In this day and age of comic book fandom it's practically cliche (or uncool) to say Batman is your favorite character. I might be off by a title or two but as of now there are 7 Bat-Family comic books on newsstands published by DC Comics. That's impressive and insane!
I've been a fan of Batman since seeing him and Robin the Boy Wonder guest star on the SCOOBY-DOO cartoon. Reruns of the 60's Batman television show was pretty common at my house too. And of course we cannot forget SUPERFRIENDS!
Once grade school started I was all about Star Wars, GI-Joe, and Master of the Universe. It wouldn't be until the mid to late eighties browsing a comic book store changed all that, and the Creature of the Night came calling.
This story has been told more than once on my blog, so I'll be brief.
One evening after having supper at the Heritage Cafeteria located inside the North Town Mall (now a Walmart Super Center). While dad was in line to pay the cashier my Grandpa took me walking around the mall. We stopped inside a store called Comic Empire and he bought me a FLASH comic book. That's what I wanted to buy but it was a standee of Batman holding a dead Robin that intrigued me.
Sometime later my dad would bring me back to that store and I found out the standee was for BATMAN: A DEATH IN THE FAMILY trade paperback, and it made me a comic book fan for life.
I remember it being a much longer period of time, but things seem that way when you're younger. The release of 1989's BATMAN and me starting to read the comic and trade paperbacks were all probably within the same year?
Following BATMAN (1989), BATMAN: DEATH IN THE FAMILY, and BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS the next logical step was to read BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE.
It took me awhile to read the popular graphic novel. For the longest time it was way overpriced and Comic Empire treated it like a R-rated movie. By the time I was sixteen, driving, and had a job that's when I finally purchased BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE.
I loved it! Immediately it was my favorite graphic novel. And it's influence of future Batman stories was massive. So popular and well received that in became actual cannon in the monthly books. Back then graphic novels were for the most part stand alone stories.
The story is pretty simple. Batman visits Joker in prison (Arkham??) to have a one-on-one conversation about their future together. You see Joker is always going to break out and Batman is always going to put him back where he belongs. It can't go on forever, eventually one of them is going to die from it. And if Batman has to kill him, Bruce wants Joker to know that he at least tried to help his arch nemesis all these years.
After poring his guts out, Batman realizes the clown in the cell is a impostor and that Joker has escaped!
On the loose, Joker sets in motion a lesson for Batman by paralyzing Barbra Gordon and kidnapping her father Commissioner Gordon. After putting the Commissioner through living hell, Joker tries to convince him that the real criminal is the Batman.
Batman and the Joker fight in the end and everything ties in nicely with the beginning of the story. The ending is something still debated on message boards and in comic book shops still to this day. Highly recommended comic book reading!
So it's no surprise that fans everywhere got excited when it was announced that WB was making an animated movie adapted from the popular book. And to top it off the definitive voice talent of Kevin Conroy (Batman) and Mark Hamill (Joker) were returning. This was quickly becoming a must see/own feature!
For the most part I liked it. I like it a lot actually. The best parts are seeing the beloved graphic novel come to life in an animated movie. Very touching.
But my favorite part was when Batgirl and Batman have sex. Just like in the graphic novel. This makes perfect sense because of the bond these two characters have always shared in the comics. Right? No. Wrong! So wrong. I'm all for artistic license, but there are some lines you do not cross and having Batman knockin'-the-boots with one of the Bat-Family is fundamentally wrong.
I'm dumbfounded by this creative decision. Besides not making sense for the characters, the sub plot goes nowhere. There is nothing in the second half of the movie that screams Batman is mad at Joker for paralyzing Barbra, his now new girlfriend? What's done is done, nothing to do about it except filing it under Lame/Strange.
If fans of Batman ever read this I realize that I'm preaching to the choir, because like me a lot of fans are angry or scratching their head about the long Batgirl story tacked on to the beginning of the film in the first place. I didn't mind it at all with the exception of the sex scene. It would have made a lot more sense (in my opinion) if it was Nightwing rather than Batman.
Despite my complaints, I still recommend the DCEU Animated film BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE. The second half is too good for any Batman or comic book fan to miss.