Batman Beyond: Return Of The Joker adaptation
DC Comics (February, 2001)
WRITER: Darren Vincenzo
PENCILER: Craig Rousseau
INKER: Rob Leigh
COLORIST: Chris Chuckry
LETTERER: Tim Harkins
ASSISTANT EDITOR: Frank Berrios
EDITOR: Bob Schreck
A series of high-tech robberies is being committed by one of the Jokerz gangs, with Batman stopping the latest attempt. Meanwhile, Bruce prepares to regain full control of his company, but his celebration is cut short by the arrival of the original Joker. Bruce makes Terry quit as Batman but the Jokerz go after him while Bruce is attacked by the Joker. Terry saves Bruce and Barbara explains a lot about the current situation. Years ago Nightwing moved to another city to establish himself (I’m pretty sure they actually mentioned Bludhaven in the movie but not in the comic) and Robin (Tim Drake) was captured, tortured, and brainwashed by the Joker. In the ensuing battle the Joker was killed and Harley seemed to die too. Putting things together and confronting Tim, Batman learns that the Joker left a device with a copy of the Joker’s mind implanted in his neck and over the years the program has slowly gained control of Tim. Batman foils the Joker’s plan and eliminates the last of him for good. Tim and Bruce put their differences aside.
What they got right: Seeing as this was the kids title, using the original censored version of the movie was the right option. (Joker electrocutes himself rather than Tim shooting him and one of the Jokerz is killed by the Joker but it’s left vague if by the usual Joker gas or the flag to the heart. We also don’t see the full extent of Tim’s torture.) Older fans would demand an uncensored version. I own both, the censored on VHS and the uncensored on DVD. I personally don’t see the big deal. The theme of why Terry is Batman and whether or not he’s worthy comes back into play, which works nicely with a then recent story in the regular comic. (And I just realized I’m missing issues. I need to look into that.) The adaptation is mostly faithful to the movie. We get some revelation as to what happened with the Batman family although sadly they never got to Nightwing. Which is why we had that terrible miniseries a few years ago.
What they got wrong: Due to the space allowed seeing Ace attack Woof (one of the Jokerz) isn’t nearly as cool a reveal. They’re also missing the part where Harley Quinn is shown to be the grandmother of the twins. Terry’s revelation of how he can be his own Batman to defeat the Joker is sadly truncated and not as interesting as in the movie.
Recommendation: A good adaptation but I still recommend the movie. I hope there’s a new version with both takes for preference. (Personally I like Joker accidentally killing himself over Tim shooting him and feel the gas is more in-line with DCAU Joker.) Whichever version you come across, I recommend it, even if it’s only this one.