The Dark Knight and the Clown Prince of Gotham are set for a violent showdown in the twisted first trailer for Batman: The Killing Joke, the direct-to-video DC Universe Animated Original Movie based on the infamous Alan Moore graphic novel. And it looks downright diabolical, just as the Joker intended it to be.
The R-rated animated film — the first in the DC Extended Universe — marks the return of legendary voice actors Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill, as Batman and the Joker, respectively, to the Batman canon. The trailer gives us a glimpse into the violence at the core of the divisive 1988 graphic novel, and certain frames are instantly recognizable for readers and fans of Brian Bolland's original illustrations, including the capture and torture of Batgirl (Tara Strong) and Commissioner Gordon (Ray Wise).
Moore's comic isn't for the faint of heart. In fact, The Killing Joke remains one of the most controversial graphic novels ever created in DC Comics's 82-year history. It's a tragic origin story for one of Batman's greatest foes: the Joker. And it explores the mythos behind the Clown Prince's madness. Hailed by some as the definitive Joker text, Moore’s story is still controversial among DC Comics fans today. It’s dark, tragic, and brutally misogynistic — at times, unbearably so.
The story finds the unhinged villain — a former engineer turned failed comedian — taunting Gotham's Dark Knight by violently torturing Barbara Gordon (Batgirl). Batgirl's brutal victimization has long been criticized. However, the creators behind Batman: The Killing Joke plan to expand Barbara's story line in the animated film, which will hopefully give her more to do than play the victim amid Batman and the Joker's misogyny.
Batman: The Killing Joke will have its world premiere at San Diego Comic-Con this summer, and drop on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD later this year.