One of the few enjoyable elements of watching Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, in the original cut or the Ultimate Edition, is marking all the remnants of Batman and Superman storylines that are littered throughout the narrative. The perceivable references to A Death in the Family were almost enough for me to not make me livid, in contrast to the rest of the film.
Thankfully, one great graphic novel that the film avoided entirely was Alan Moore‘s Batman: The Killing Joke, the deeply unsettling, weirdly intimate tale of one of the Dark Knight and the Joker’s darkest encounters, as well as an origin story for the Joker. That book, as you almost certainly know, has become an animated film now, and is set to be released on DVD/Blu-ray come July 26th. As if I didnt already have a dozen reasons to see it, the movie will reunite Kevin Conroy (who voices Bruce Wayne/Batman), Mark Hamill (who voices the Joker), and Batman: The Animated Series producer Bruce Timm. The film will also enjoy a one-night theatrical run on July 25th via Fathom Events. What’s more, Fathom announced this morning that the animated superhero spectacle will be their biggest roll-out ever, with the film screening in 1,075 theaters nationwide.
This is not exactly surprising. First of all, its Batman. If someone filmed their kids playing Batman and Joker for an hour in the backyard, it would probably sell tickets. More importantly, for fans, this is one of the great tomes of the Batman mythology, written by arguably the most savvy and cerebral comics writer currently alive and working. (It’s also one of the most distinctly disturbing and daring depictions of Batman’s regular colleague Commissioner Gordon.)
Finally, mind you, animated Batman is probably still, to this very day, the best Batman. Batman: The Animated Series is easily one of the best animated series ever made, and Batman: Mask of the Phantasm was an absolutely peerless extension of the world that was created in the series. One can only hope that this latest animated incarnation of Bruce Wayne will live up to those tremendous works when it hits theaters, both in the multiplex and at home, later this month.