killing-joke

JOKER GRAPHIC NOVEL ALAN MOORE
THE KILLING JOKE (46 PAGES)

PAGE 1

(PANEL) 1.
WELL, I’VE CHECKED THE LANDING GEAR, FASTENED MY SEATBELT, SWALLOWED MY CIGAR IN A SINGLE GULP AND GROUND MY SCOTCH AND SODA OUT IN THE ASTRAY PROVIDED, SO I SUPPOSE WE’RE ALL SET FOR TAKE OFF. BEFORE WE GO SCREECHING OFF INTO THOSE ANGRY CREATIVE SKIES FROM WHICH WE MAY BOTH WELL RETURN AS BLACKENED CINDERS, I SUPPOSE A FEW PRELIMINARY NOTES ARE IN ORDER, SO SIT BACK WHILE I RUN THROUGH THEM WITH ACCOMPANYING HAND MOVEMENTS FROM OUR CHARMING STEWARDESS IN THE CENTRE AISLE.
FIRSTLY, SINCE I’M NOT ENTIRELY SURE HOW THESE GRAPHIC NOVELS ARE SET OUT, MIGHT I SUGGEST THAT IF THERE ARE END-PAPERS OF ANY KIND THEY MIGHT BE DESIGNED SO AS TO FLOW INTO AND OUT OF THE FIRST AND LAST PANELS OF THE STORY. SINCE BOTH THE FIRST AND LAST PANELS CONTAIN A SIMPLE CLOSE-UP IMAGE OF THE SURFACE OF A PUDDLE RIPPLED BY RAIN, THEN MAYBE A SIMPLE ENLARGEMENT OF A BLACK AND WHITE RIPPLE EFFECT TO THE POINT WHERE IT BECOMES HUGE AND ABSTRACT WOULD BE IN ORDER? AS WITH ALL MY VISUAL SUGGESTIONS, BOTH HERE AND IN THE PANEL DESCRIPTIONS BELOW, PLEASE DON’T FEEL BOUND IN BY THEM IN ANYWAY. THEY’RE ONLY MEANT AS WORKABLE SUGGESTIONS, SO IF YOU CAN SEE A BETTER SET OF PICTURES THAN I CAN (WHICH I’D SAY IS QUITE LIKELY, ALL THINGS CONSIDERED) THEN PLEASE FEEL FREE TO THROW OUT WHAT I’VE COME UP WITH AND SUBSTITUTE WHATEVER YOU FEEL LIKE.
I WANT YOU TO FEEL AS COMFORTABLE AND UNRESTRICTED AS POSSIBLE DURING THE SEVERAL MONTHS OF YOUR BITTERLY BRIEF MORTAL LIFESPAN THAT YOU’LL SPEND WORKING ON THIS JOB, SO JUST LAY BACK AND MELLOW OUT. TAKE YOUR SHOES AND SOCKS OFF. FIDDLE AROUND INBETWEEN YOUR TOES. NOBODY CARES. ANOTHER GENERAL NOTE WOULD REGARD STYLE AND PRESENTATION. I’VE ALREADY GONE INTO THIS IN THE SYNOPSIS, SO I WON’T DWELL ON IT TOO MUCH HERE, EXCEPT TO UNDERLINE A COUPLE OF THE MORE IMPORTANT POINTS, ONE SUCH POINT WOULD BE OUR TREATMENT OF THE BATMAN AND HIS MYTHOS, INCLUDING THE BATMOBILE, THE BATCAVE AND WHATEVER OTHER ELEMENTS MIGHT FIND THEMSELVES INCLUDED IN THE STORY BEFORE IT’S END. AS I SEE IT, THIS STORY ISN’T SET IN ANY SPECIFIC TIME PERIOD. WE DIDN’T SHOW ANY CALENDARS, OR ANY NEWSPAPERS WITH HEADLINES CLOSE ENOUGH TO READ THE DATE. THE ARCHITECTURE AND THE SETTINGS IN GENERAL THAT WE SEE ARE EITHER OBVIOUSLY OLD AND DATES, AS IN THE CARNIVAL SEQUENCES, OR HAVE AN AMBIGUOUS ORT OF LOOK TO THEM THAT’S BOTH FUTURISTIC AND ANTIQUE AT THE SAME TIME, AS WITH THE FLEISCHER-SUPERMAN/LANG’S METROPOLIS LOOK THAT I SEE OUR VERSION OF GOTHAM CITY AS HAVING, AT LEAST ON IT’S UPPER LEVELS. THE LOWER AND SEEDIER LEVELS OF GOTHAM ARE MORE INCLINED TOWARDS A TERRITORY SOMEWHERE BETWEEN DAVID LYNCH AND THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI, ALL PATCHES OF RUST AND MOULD AND HISSING STEAM AND DAMP, GLISTENING ALLEYWAYS. I IMAGINE THIS STRIP AS HAVING AN OPPRESSIVELY DARK FILM NOIR FEEL TO IT, WITH A LOT OF UNPLEASANTLY TANGIBLE TEXTURES, SUCH AS YOU HABITUALLY
RENDER SO DELIGHTFULLY, TO GIVE THE WHOLE THING A REALLY INTENSE FEELING OF PALPABLE UNEASE AND CRAZYNESS. SINCE I KNOW THAT YOU LIKE USING LARGE AREAS OF BLACK ANYWAY, THEN MIGHT I SUGGEST THAT WE USE THE DARK AND SHADOWY NATURE OF OUR BACKDROPS AND THE BLACKNESS OF THE BATMAN’S COSTUME TO GIVE US AS MANY INTERESTING PRIMARILY-BLACK COMPOSITIONS AS WE CAN GET AWAY WITH? THE FACT THAT THE JOKER IS SUCH A BLEACHED AND BLOODLESS WHITE PLAYS OFF INTERESTINGLY AGAINST THIS, I RECKON, SO PLEASE FEEL FREE TO GO COMPLETELY LOOPY WITH THE QUINK ON THIS ONE. AS FAR AS THE CHARACTERS THEMSELVES GO, I’LL DESCRIBE THEM IN DETAIL WHEN THEY MAKE THEIR APPEARANCES, BUT MY ONLY GENERAL NOTE WOULD BE THAT LIKE THE LANDSCAPE AND THE VARIOUS PROPS, THEY HAVE A SORT OF TIMELESS AND MYTHIC QUALITY TO THEM WHICH DOESN’T FIX THEM FIRMLY IN ANY ONE AGE-RANGE OR TIME-PERIOD. THE JOKER LOOKS EITHER OLD OR BADLY DEPRAVED, BUT THEN HE’S ALWAYS LOOKED THAT WAY. THE BATMAN IS BIG AND GRIM AND OLDER THAN WE ARE, BECAUSE AS I REMEMBER THE BATMAN HE’S ALWAYS BEEN BIGGER AND OLDER THAN I AM AND I’LL FIGHT ANY MAN THAT SAYS DIFFERENT. GIVEN THIS TIMELESS AND MYTHIC QUALITY, IT ALSO STRIKES ME THAT THERE ARE CERTAIN ELEMENTS OF THIS STORY THAT HAVE STRONG OPERATIC ELEMENTS. BOTH THE BATMAN AND THE JOKER HAVE A POWERFUL OPERATIC QUALITY TO THEIR APPEARANCE IN THAT THE JOKER IS AN EXTREME VERSION OF THE HARLEQUIN FIGURE WITH THE BATMAN’S CAPE AND
MASK LOOKING LIKE SOMETHING STRAIGHT OUT OF DIE FLEDERMAUS. I DUNNO WHY I MENTION THIS EXCEPT TO UNDERLINE THE SORT OF GRAND EMOTIONAL INTENSITY I WANT THIS BOOK TO HAVE WITH BOTH THE BATMAN AND THE JOKER BECOMING POWERFUL AND PRECISE SYMBOLIC FIGURES IN A NIGHTMARISH AND ALMOST ABSTRACT LANDSCAPE. ANYWAY, BEFORE I WANDER OFF INTO A COMPLETELY IMPENETRABLE AESTHETIC FOG I SUPPOSE WE OUT TO ROLL OUR SLEEVES UP AND GET STRAIGHT DOWN TO BUSINESS WITHOUT FURTHER ADO.
THIS FIRST PAGE AND A COUPLE OF THE SUBSEQUENT ONES HAVE NINE PANELS APIECE, ALBEIT WITH VERY LITTLE OR NO DIALOGUE TO CLUTTER THEM UP. I WANT THE SILENCE AND THE METRONOME-LIKE VISUAL BEAT THAT THE PANELS WILL HAVE TO CREATE A SENSE OF TENSION AND INTRIGUE AND SUSPENSE WITH WHICH TO DRAG THE READER INTO THE STORY, WHILE STILL LEAVING US ENOUGH ROOM TO SET UP ALL THE NARRATIVE AND ATMOSPHERIC ELEMENTS THAT WE WANT TO ESTABLISH. IN THIS FIRST PANEL, WE HAVE A TIGHT CLOSE UP OF THE SURFACE OF A PUDDLE. (SEE? AND THERE WAS YOU ALL WORRIED THAT I WOULDN’T GIVE YOU ANYTHING FASCINATING TO DRAW.) WE ARE SO CLOSE TO THE PUDDLE AS TO SEE IT ONLY AS AN ALMOST ABSTRACT IMAGE OF WIDENING RIPPLES SPREADING ACROSS A SHADOWY AND BLACK LIQUID SURFACE. IT IS NIGHT TIME, AND THE RIPPLES THAT WE SEE IN THE FOREGROUND ARE CAUSED BY LARGE DROPLETS OF RAIN THAT FALL THROUGH THE FOREGROUND IN DIAGONAL SLASHES. MAYBE WE CAN SEE ONE DROPLET AS ITS PRECISE MOMENT OF IMPACT WITH THE PUDDLE, SO CLOSE ARE WE TO IT. ALTHOUGH I DON’T SUPPOSE THAT THIS INFORMATION WILL MAKE MUCH DIFFERENCE TO THIS CURRENT PANEL, FOR YOUR FUTURE REFERENCE IT IS MID NOVEMBER AND BITTERLY COLD. HERE, ALL WE SEE IS THE RAIN SPLASHING INTO THE PUDDLE AND THE SILVERY WHITE RIPPLES SPREADING OUT ACROSS THE DARKNESS.
No Dialogue.

(PANEL) 2.
SAME SHOT, BUT NOW WE PULL BACK MAYBE A FOOT OR MORE SO THAT WE CAN AT LEAST SEE A COUPLE OF THE PUDDLES EDGES, DEFINING IT AS A PUDDLE AND GIVING US SOME SENSE OF ITS LOCATION. THE PUDDLE IS IN FACT SITUATED AT THE BASE OF ONE OF THE STONE PILLARS/GATE-POSTS THAT FRAME THE GATES OF ARKHAM ASYLUM, THESE PILLARS BEING SE INTO A BLACK RAILED FENCE OF WROUGHT IRON BEYOND WHICH ONLY DARK AND SHADOWY CYPRESS TREES, STRIPPED BY AUTUMN, ARE VISIBLE. IN THIS SECOND PANEL, WE CAN’T SEE VERY MUCH OF THIS..JUST THE ASE OF ONE OF THE STONE GATE POSTS AND A LITTLE OF THE ROAD SURFACE IMMEDIATELY OUTSIDE THE ASYLUM GATES, WITH THE SIZEABLE PUDDLE RESTING IN AN INDENTATION THEREOF. THE RAIN IS STILL FALLING AND SPLASHING INTO THE PUDDLE, AND PERHAPS WE SEE AN AUTUMN LEAF BOWLING THROUGH THE PANEL SOMEWHERE. THE REAL POINT OF THIS PANEL IS THAT SUDDENLY, REFLECTED IN THE PUDDLE, WE SEE THE HEADLIGHTS OF A CAR THAT IS APPROACHING THE GATES FROM OFF-PANEL ABOVE. IN THE RIPPLED SURFACE OF THE PUDDLE, EVEN THOUGH THE LIGHTS ARE STILL IDENTIFIABLE AS REFLECTED HEADLIGHTS, THERE IS AN INTERESTING OSCILLATING DISPLAY OF LIQUID LIGHT AND SHADOW PATTERNS.
No Dialogue.

(PANEL) 3.
WE PULL BACK STILL FURTHER SO THAT WE CAN SEE MOST OF THE STONE GATE PILLAR, THE BOTTOM OF WHICH WE SAW LAST PANEL, AND SO THAT WE CAN ALSO SEE THE OTHER PILLAR COMING INTO VIEW, UP IN THE RIGHT OF THE FOREGROUND, WE CANNOT SEE THE TOP OF THIS FOREGROUND PILLAR YET, OR THE METAL PLATE AFFIXED TO IT, BUT WE CAN NOW SEE THAT THE STONE PILLARS ARE ARRANGED ON EITHER SIDE OF A WROUGHT IRON GATE ONTO WHICH THE RAIN IS FALLING, DRIPPING MOURNFULLY FROM THE BLACK AND SINISTER IRONWORK. LOOKING BEYOND THE GATE AND ITS PILLARS WE CAN SEE THE RAILED IRON FENCE THAT THE GATE IS SET INTO STRETCHING AWAY TO THE END OF THE ROW, LOOKING BEYOND THE ROW OF RAILINGS AND INTO THE DARKNESS BEYOND WE CAN SEE THE APPROACHING HEADLIGHTS OF A LARGE DARK CAR. THE LIGHTS LOOK LIKE THE SMOULDERING AND WHITE HOT EYES OF SOME INSANELY VICIOUS AND POWERFUL NOCTURNAL PREDATOR, HISSING THROUGH THE RAIN TOWARDS THE ASYLUM GATES. IN THE PUDDLE, WHICH WE
CAN SEE ALL OF NOW, THE HEADLIGHTS OF THE APPROACHING CAR ARE STILL VISIBLE, GETTING BIGGER AS THE CAR APPROACHES.
No Dialogue.

(PANEL) 4.
NOW WE’RE PROBABLY ON THE SECOND TIER. IN THIS PANEL WE HAVE PULLED BACK STILL FURTHER FROM THE PUDDLE SO THAT WE CAN SEE ALL OF THE STONE GATE POSTS, INCLUDING THE TOP OF THE ONE RIGHT IN THE RIGHT OF THE FOREGROUND, TO WHICH IS AFFIXED A CLEARLY VISIBLE METAL PLATE ENGRAVED WITH THE WORDS ‘ARKHAM ASYLUM FOR THE CRIMINALLY INSANE’. THE PLATE LOOKS A LITTLE OLD AND TARNISHED IN PLACES, AND THE RAIN BEATS AGAINST IT MERCILESSLY AS IT FALLS. MOVING CLOSER FROM THE BACKGROUND SINCE LAST PANEL, THE APPROACHING CAR HAS NOW MAYBE COME TO REST JUST OUTSIDE THE ASYLUM GATES, PERHAPS WITH ITS FRONT
NEARSIDE TIRE ROLLING INTO THE PUDDLE AS IT COMES TO A HALT. THE HEADLIGHTS ARE GLARING STRAIGHT AT US, SO THAT ALL WE CAN REALLY SEE BEHIND THEM IS A SHADOWY BULK REPRESENTING THE CAR. EVEN SO, THERE IS SOMETHING ODD ABOUT THE CAR’S DESIGN THAT IS APPARENT EVEN THOUGH WE CAN ONLY SEE THE VAGUEST OUTLINE. THE CAR IS IN FACT THE BATMOBILE, AND IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE THE SORT OF TIMELESS EFFECT THAT WE’RE AFTER I FIGURE WE SHOULD DESIGN A BATMOBILE THAT CONJURES THE BEST ELEMENTS OF OUR FAVOURITE VERSIONS. FOR MY PART, I ALWAYS LIKED THE FIFTIES VERSION, WITH THE LONG HOOD TERMINATING IN A BAT-FACED BATTERING RAM. MAYBE YOU COULD COMBINE THE BASIC CHUNKYNESS AND PERIOD CHARM OF SOMETHING LIKE THAT WITH SOMETHING A BIT MORE SINISTER AND FUTURISTIC.. DRAGGING IN DESIGN ELEMENTS FROM THE ‘EIGHTIES AND ‘NINETIES, FOR EXAMPLE. AS LONG AS IT’S LONG AND BLACK AND DANGEROUS-LOOKING WITH A BIG FIN STICKING UP AT THE BACK THEN I’LL BE CONTENT. ANYWAY, AS I SAID EARLIER, WE CAN’T SEE MUCH MORE OF THE HUGE CAR HERE THAN ITS SHAPE, CROUCHED THREATENINGLY BEHIND ITS HEADLIGHTS AS IT ROLLS TO A STANDSTILL OUTSIDE THE ASYLUM GATES.
No Dialogue.

PAGE 1.
(PANEL) 5.

NOW WE CHANGE ANGLE SO THAT WE ARE STANDING BETWEEN THE BATMOBILE AND THE RAILED FENCE OF THE ASYLUM, WITH THE NOSE OF THE BATMOBILE POINTING AWAY FROM US FROM THE RIGHT OF THE FOREGROUND TOWARDS THE LEFT OF THE BACKGROUND, WHICH IS WHERE WE CAN SEE THE GATES OF THE ASYLUM SITUATED, THE HEADLIGHTS STILL GLITTERING UPON THE LARGE PUDDLE
AT THE BASE OF THE NEAREST PILLAR. OVER IN THE RIGHT OF THE EXTREME FOREGROUND WE CAN SEE A LITTLE OF ONE DOOR OF THE BATMOBILE, INCLUDING THE HANDLE. OVER ON THE LEFT OF THE EXTREME FOREGROUND WE CAN SEE THE SCALLOPED BLACKNESS OF THE BATMAN’S CLOAK HANGING DOWN INTO THE PICTURE AS HE STANDS JUST OFF PANEL TO THE LEFT. WE CAN ALSO SEE ONE OF HIS LONG GREY ARMS, DENSELY MUSCLES, REACHIGN OUT THROUGH THE RAIN TOWARDS THE CAR DOOR, WHERE WE SEE HIS BLACK-FINNED GLOVE JUST PUSHING THE CAR DOOR CLOSED BEHIND HIM AS HE GETS OUT, STANDING BESIDE HIS VEHICLE AND GAZING TOWARDS THE ASYLUM GATES THAT WE HAVE SEEN IN THE BACKGROUND. THE GATS ARE CLOSED, BUT WE CANNOT SEE ANY PADLOCK, SO PRESUMABLY THE GATES HAVE BEEN LEFT OPEN IN ANTICIPATION OF THE BATMAN’S ARRIVAL. PERHAPS WE SEE A COUPLE MORE LEAVES, TUMBLING FORLORNLY THROUGH THE WINDSWEPT NOVEMBER BACKGROUND. IN THE FOREGROUND, THE RAIN RUNS DOWN THE SLEEK AND SHINY BLACK METAL SIDES OF THE BATMOBILE, DRIPPING FROM THE ODDLY-SHAPED WING-MIRRORS.
No Dialogue.

(PANEL) 6.
WE ARE NOW ACTUALLY INSIDE THE GROUNDS OF THE ASYLUM, LOOKING DOWN ITS GENTLY CURVING FRONT DRIVEWAY TOWARD THE INSIDE OF THE GATES THAT WE SAW LAST PANEL. THE WET DRIVEWAY CLOSEST TO US IN THE EXTREME FOREGROUND REFLECTS A BLUISH LIGHT CAST BY SOME SOURCE OFF PANEL. LOOKING BEYOND THAT TOWARDS THE GATES, WE SEE THE WEIRD AND UNEARTHLY FIGURE OF THE BATMAN, SILHOUETTED AGAINST THE RAILS OF THE IRON GATE AS HE OPENS IT BY THE LIGHT OF THE STATIONARY BATMOBILE PARKED OFF-PANEL BEHIND HIM. ALL WE SEE OF THE BATMAN HERE AS HE SLIPS SILENTLY THROUGH THE GATE IS HIS SHAPE, WITH NO DETAIL VISIBLE AT ALL. BASICALLY, I DON’T WANT TO GIVE A GOOD CLEAR SHOT OF THE BATMAN’S FACE UNTIL PANEL 4 OF PAGE 5, SO UNTIL THEN WE’LL HAVE TO RUN THROUGH A REPERTOIRE OF TRICK SHOTS AND SHADOWY SCENES WHICH I THINK I HAVE PRETTY WELL WORKED OUT. IN THIS CURRENT PANEL, ALL WE SEE IS HIS UNMISTAKABLE SHAPE AGAINST THE WROUGHT IRON METAL WORK AS HE ENTERS THE GROUNDS OF THE ASYLUM, THE LONG CAPE FLAPPING DISMALLY IN THE NOVEMBER WIND. RAIN STILL FALLS IN SLASHES THROUGH THE FOREGROUND, BOUNCING UP FROM THE SMOOTH ASPHALT OF THE DRIVEWAY.
No Dialogue.

PAGE 1.
(PANEL) 7.

REVERSE OUR ANGLE AGAIN, SO THAT THE OPEN ASYLUM GATE IS NOW IN THE EXTREME FOREGROUND WITH RAIN DRIPPING FROM THE PEELING IRONWORK. LOOKING THROUGH THE OPEN GATE AND AWAY UP THE DRIVE TOWARDS THE ASYLUM’S MAIN BUILDING, WE SEE A REAR VIEW OF THE BATMAN AS HE WALKS SOLEMNLY UP THE DRIVE AWAY FROM US, THROUGH THE RAIN. HIS CAPE FLAPS ABOUT HIM, IT’S SHARP BLACK TIPS TRAILING THROUGH THE PUDDLES AT HIS FEET AS HE WALKS. HIS BACK IS TURNED TO US, SO THAT WE CANNOT SEE HIS FACE, BUT WE GET A SENSE OF HIS BUILD..HE IS BROAD SHOULDERED, WITH A MASSIVE CHEST AND ENOUGH SLAB-LIKE MUSCLE ON THE REST OF HIS PHYSIQUE TO SUPPORT IT. AS I SEE BATMAN HE ISN’T LITHE AND ATHLETIC-LOOKING..HE’S A VERY BIG MAN, AND THE FACT THAT HE IS CAPABLE OF SUCH STUNNING ATHLETICS DESPITE HIS SIZE IS WHAT IS REMARKABLE ABOUT HIM. HE IS FAST, AGILE, INTELLIGENT AND HIDEOUSLY POWERFUL IN TERMS OF PHYSICAL STRENGTH, AND I WANT HIS PHYSIQUE TO ECHO THIS IRON HARDNESS. I THINK THAT BATMAN HAS SUFFERED A LITTLE FROM HIS PROXIMITY WITH SUPERMAN IN THAT ARTISTS AND WRITERS HAVE PERHAPS FELT COMPELLED TO PLAY UP HIS INTELLECTUAL CAPACITY, KNOWING THAT HE CAN’T COMPETE MUSCLE-FOR-MUSCLE WITH SUPERMAN. HERE, I’D LIKE TO RESTORE SOME OF THE BUILT-LIKE-A-BRICK-SHITHOUSE BATMAN THAT I FONDLY REMEMBER FROM MY BOYHOOD. LOOKING BEYOND HIM HERE AS HE WALKS AWAY UP THE DRIVE AWAY FROM US THROUGH THE RAIN WE CAN SEE THAT THERE IS A POLICE CAR PARKED UP AT THE END OF THE DRIVE, RIGHT OUTSIDE THE STEPS THAT LEAD UP TO THE DOUBLE
DOORS OF THE ASYLUM’S MAIN ENTRANCE. IT’S BLUE LIGHT IS ONE (HENCE THE SOURCE OF THE BLUE LIGHT OFF PANEL IN THE FOREGROUND LAST PANEL) AND WE CAN SEE THERE ARE TWO DARK FIGURES LEANING UP AGAINST ITS SIDE AND FACING US, EVEN THOUGH WE CAN’T SEE WHO THEY ARE HERE. I FIGURE THAT THE BLUE LIGHT ATOP THE POLICE CAR MIGHT PLAY INTERESTINGLY AROUND THE EDGES OF THE BATMAN’S BIZARRE SILHOUETTE AS HE WALKS TOWARDS THE PARKED CAR AND THE ASYLUM DOORS BEYOND. THE TWO FIGURES, WHO PROBABLY WON’T BE VERY VISIBLE HERE, ARE COMMISSIONER GORDON AND A UNIFORMED PATROLMAN. GORDON LEANS AGAINST THE SIDE OF THE PARKED CAR AND SIPS A PLASTIC CUP FULL OF STEAMING COFFEE WHILE THE PATROLMAN STAND MORE UPRIGHT AND ALERT, PROBABLY IN AN AT-EASE POSITION. ALL OF THIS DETAIL, INCLUDING THE IDENTITIES OF THE TWO MEN, WILL NOT BE APPARENT HERE, BUT I’M GIVING IT TO YOU FOR FUTURE REFERENCE. BEHIND THE PARKED CAR THE ILLUMINATED AND WEIRD FAÇADE OF ARKHAM ASYLUM RISES US, ITS WINDOWS OMINOUSLY BARRED.
No Dialogue.

PAGE 1.
(PANEL) 8.

NOW WE ARE EVEN CLOSER TO THE POLICE CAR, LOOKING AT IT SIDE-ON SO THAT WE SEE THE UNIFORMED OFFICER STANDING FACE ON TO US OVER ON THE LEFT AS HE STANDS WITH HIS BACK TO THE CAR AND COMMISSIONER GORDON FACE-ON OVER TO THE RIGHT, LEANING AGAINST THE CAR AND DRNKING HIS STEAMING COFFEE, MAYBE LOOKING UP WITH A QUIZZICAL AND CONCERNED LOOK OVER THE RIM OF HIS CUP TOWARDS THE EXTREME LEFT OF THE FOREGROUND, WHERE WE CAN SEE THE BATMAN ENTERING THE PICTURE FROM THE LEFT, IN PROFILE. SINCE BATMAN IS (a) CLOSER TO US AND (b) TALLER THAN EITHER THE COMMISSIONER OR THE PATROLMAN IN THE BACKGROUND WE
CANNOT SEE THE TOP OF HIS HEAD HERE ABOVE THE BOTTOM OF THE NOSE AS THE FRONT OF HIM ENTERS THE PANEL ON THE LEFT. HIS EYES AND UPPER HEAD ARE INVISIBLE BEYOND THE TOP PANEL BORDER AND ALL WE CAN REALLY SEE IS HIS MOUTH, WITH THE BIG AND DETERMINED SQUARE JAW AND THE GRIM AND DISAPPROVING SCOWL OF THE LIPS. THE BATMAN DOES NOT APPEAR FROM HIS POSTURE TO SO MUCH AS GLANCE AT EITHER GORDON OR THE PARTOLMAN AS HE
WALKS PAST THEM EVEN THROUGH BOTH OF THEM STEAL GLANCES AT HIM WITH DIFFERING LOOKS OF UNEASE. THE PARTOLMAN LOOKS UNEASY JUST TO BE IN THE BATMAN’S PRESENCE, WHILE GORDON LOOKS MORE CONCERNED ABOUT THE BATMAN’S POSSIBLE STATE OF MIND. RAIN DRIPS FROM EVERYTHING, INCLUDING THE BATMAN’S JUTTING AND GRIZZLED CHIN. GORDON GIVES THE LARGELY-OFF-PANEL VIGILANTE A PENETRATING LOOK OVER HIS COFFEE CUP, AND THE BLUE LIGHT ATOP THE CAR WASHES OVER ALL OF THEM AS IT CIRCLES.
No Dialogue.

(PANEL) 9.
SAME SHOT EXACTLY, ONLY NOW THE BATMAN HAS WALKED ACROSS THE PANEL AND IS ABOUT TO DISAPPEAR OFF THE RIGHT HAND SIDE, WITH ONLY THE BACK OF HIS COSTUME VISIBLE HERE AS HE DOES SO, HIS FACE ALREADY VANISHED OFF THE RIGHT OF THE PANEL. IMMEDIATELY BEYOND HIM, POLICE COMMISSIONER GORDON STARTS TO STRAIGHTEN UP AWAY FROM THE SIDE OF THE PARKED POLICE VEHICLE, HANDING THE HALF-FULL COFFEE CUP TO THE SURPRISED-LOOKING PATROLMAN WITHOUT LOOKING AT HIM AS HE PREPARES TO FOLLOW THE BATMAN OFF-PANEL. THE SILVER HAIRED AND TRENCHCOATED FIGURE OF THE COMMISSIONER DOESN’T TAKE HIS YES OFF THE BATMAN FOR AN INSTANT AS HE PREPARES TO FOLLOW HIM UP THE STEPS AND INTO THE INTERIOR OF THE ASYLUM. THE PATROLMAN LOOKS BEMUSED AS HE TAKES THE STEAMING CUP
UNQUESTIONINGLY FROM THE POLICE COMMISSIONER’S HAND. BATMAN WALKS SILENTLY ON WITHOUT SAYING A WORD.
No Dialogue.

"Hello. I came to talk. I’ve been thinking lately. About you and me. About what’s going to happen to us, in the end. We’re going to kill each other, aren’t we? Perhaps you’ll kill me. Perhaps I’ll kill you. Perhaps sooner. Perhaps later. I just wanted to know that I’d made a genuine attempt to talk things over and avert that outcome. Just once. Are you listening to me? It’s life and death I’m discussing here. Maybe my death… maybe yours. I don’t fully understand why ours should be such a fatal relationship, but I don’t want your murder on my… hands…"