DC Universe: The Stories of Alan Moore

By Alan Moore

Rating: 4 stars

Alan Moore has been one of the giants of comic books for thirty-odd years, and this book showcases some of his best work for DC Comics. Several of the stories are tender, some are funny, others are just odd, but there are a few which are disturbing. While The Killing Joke is justifiably a great story, it is very disturbing. There’s the casual violence towards Barbara Gordon, what happens to Commissioner Gordon, and, for me, especially the last few panels. Excellent storytelling, but disturbing.

I also found Father’s Day, a story of The Vigilante (a character I’ve never heard of) disturbing. It feels almost nihilistic in some ways, asking what the point of life is, in the same way as The Killing Joke. But Moore seems to answer himself in other stories. Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow and In Blackest Night both seem to be deeply humanist stories about survival, life and finding things to fight for.

There are also some very funny stories here. I really enjoyed the black humour in the Green Arrow story Night Olympics, while Brief Lives is a tale of how mighty empires mean nothing on some scales (reminding me of the story of the two mighty battle fleets swallowed by a dog in Douglas Adams’ wonderful Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. And Mogo Doesn’t Socialise is laugh-out-loud funny in its revelation.

Moore is a writer I have a lot of respect for. I find him difficult at times, but this collection showcases his flexibility and his versatility. Even if you’re not hugely familiar with the DC canon, it’s still damn fine storytelling, even if it is disturbing at times.

Book details

ISBN: 9781401209278
Publisher: DC Comics
Year of publication: 2003

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