While the Nolan era of the Dark Knight series has come to at least a hiatus, Batman isn’t slowing down, and DC’s making a huge push to have it’s empire held in the same regard as Marvel. Marvel has been crushing it, DC has been meeting it’s fair share of critical backlash, especially without the Dark Knight Series to hold a support beam in their lineup. So with all of this, an animated, darker tale has hatched out to play off the style of the Dark Knight….or should we say inspired?
(It’s more ethically correct to buy the comic in digital or physical form, but if you need to skim the comic for references, we found an Imgur link of the story up here. Still, support copyrights,and let good authors be paid.)
What goes DOWN?
Crucial prequel story epithets come into play in Batman: The Killing Joke. While in the Dark Knight Series, The Joker left our screen, and unfortunately Earth as well, throwing a question of what happens next in the series. Unfortunately, in the Dark Knight, it’s seemingly eluded to the fact that Joker and Batman are just going to be eternal foes, one with no regard for killing anybody but the Batman, as he seeks to essentially elicit batman into killing him. As like in the Dark Knight, the Joker still has a hell-bent obsession on corrupting the pure. This stems from backstory in the novel, where as a good, hard working person, often on edge, gets caught in criminal pursuits to help his pregnant wife. As the mission commences…his wife dies. Unable to back out of the offer, the Joker goes through with it. In a surprise intrusion by Batman, the Joker falls in a vat that essentially ejects him from the factory, leaving him with the trademark depictions we’ve often seen today…with some debatable differences. The Joker snaps, a normal man loses his mind, and from that point on, wants other normal men to experience the same thing.
Batman-Bruce Wayne, the billionaire gadget hero and close quarters expert we’ve known forever.
The Joker- A sane man with terrible luck, and a terrible reaction. Of course, before his criminal undertakings, he was a failed standup comedian, who tried to support his pregnant wife while struggling for well-paying work.
Commissioner James Gordon- The Commissioner of the Gotham Police force. Had to have been on the force during the time of Harvey Dent’s arrest. In this timeline, Harvey is already two-face, and sitting in a cell in Arkham. You can argue that in this timeline, Gordon plays the role Harvey did in The Dark Knight, as the prime target of The Joker’s torture and testing.
Barbara Gordon, soon to be Batgirl- Chief Gordon’s weakness,and daughter, is a large bargaining point for evil in this story, and an even bigger discussion for American Culture and morality. Barbara Gordon’s experience actually has triggered feminists discussion over a controversial plot line in this story/movie.
The Shot that We’re Hearing
The most gruesome, climatic arc of this R-rated animated film, based off the equally R-rated comic of the same name, involves Chief Gordon’s trials and tribulations, whilst Batman races against time to prevent the onset of his lunacy. Barbara gets shot in the spine and kidnapped by Joker’s henchmen, while Chief Gordon experiences the same kidnapping fate. He’s put on a Joker operated amusement park ride, where he has to witness images of his naked, now paralyzed daughter’s rape. A brutal mental tactic Joker wants to use to BREAK Gordon. While the ending is outstanding, we won’t spoil it, and invite you to read it from the attached original comic above. Regardless, the plotline itself is quite the hotbed of modern film discussion.
The Feminist Implications: A Double-Edged Sword
The fact that a raping has been used as a plotline in the upcoming movie/old comic book has offended many feminists, who view it as a capitalistic use of the terrible crime of rape. People question if it’s morally right to include such a story arc, especially since the movie release date sits so close to Brock Turners oft-thought soft prison sentencing. However, some feminist spheres argue that including this arc is actually GOOD for advancing rape culture awareness, and female empowerment. The reason this is so is that Barbara Gordon is Batgirl in many story arcs, some with her still paralyzed, yet still quite the hero in Gotham. The argument that is if you show Barbara’s catalyst moment, much like Wayne’s parents dying, we see the tenacity and drive behind her heroism as a more palpable trait. This may provide motivation for sexual assault and rape victims who struggle to overcome their trauma, having a superhero with such a brutal turning point, that may be able to relate to many victims today. Still, any type of depiction like this can be somehow spun into a glorification of rape, in the same way, many of us seem to glorify the curious and chaotic character of the Joker.
Dark Knight Takeaways
A lot of the events in this DC story arc seem to be included in different forms with Christopher Nolan’s interpretation of the Batman series. Jokers use of a woman to trigger insanity in a good character can be seen in the Dark Knight. In one of his possibly delusional “where I got these scars” stories, he mentions a past involvement with “some real sharks” that led to some harm to a loved one. Batman races for Gordon in the same way he raced for Rachel in the Dark Knight. However, you can see that there are some subtle opposites in how these story events played out. The ending of the two films is almost spot on. In both versions of the DC rivalry between order and chaos, The Joker and Batman both realize the same thing. The Joker needs to go out by the book, in a cell, despite how bad the Joker wants to bait Batman into putting him in a casket, and Wayne would consider doing the same before ever doing it, which would be much to the Joker’s dismay. Their poetic, indefinite battle can only be broken up by blind justice, the actual law. I think this story arc has a lot of ethical questions raised, challenging us to think of how we would handle any of the characters circumstances.
Explore one of the most famous Batman comic storylines ever, and watch Batman: The Killing Joke, when it’s released on July 25th, 2016