ByJustin Driver, writer at
Justin Driver

Batman: The Killing Joke is, to me, the most influential Joker story ever told. Written by Alan Moore with art by Brian Bolland, The Killing Joke has inspired both film incarnations of the Joker and remains universally praised by most comic book Batman fans. And yet there's one part of this undisputed classic that doesn't sit right with a lot of readers: At the end of the comic, after the Joker has shot Batgirl through the spine and tortured Commissioner Gordon, he and Batman just stand there laughing for a while like the best of buds.

Many fans believe it's out of character for Batman to share a light moment with his nemesis after he inflicted so much suffering -- heck, some even say Bats should have just killed the Joker right there. Well, according to a very convincing theory that did the rounds in 2013, that's exactly what Batman did, right under our noses. Look at this panel again:

Is Batman leaning on the Joker as he convulses with laughter ... or is he reaching over to snap his neck? If you notice, the laughter stops after this panel, which would signify the Joker's pulse also ending. The theme of 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. What better way to do that than END the Joker?

Now this may not be true, nor am I saying it is, but I thought it is something you can think about!


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