CREDITS: Written by Paul Dini; directed by Bruce Timm.
REVIEW: Beautifully directed, with unusual angles, atmosphere and crisp character moments, The Man Who Killed Batman shows the format can work without very much Batman in it. Rather, we follow Sid, a kind of sweet, clumsy, lucky/unlucky loser trying to get ahead in Gotham's criminal underground. He's bad at everything, and ends up accidentally killing the Batman, or so everyone things. Don't worry, there's a Silver Age reveal at the end. But because Sid is both lucky and unlucky, the story brings him unwanted attention, from hoods who would challenge his presumed badassery, from top mobster Rupert Thorne who thinks he's muscling in on his territory and merely playing at being meek and hapless, and from those who wanted to kill Batman themselves...
At the heart of the episode is a finely crafted piece of LUNACY in which the Joker and Harley hold a memorial for their greatest foe. One minute grieving for the man who gave his life meaning - "Without Batman, crime has no punchline" is one of the series' greatest lines - the next throwing Sid in a vat of acid inside Batman's symbolic casket as Harley plays Amazing Grace on the kazoo in a demented version of The Wrath of Khan's final scene. The "Kick me" sign on the casket. The addition of hyenas to the Joker's lair. Harley's brutal "I'll get the mop" joke. Her emasculation of Bullock and getting to see her out of make-up. This mini-episode may be my favorite Joker episode.
IN THE COMICS: The Joker's lair, the Ace Chemical Plant, is where comics like The Killing Joke say he fell into the vat of chemicals that gave him is distinct pigmentation.
SOUNDS LIKE: Sid the Squid is played by Matt Frewer (Max Headroom, Eureka, Orphan Black, Watchmen, etc.). His "friend" Eddie G. is voice by Robert Picardo, the EMH on Star Trek Voyager and a more human doctor on China Beach. Oh, and prolific voice artist Maurice La Marche (The Brain, Inspector Gadget, and more) plays Joker's hoodlum Murph.
REWATCHABILITY: High - It's a great little story and you don't miss Batman when he's gone, especially with the brilliant Joker sequence in the middle of it.