Batman: The Killing Joke, the one-shot graphic novel from writer Alan Moore and artist Brian Bolland is arguably one of the best and most controversial Batman comics to date. Fans have been eagerly awaiting its’ R-rated adaptation from page to screen in the upcoming full-length animated feature film of the same name. Further proving that the film will remain close to the source material, Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment have released a dark and rather chilling first clip on the latest episode of DC All Access.
Like nails on a chalkboard, the alarming clip (starting at 3:56 in the video) shows us a definitive scene where Batman (Kevin Conroy) meets with The Joker (Mark Hamill) in a shadowy cell at Arkham Asylum, where the latter is being held prisoner. While The Joker casually plays a game of cards, Batman attempts to plead with him one last time before the inevitable happens – murder.
Digging deeper into the story, Batman: The Killing Joke tells the tragic, definitive tale of The Joker’s transformation from a failed comedian and family man into an insane criminal, due to having just “one bad day.” He goes on to capture and violently torture Batgirl (which is still debated as a misogynistic/problematic plot point to this day) and taunt The Dark Knight. After The Joker escapes Arkham Asylum and shoots Barbara, he uses the attack to torture Commissioner Gordon in an effort to drive him insane – proving that any man could become a monster, given the right push.
The original graphic novel, released in 1988, paved the way for the darker and more brutal Batman that we know today. The storylines’ effect on the mainstream continuity of Batman also included the shooting and paralysis of Barbara Gordon (a.k.a. Batgirl), an event that laid the groundwork for her to develop into the identity of Oracle. Mark Hamill is reprising his iconic role as the voice of The Joker, teaming up once again with Kevin Conroy as the voice of Batman (known for his work on Batman: The Animated Series). We’ll also be hearing the voices of Batgirl (Tara Strong) and Commissioner Gordon (Ray Wise).
Batman: The Killing Joke marks the very first R-rated animated feature for DC, and for good reason: producer Bruce Timm recently spoke about how much the adults-only animated film terrified him. But if that was meant to dissuade any fans from watching it themselves… we doubt it worked.
Batman: The Killing Joke will be premiere at San Diego Comic-Con, then release on Digital HD July 23, and on DVD and Blu-ray on August 2. The film will also screen in select theaters nationwide for one night only on Monday, July 25, 2016.