The Man Who Killed Batman

  A small-time hood thinks he's killed Batman.
  Original Airdate: February 1, 1993
  Episode # 51
  Rating: * * * *

Credits Cast

Written by Paul Dini
Directed by Bruce W. Timm
Music by Shirley Walker
Animation by Sunrise

Kevin Conroy as Bruce Wayne
Robert Constanzo as Bullock
Ingrid Oliu as Renee Montoya
Mark Hamill as the Joker
Arleen Sorkin as Harley Quinn

John Vernon as Rupert Thorne
Matt Frewer as Sidney
Maurice La Marche as Murphy
Robert Picardo as Eddie

The Batman universe is, obviously, a fairly extraordinary place, and one of the show's favorite tactics is to wrap an ordinary man in its coils. In "Joker's Favor" it's a small nobody who becomes the Joker's catspaw, but even "Heart of Ice" and "Mad as a Hatter" stand as testaments to how tragedy can destroy good but fragile men. The joke of "The Man Who Killed Batman" is that the thoroughly innocuous "Sid the Squid" is not only persistently misidentified as a villain of the first rank, he is fingered as the cunning cause of Batman's demise. The latter mistake, of course, is what leads everyone to infer the former. So, ironcally, Sid will stand convicted of being a bigger man than he really is unless and until he can produce Batman's (living) body.

Like Huck and Tom getting to eavesdrop on their own funeral, Batman gets to see official (and unofficial) reactions to his purported death. We do not know what he thinks of it all, but we find it delicious. We know that, as Batman's oldest and greatest adversary, the Joker must be heard from, and he doesn't disappoint. Having heard him deliver a damn fine funeral oration, one feels the Joker hardly can or should go to the additional trouble of actually offing old Batsy once it all proves a tad premature. An actual death would now just be anti-climax.

Also noteworthy is the story's point-of-view. In lesser hands, it would have been told from Batman's perspective, and most of the suspense would have been deflated. Of course, it being "Batman: The Animated Series" we know all along that he is not dead. Instead, Dini and Timm make the most of showing Gotham through the eyes of someone who is not the Bat. Having hung out with the Caped Crusader through so many other episodes, we sometimes forget what his interventions must look like to the other characters. We recover the sense of mystery and awe that attends him when we are aware of him only through his off-screen actions.

Production Notes
Paul Dini on "Amazing Grace": "We thought we would get in trouble, that people would say it was sacrilegious. But it was really funny. I gave Arleen a kazoo and she did it in one take, which was lucky because we were all screaming with laughter when she did it. We never would have gotten another take out of her."

Bruce Timm on the Joker's eulogy: "Mark did such a great job vocally that when I was boarding it, all I had to do was listen to what he was doing with his voice and pictures just popped into my head."

Related Episodes
   * Trial
   * Over the Edge

What Others Are Saying ...
"The idea of Batman being killed and not resurfacing for awhile was very well done and a good choice for a Batman episode."World's Finest

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