Batman: The Killing Joke is one of the most brutal comics in Batman's long history. It helped usher in a darker, more disturbing take on The Joker that continued all the way through Heath Ledger's character in The Dark Knight and, if the trailers are any indication, Jared Leto's performance in Suicide Squad as well.
With an animated movie adaptation of the comic on the way, one of the big questions is if it will be as dark and violent as its source material, or if it will pull its punches to appeal to a broader audience. With The Killing Joke earning an R-rating, though, it seems that no punches will be pulled. That means it's going to be a rough time for some of its characters, one of those characters being Batgirl.
An official synopsis has now been released for The Killing Joke (via CBM), as well as an accompanying picture of Batgirl. The synopsis hints that the movie will explore the same dark themes as the comic book:
"What does it take for a person to snap? How much despair for a mind to fracture? These are the twisted questions that The Joker has set out to answer, to show Gotham that even an ordinary man like Commissioner Gordon is only one bad day away from sheer insanity. Based on the acclaimed DC Comics graphic novel, witness a journey into the dark psyche of the Clown Prince of Crime. Follow his humble beginnings as a struggling comic to his fateful encounter with the Dark Knight that changed everything. Fueled by the return of Kevin Conroy as Batman and Mark Hamill as The Joker, witness the birth of a super villain, the fortitude of a hero and the punch line that will leave you speechless."
With an official trailer for The Killing Joke having already been released, there is plenty to get fans excited about the movie's straight-to-video release. All indications so far point to its story being very close to the original, even if the art style is significantly different. One big change in the story, though, is that Batgirl did not appear in costume in the comic book as she does in the movie. Her increased screen time is a welcome addition for fans of the character, and also helps deflect one of the chief criticisms of the original comic, which is that Batgirl appeared solely as a prop to be victimized by The Joker.
With Warner Bros. releasing the still of Batgirl in costume, hopefully that points to them wanting to do right by her character, even if the end result for her will be the same. Fans will be able to decide for themselves whether they're happy with the changes when Batman: The Killing joke hits home video this August.
Batman: The Killing Joke will be released on DVD and Blu-ray in the U.S. on August 2nd, 2016.