graphic novel. Long story short, this is considered to be one of the greatest Batman-Joker novels ever written. This book and the review are strongly suggested for mature readers only.

The art work is fantastic, and every face seems to have been given a separate and individual expression to match with the panel they've been painted in. The story starts off with the Joker pulling off one of his many escapes from Arkham Asylum. He kidnaps Gordon and tries to drive him to madness by showing him pictures of his daughter, viciously murdered. During this we get to see glimpses of the Joker's past before he turned mad, and these glimpses are shown in the form of short scenes of specific moments, which led Joseph Kerr (the Joker) to his insanity. One would think the two stories (one of Joker's past and the other being the present) would mix and confuse readers, but Alan Moore pulls it off well and manages to weave both past and present into one tale.

On the outside, the story is mostly about how the Joker became who he is. However, there is a lot more going on. Beneath the Joker-origins, there lies a greater meaning.

The whole concept of the Joker's plan is “one bad day”. The Joker sought to find out the true meaning of his psychosis; he wanted to prove to the world that all it took was one bad day for a perfectly sane man to be tipped off balance and out of his mind. This stems from a sense of denial about the evil he holds within himself, the madness that has been there all along, waiting to strike.

Alan Moore shows us that the Joker is indeed just like any other clown. Behind his smile, there is a sad story. And although he's an unforgiving and unforgivable murderer, he's still somewhat like any other human being.

If you're a Batman fan, you should've read this book by now. If not, please do buy it. It's available at Jamil's Comics and Collectibles.

What's flying now?
Avengers vs X-men

The X-men are willing to take on the Avengers to ensure that Hope (Hope Summers, the daughter of Cable) becomes the new Phoenix. The Avengers believe if the new Phoenix rises, that is the end of the world.

This high-octane mini-series has stormed into the comics sales chart this month, and has replaced JLA as the number one seller. In fact, the first print was sold out in 24 hours, a feat not seen since the release of JLA #1 last September.

This story follows directly after the Avengers: X-sanction saga, where Cable come from the future and believes that the Avengers will harm Hope, and starts taking them off one by one. For the record, Cable is Scott Summer's son from the future.

Last week's topic was interpreted in many different ways. This stood out for the story despite a rather common interpretation of the theme. For next week, our topic will be: All the king's horses. Submissions need to be sent to ds.risingstars@gmail.com by Sunday noon. Word limit: 350-500 words. Good luck......................................................................................................................................................

When the music's over

By Mustafa Moosa Syed

Grade-8, Anandaniketan School, Sylhet.

The dappled sky was chucking down buckets of rain, just when the once-scintillating birds were fluttering their wings, on the way to their Promised Land. Perched on the window-sill like a giant bird, I was watching the usual urban life go awry, thanks to the unusually timed rain. The dwellers of the city, especially the officers, return to their home from their workplaces at this time, when the sun prepares to take a rest. I couldn't take the musty smell of the under-construction building in anymore. I braced myself for a wet ride over the jungle of buildings.

And I took off. My black cloak was creating ripples at its rim, as the wind was crashing against it. The freezing rain pelted my whole body like shards of glass. I imagined the face of my would-be victim, he, still oblivious about the fact that his life will be enshrouded with a mist of darkness by me. I am not a mad delinquent, not a perpetrator. I am the warrior who defeated immortality.

I spotted my prey's house and plunged towards it. I went swiftly through the roof, as if I were empty space. I landed on a sumptuously decorated sitting room. Aah, there he was - my prey. I looked at him closely. His wrinkled face depicted all the sins he had committed. Never fully taking my eyes away from his face I gazed around the room. The whole room was furnished with expensive materials. But I wonderedwhere did all the money come from? As far as I knew, he was a government official who received a monthly salary adequate for passing a normal life not a luxurious one. I wondered where the other family members were. It would be a simple work if my victim was alone. There would be no shrill cries, no screams reverberating around me.

I looked at him once again. He was reading a book, humming merrily at the same moment. He looked elated for some reason. His life was teetering on the brink of death, and he was still in a blissful ignorance. Poor soul.

Everything was ready. The phosphorescent void was waiting for him, ready to spread its arm and welcome the newcomer.

And then it happened. I had caught yet another prey and dropped it in darkness. I looked at the motionless face of my prey and questioned him: when the music's over, what happens to all your wealth?



home | The Daily Star Home

2012 The Daily Star