This is a scene from the brand-new video game Batman Arkham Knight, in which Batgirl (Barbara Gordon), after she has been injured and is in a wheelchair, is held captive under the control of the Joker, and is made to kill herself in front of Batman. The scene is “Fake” in that she’s “not really dead” but the scenario is played out to torment Batman in the game so he will become enraged.
And Batman’s reaction – “Scarecrow was punishing me.”
Because this is all about Batman, of course. Never mind that they just used an iconic character from my childhood as grief bait for Batman to get his revenge.
If you are not aware of what “the Killing Joke” is – it’s a controversial, sadistic storyline written for DC Comics by Alan Moore in 1988 where the Joker tortures and rapes Barbara Gordon (Batgirl), then leaves her paralyzed in order to give Batman and Commissioner Gordon anguish. This story entered her “canon,” and Barbara became the wheelchair-bound computer geek Oracle for years and years after, and other women took over the character of Batgirl. Only recently have they “retconned” the storyline to make Barbara Gordon into Batgirl again – except that they left “The Killing Joke” in her storyline and just fixed her paralysis.
Women have been angry (with good reason) with the KJ storyline ever since because it takes one of the strongest female superheroes and turns her into a damsel in distress for Batman to rescue. And it’s still part of her storyline today, complete with all the torture scenes intact (although they tone down the rape scene pretty drastically so it’s not as clear anymore that it happened.)
This and the Amazons being killed off in Wonder Woman are two of the worst ideas that DC Comics has ever had, and they continue to double down on those stories instead of recognizing how offensive they are.
So as much as I still love Wonder Woman and Batgirl, to me the idea of them is removed from anything happening at DC Comics today, and I read Marvel Comics instead.