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* BrokenBase: Arguably one of the most contested Batman stories ever written. There's many a debate over the merits of Barbara Gordon getting fridged and whether or not it actually lives up to the hype. For good or bad, it's become of the most iconic and influential stories on the Batman Mythos, [[CreatorBacklash something that Alan Moore has actually come to regret.]]
* EpilepticTrees: During a 2013 podcast with Creator/KevinSmith, Creator/GrantMorrison argued that the end of ''The Killing Joke'' in fact has Batman killing Joker, carefully interpreting the panels as evidence. He admitted that it was done in a way that was left to viewers. A very dark interpretation of the story but not unexpected from Moore. Artist Brian Bolland disagrees though, the comic's inclusion in the mainline DC canon clearly indicates it didn't happen, and the script for the comic says Batman and Joker just collapse helplessly in laughter. Though considering Moore's own ideas expressed in ''ComicBook/WhateverHappenedToTheManOfTomorrow'', the fact that it's canon or not would have little impact on his own vision for the story, which as of now is not known.
* HypeAversion: As it usually ranks highly on 'Best Batman Story' lists, this is bound to happen with some. Though interestingly it seems even Alan Moore himself has a touch of this too.
* JerkassWoobie: Believe it or not, the Joker in the final scene. Physically and psychologically defeated, he kneels on the ground, listening to Batman's [[LastSecondChance offer of rehabilitation]] and, in one {{Beat}} panel, appearing to seriously consider it, before saying sadly that it's "too late for that. Far too late," suggesting that there's a grain of sanity and humanity in there somewhere, albeit [[FailureIsTheOnlyOption not enough to make a difference]]. Thus, the work shows the Joker at his single most sympathetic and ''humane'' moment.
* MagnumOpusDissonance: See HypeAversion above; Moore is reputed to consider this the ''weakest'' of his DC works, as he believes that the aesthetics of ''Watchmen'' were a poor fit for a "mere" Batman story. He later explained that ultimately Joker and Batman were intended to function as comic-book larger-than-life figures and are entertaining as such, but attempts to introduce realism would end up making the story nasty but without being as fun as a superhero comic. This later informed his attempts at {{Reconstruction}} of superhero comics in ''ComicBook/{{Supreme}}'' and AmericasBestComics label.
* MisaimedFandom: There are those fans who, even if they think he is still a sociopath, [[VillainHasAPoint believe the Joker when he says that one bad day is all it took to drive him over the edge (and by extension, that one bad day could drive ''anybody'' over the edge)]]. Not only is this arguably disproved by the end of the story, since he fails to break Gordon, [[note]]though possibly because Gordon's day was several measures less bad than the Joker's [[MultipleChoicePast might have been]] - we don't know how he would have reacted had Barbara been killed outright[[/note]] it's suggested by Batman that his failure and behaviour mean that the Joker was not even right about himself, and by extension needed help ''long'' before his TraumaCongaLine. That's not even getting into his MultipleChoicePast claims.
-->'''Batman:''' So maybe ordinary people don't always crack. Maybe there isn't any need to crawl under a rock with all the other slimey things when trouble hits. Maybe it was just you, all the time!
* MoralEventHorizon: What the Joker does to Barbara. Of all the crimes the Joker has committed - even the murder of Jason Todd - this is the one that haunts ''the whole DC Universe''.
* NeverLiveItDown: [[TheWoobie Poor Barbara]]. Most writers who use her just can't seem to look past [[DesignatedVictim that one hellish moment]] of her life. [[http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2015/3/17/1426598380568/Batgirl-41-joker-variant--012.jpg This image]] proved to be the last straw for many fans.
* TearJerker: This is one of the very few Batman stories that can make one feel sorry for ''SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker'', even after the horrible and nightmarishly evil things he's done this time.
** Especially the scene towards the end, when Batman chases him. The Joker's face as he asks "Why aren't you laughing?" just breaks one's heart.
* TheyWastedAPerfectlyGoodLineArt: Brian Bolland's opinion on the original version. He subdued the color palette considerably and added a few extra color details for the 20th-anniversary edition. Which in itself divided the fandom, with some arguing that the garish, acid-trip colours of the 80's original contributed to the nightmarish feel of the book. Tellingly, DC continues to publish reprints of the book with its original colouring.
* UnfortunateImplications: Website/TheAgonyBooth [[http://www.agonybooth.com/agonizer/How_The_Killing_Joke_Ruined_Batgirl.aspx was very critical]] of its StuffedIntoTheFridge treatment of Batgirl, who serves only as a helpless victim to the story.
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