The Killing Joke is one of the most highly regarded, yet also highly controversial comic book stories of all time. The newly released trailer for the R-rated animated adaptation of the 1988 graphic novel suggests that they'll be no compromising on the brutal storyline.
Mark Hamill will reprise his aptly deranged role of the Joker, while Kevin Conroy will be starring again as Batman. The two have voiced the leading characters for more than two decades since making their initial appearances during Batman: The Animated Series in 1992.
Yet it is doubtful either of them will have ever delved into the deep, murky, and disturbing depths that The Killing Joke has to offer. The graphic novel focuses on the Joker's origin story, but even by his standards it's messed up. Beyond measure.
Following the trailer release (check out the breakdown), let's take a look at an overview of the story and what we can expect from the upcoming DCAU offering:
The Story Begins By Showing The Joker As A Normal Guy
Even one of the greatest supervillains ever was normal once, you know. In the comic, pre-Joker is an unnamed engineer who quits his job to pursue a career in stand-up comedy. Unfortunately for him, he's no good, and the onus is on him to support his pregnant wife.
So, He Agrees To Navigate Two Criminals Through His Old Chemical Plant
This is so they can rob a card company next door. During the planning of the robbery, the pre-Joker is informed by the police his wife has died. Despite his desire to quit, he is forced by the bad guys to continue.
Things Don't Go To Plan, And Batman Catches Up With Him
The fear becomes too much, and pre-Joker jumps into a pound-lock to escape, but is pulled through a pipe and dumped into chemical waste. The effects of the chemicals alter his appearance to what we recognize as the Joker, with bleached skin, red lips, and green hair.
We Then Move Back To Present Day, Where Things Get Seriously Messed Up
A theme running throughout the comic is that the Joker believes any "one day" can drive a man insane. And maybe this is the case, if one day includes the events above.
To prove his point, The Joker kidnaps Commissioner Gordon, holding him prisoner in an abandoned amusement park, and embarks on a hideous attempt to make him lose his sanity.
Unfortunately, Barbara Gordon, the Commissioner's daughter (and also secretly Batgirl) is on the receiving end of the Joker's brutality.
The Joker Shoots Her In The Spine, Paralyzing Her
He Then Strips Her Naked, Photographing Her Nude To Humiliate Her And Her Father
Although never confirmed, some readers of the graphic novel have suggested that it could be interpreted that the Joker also sexually assaults Barbara.
Commissioner Gordon Is Then Stripped Naked And Chained, Forced To View Images Of His Abused Daughter
So, erm, Yeah. It's quite intense, and difficult to read, let alone watch unfold at the extremely capable hands of Hamill and co.
Whether or not the full animated feature will hold back remains to be seen, but it's safe to say the adaptation of such highly regarded source material will be expected to stay true to the original storyline.
The animated feature of The Killing Joke is expected to be released on Blu-Ray, DVD, and Digital HD in July 2016.