‘Gotham’ May Do Well to Stay Away from the Joker

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If I was a gambling man, I would bet money that the standup comedian from the Pilot episode of Gotham was not the Joker, despite a number of websites posing that very question. While some say it was on the minds of everyone watching the episode, I didn’t even consider him a possibility.

However, without Batman, I didn’t think creators of the show would touch the Joker.

I think the idea that creators of the show may tease different people who could possibly end up being the Joker is brilliant from a marketing standpoint. The Joker is a villain everyone — whether they are avid comic readers or not — wants to see. However, the Joker is an established Gotham villain that shows up after Bruce Wayne puts on the cape and cowl.

Even if they incorporate the Joker at some point in the Gotham series, it is way too early to even introduce the person who will end up being the iconic villain. As creators of the show said, the Joker is the “crown jewel” of Gotham villains.

Not just Gotham villains either, but DC villains. Of all the DC villains that have shown up in the comics, none of them can really be considered ‘sacred’ in the way the Joker is. Any story involving him, especially dealing with his origins, needs to be handled with care. Even the tiniest screw up will mean severe backlash from the fans.

It is true that Gotham could go with Alan Moore’s origin story for the Joker from The Killing Joke, portraying him as a struggling standup comedian, but it may not make much sense when they are playing the gang wars up as much as they are. If they do bring in the Joker at some point, we may see him first emerge as a rival gang leader who works behind the scenes and threatens the balance of power — maybe as the Red Hood — but then again this is pure speculation.

Without Batman, it may be best for the creators of Gotham to stay away from the Joker period. It may not go over as well with the fans if James Gordon confronts the Joker and not Batman. This is one of those delicate balancing acts that creators of the show have to consider, because there are some villains that are accepted as almost Batman exclusive. Batman has to be the one to face them and no one else.

However, as previously mentioned, some critics have raised a legitimate point that the show may not last long if it turns out to be just another cop drama about a good cop in a corrupt department or city. The show has started off well, but they have to continue to offer more.

It will be interesting to see what creators of Gotham do in future episodes. Personally, I am excited about the future of the show. I was excited to see it finally premiere on Monday. I look forward to seeing the second episode, “Selina Kyle,” on September 29. I think creators of the show have plenty to work with to make this not only a great TV series, but a series with a long run.

Batman: Assault on Arkham — The Review

2014 has been a big year for DC Entertainment, specifically with its DC Universe Original Animated Movies. First, Justice League: War released, the follow up to Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, and the first Justice League movie to take place in the New 52 universe. This was followed by Son of Batman, an animated movie based off the graphic novel, Batman and Son.

On August 12, DC will release Batman: Assault on Arkham, which is the first movie to be based off the universe created in the Batman: Arkham video games.

Of course, Batman: Assault on Arkham is available on VOD through Amazon, Apple, Google Play, and VUD. If one is too gripped by anticipation to wait for it to release on DVD or Blu-ray (as I was), they can purchase it digitally now.

Too often do people mistakenly assume that because it is an animated movie, it must be for kids. Batman: Assault on Arkham is not for kids. In fact, most of the recent animated movies released by DC are rated PG-13 for a reason.

The language is not for kids. The partial nudity and sexual innuendo is not for kids. Even the graphic nature of the violence is not for kids. These movies are targeted at a more mature audience and seldom do they disappoint.

Whether one buys the movie through VOD now or waits until it comes out on DVD/Blu-ray, Batman: Assault on Arkham is a must see, especially for fans of the Batman: Arkham video games or the Batman franchise as a whole.

The movie stars the legendary voice of Batman, Kevin Conroy, who is considered by many fans to be the true voice of the Caped Crusader. Unfortunately, Conroy was not joined by Mark Hamill, who is equally respected for his voice work as the Joker. Instead, the Joker is voiced by Troy Baker, who has done voice work for both DC and Marvel, and first replaced Mark Hamill in Batman: Arkham Origins.

Baker maintains the voice of the Joker that fans have come to know and love so well that it nearly sounds like Hamill’s Joker, but at the same time there are certain qualities to his performance that make the character his. If anyone is going to replace the great Mark Hamill, Baker certainly sounds like he is more than capable of filling his shoes.

Similarly, after voicing Batman for over two decades, it is reasonable to assume that Conroy may soon retire, leaving the cape and cowl to someone else. Jason O’Mara, who voiced Batman in Justice League: War and Son of Batman, and will star in Justice League: Throne of Atlantis, is proving to be a worthy successor.

Batman: Assault on Arkham also stars CCH Pounder, who has been a go-to voice for Amanda Waller since the Justice League animated TV series that ran from 2001 to 2006, Neal McDonough (Justified, Captain America: The First Avenger) as Deadshot, Hayden Walch (Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, Teen Titans) as Harley Quinn, John DiMaggio (Futurama, Batman: Under The Red Hood) as King Shark, Jennifer Hale (Justice League, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes) as Killer Frost, and well-known voice actor Nolan North as the Penguin.

In Batman: Assault on Arkham, Amanda Waller, who is in charge of Task Force X (more commonly known as the Suicide Squad), sends the team of imprisoned villains into Gotham to sneak into Arkham Asylum and retrieve top-secret information from the Riddler. The team is composed of Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Killer Frost, King Shark, Black Spider, and Captain Boomerang.

As it is often the case with Waller, nothing is ever 100 percent what it seems. There are a handful of people in the DC Universe whose role as hero or villain is never completely clear. Waller is the Iron Lady of the DC Universe, a well-intentioned extremist who is often portrayed as working toward the greater good (in the end), but can incorporate villainous means to achieve this end. She isn’t past getting revenge through any means either.

While the Suicide Squad is breaking into Arkham, Batman is hunting down a bomb the Joker planted somewhere in the city, a bomb that could kill half of Gotham’s population. With Harley Quinn on the team, it is not long before Batman suspects that she may have alternative motives as well and heads to Arkham.

Much like the Arkham video games, this movie has a full lineup of Gotham villains and an assault on Arkham eventually escalates into a war at Arkham. Don’t get too attached to any of the Suicide Squad members, either, because not everyone makes it out alive. You never know who is going to get the axe next — especially when Waller holds their lives in her hands.

Watching Batman take on all members of the Suicide Squad at once is action-packed in and of itself, but when things really get out of hand, that’s when the fun begins. In the end, you may be surprised by who ends up fighting whom.