Batman: The Animated Series

Season 1 Episode 49

The Man Who Killed Batman

Aired Saturday 9:00 AM Feb 01, 1993 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
143 votes

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Episode Summary

A small time hood becomes a hunted underworld hero when he apparently kills Batman.

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  • The quintessential Batman: The Animated Series episode.

    Words cannot do justice to "The Man Who Killed Batman". It deftly combines a gritty, noir-ish atmosphere that typifies what is so perfect about this series with a story jam-packed with alluring characters, dark humour and a moody score. Above all else, it's fun, a gripping adventure that made me want to jump out of my seat and applaud.

    Usually I hate flashbacks, but to this episode's credit they keep the suspense alive at every act break and make you ponder how Sid the Squid will wriggle out of his dilemma. And what a dilemma. With the Joker, Harley Quinn, Rupert Thorne and various thugs monitoring his ascent to fame in the Gotham Underworld, he learns first-hand the consequences of messing with the status quo, with incredible results. Focusing on the criminal's reactions to Batman's demise was fantastic. Paul Dini excels at this stuff. The script is laced with powerful quotes that resonate because of the stupendous voice-acting. Mark Hamill in particular gives us a Joker who's unsure of his place in Gotham with Batman, the one person who gave meaning to his insanity, gone, while his interaction with Harley Quinn provides some intruiging insight into how the domestic violence aspect their relationship kicked off.

    There are lots of telling things in here, but the art and animation are what truly propel this episode onto the list of B:TAS' finest gems. What better way to start a mysterious episode such as this than with a sweeping pan of Gotham City in the darkness, as lightning crackles away in the sky? This is one of the most satisfying episodes where film noir is concerned. And the Joker, who, throughout the series, is victim to being rendered constantly off-model by the animators, is given a look by the shadows thrown across his face that makes him appear as scary, sinister and malevolent as a shark. No racoon eyes to be found here.

    The plot constantly kept me guessing and when I saw the pangs of grief in the Joker, I had to wonder if Batman was gone for good.

    Yeah, right. :P The final scene (barring the prison sequence) shows that that isn't the case. Batman bursts in and decks Thorne in one of the most rousing scenes in the entire series. The rendition of the Batman theme music, coupled with the organ music used at the beginning of the episode, makes this moment magnificent. Not only that, but there was a moment where I actually believed that Rupert Thorne had shot Sid - Sid's horrified then bemused reaction speaks for itself, and why this episode often descends into hilarity.

    While fans may take issue with how abrupt Sid's rescue from the Joker is, this ultimately does not matter, nor does it need to be explained. Given how satisfying the final explanation is, our minds can fill in the blanks with the less important stuff. It's funny to think that such a remarkable feat of story-telling could revolve around the brief disappearance of Batman, but it's not in the least surprising when Paul Dini avoided looking at things from the perspective of Batman and his allies, when that would have diffused the tension.

    There are odd animation flaws, particularly during the climax, but if people are willing to overlook the ones in "Heart of Ice", then they'll surely overlook the ones here. And these are more than made up for by the Joker's speech, which is so intimidating yet side-splittingly funny that you can't help but worship Mark Hamill's portrayal of him.

    This episode is more than worth the price of admission. It's too often overlooked, and I'd urge even the casual fans to check it out. It indirectly gets to the heart of Batman's guiding presence to the people of Gotham, and puts an ordinary man in an extraordinary situation for 20 minutes of unadulterated fun.moreless
  • Batman Dead?

    This episode is another favorate of my because it downright funny and supprising as well, in a strange way the whole episode is formated similar to a silent comidy where it's always about some odd goofball character in odder circumstances. Even from the begining there was no way I could believe Batman could be killed so easy despite what happened, but it really what goes on during the non presense of Batman that makes this episode great, in fact Batman is really more of a cameo role in this one.

    For one this episode is actually focuses on well basically a nobody, just a mere henchman which is great. Sometimes in most of those comic book stories or certain cartoon shows even though henchmen/women by their nature are just background characters I couldn't help wondering what one was thinking at the other end of the spectrum. This episode gives us a loose idea of that.

    The character Sid the Squid (played brillantly by Matt Fewer) is a likable character. He's obviously timid, has low self esteem, though does have health ambitions of moving up the ladder in his crime carrer if not the aggression to power it to reality. Well as they say everyone gets their break, and he gets it big time and a whole lot more.

    I really loved that confornation between both Batman and Sid. It was funny and almost unbelievable but you have to see it for yourself to believe it. Sid overpowers the Bat though what I call dumb luck, never in a million years could I think this could happen to a superhero but it did.

    And that is what makes this episode all the more funny just seeing how these unbelievable things can happen to an ordinary man and his perspective on them. But I think the best moments were with Sid's interaction with the Joker and Harley Quinn, Sid obviously shares the same viewpoint with us and Bataman on the two their insane. I like that one moment in jail when we see Harley actually look and acts like a normal person for once (I'll admit she looks great) this part reveals a piece of background on who she was before she became well you know who. But I really like how we see a slight humane side (or a fragment) to the Joker, how much the conflict between him and Batman ment to him. We see even though the Joker hated Batman he actaually enjoyed the chase and constant conflict between them as if somehow the idea of each of the Joker's plight being endangered was sort of the Joker's jolt of motivation. But most of all always carried within him the desire to be the one to kill Batman his way, but we see when he's robbed of it he feels empty.

    The funnest (or blackly funnest) moment would be the funeral scene. Where we see the Joker gives probably the most interesting uligy I've ever heard, I couldn't help but crack up every time Harley cried when the Joker was finished with one portion of it. Then of course Sid is pushed into the empty coffin that is rolling down a pit of acid, I couldn't help but laugh during that since Harley was playing amazing grace with a kazoo and the last line from the Joker.

    But once again though Sid's dumb luck (or Batman's intervention not entirely sure which) gets him out when the coffin gets washed into the shore of the Gotham River. And of could all of the crazy things that happened we see added up to something in the end.

    I don't know if this is something to be prowd about or not since this is about the possiblity of my favorate superhero getting close to taken out. But I can't help but commend this guy, because despite all the supervillans attempts he was the only one that really came closest and the fact this was an ordinary guy is awdsome. And extra credit on the fact he even took on a supervillan by making a fool of the Joker (we'll sort of); so I give this guy a medal.moreless
  • classic. Joker at his best and Rupert Thorne aswell

    this episode is one of the greatest of all the series. It has a variaty (bad spellng i know) of villains so differents like the mob and Rupert Thorne to the Joker and Harley Quinn. The first time I saw this episode, it was getting better every second and then the Joker appears...what can be better than this. Sidney is a very funny character with qutes like after he "killed" batman he was always saying "sorry I didn't meant to do it" and stuff like that. About Joker, this episode contains a lot of his feelings like sadness when he realizes that Bats has died, of angry when he's going to kill Sidney, evilness when he goes to rob the jewelly and the usual punchs. Excellent episodemoreless
  • batman is killed by a two bit criminal who then must face off against the joker and Rupert Thorne.

    In one sense, the viewer should relaize that no one will ever be able to kill batman, but that does not mean that this episode is uninteresting. rather, it is exciting and dramatic, as the bumbling oaf, Sidney, moves from one dangerous situation to the next, unaware of his numerous brushes with death. i enjoyed seeing the Joker during the funeral, because he was both lucid and insane and it was neat to see his mood swings. One flaw though. if Sidney removed Batman's cape and cowl why couldn't he see burce's face. Overall a great and etertaining episode.moreless
  • You really know how to put the 'fun' in 'funeral'.

    A small time hood named 'Sid the Squid' faces Batman on a rooftop when he is on lookout and is led to believe he killed Batman due to an accident. When this occurs, he becomes famous in the underworld and is even captured by the Joker.

    What made this episode so interesting was actually the Joker and how he responded to Batman's apparent demise. It turns out he actually missed Batman because 'crime has no punchline' without him. He shows his usual twisted nature again with his 'funeral' for Batman where he planned to get revenge on Sid for killing Batman. I also found Sid quite a fun character to watch, and it was interesting to see how he would react to his new status.

    All in all, an interesting episode that provided some real insight on some of the characters.moreless
Robert Picardo

Robert Picardo


Guest Star

Maurice LaMarche

Maurice LaMarche


Guest Star

Matt Frewer

Matt Frewer

Sidney Debris

Guest Star

Robert Costanzo

Robert Costanzo

Detective Harvey Bullock

Recurring Role

John Vernon

John Vernon

Rupert Thorne

Recurring Role

Arleen Sorkin

Arleen Sorkin

Harley Quinn

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (6)

    • Note that when Harley Quinn impersonates a lawyer, she states her name as "Harleen Quinzel", which in later episodes is revealed to be her real name.

    • This is the first appearance of Bud & Lou, Harley's pet Hyena's

    • Look for: In the opening shot with the newspaper that reads 'Batman Slain?', the newspaper goes completely blank for a frame.

    • Sidney's nickname "Sid the Squid" was listed as an alias of Tony Zucco, the man who killed Dick Grayson's parents, in a file on the Batcomputer in part one of the episode "Robin's Reckoning."

    • Look for: When Batman throws Rupert Thorne over his desk and across the room look at where Batman is standing. You should be able to still see his legs but they disappear from the frame.

    • Look for: During the bar fight, look for the bartender who nonchalantly drops the bowl of peanuts onto one of the fighters.

  • QUOTES (12)

    • Joker: (about Batman) Where is he? He's never been this late before! There's a certain rhythm to these things. I cause trouble, he shows up. We have some laughs and the game starts all over again! (Points at Sid) Only now, thanks to you, I have this terrible feeling he's... really not coming.
      Harley Quinn: (wearing an assortment of jewels) Whee! Look at all the pretties!
      Joker: Put them back, Harley.
      Harley Quinn: (shocked) Oh, Mr. J, you're such a kidder. You never could... (He grabs her by the neck)
      Harley Quinn: Ack!
      Joker: (shouting) I said PUT THEM BACK! (He throws her across the room and she tumbles over several times)
      Harley Quinn: Sure, boss, I can do that. This is me putting them back, no problemo. Heh, heh. (She scoops up the jewels with both arms, grinning uncomfortably at him)

    • Thorne: I hear you've made a name for youself. What is it they're calling you? Ah yes! "The man who killed Batman"

    • Joker: (After sending Sid to his doom) Well, that was fun! Who's for Chinese?

    • Sid: Who would know me well enough to bail me out? My mom doesn't even speak to me...and my parole officer is still in jail.

    • Joker: Without Batman, crime has no punchline.

    • Joker (After meeting Sid): One thing troubles me about your story, Sid: No body. No Batus delecti so to speak. We need to pull a job tonight just to make sure.
      Henchman:Make sure of what, Boss?
      Joker (visably annoyed): That Batman's bought the cave, of course. Oh and one more thing - don't ask stupid questions. (Proceeds to push Henchman into hyenas, who start tearing him up)
      (yelling, screaming): Ow! Ouch! Ooo! Ow!
      Harleyquinn: I'll get the mop.

    • Crook 1: (While Sid is led to his cell in prison) Hey, look! It's the Squid!
      Crook 2: Toughest man in Gotham!
      Crook 3: Nearly offed the Batman!
      Crook 4: Set Thorne up!
      Crook 5: Made a fool out of the Joker!
      Crook 6: Don't mess with him, man.
      Sid: (dreamily) A big shot at last.

    • Joker: This pile of diseased hyena filth who's not fit to lick the dirt from my spats-- but I digress.

    • Crook 1: Sid's taking on the Batman!
      Crook 2: The little weasel's got guts. No brains, but guts.

    • Harley Quinn: You know what's great about you, puddin'? You really put the 'fun' in 'funeral'.

    • Bullock: Don't I know you from someplace?
      Harleen: (posing as a lawyer) I think I served you a subpoena once... It was a small subpoena.

    • Thug: Suddenly I'm thinking 'if I take down the guy who took down Batman then I'll be the toughest guy in town.'
      Sid: Hey! You got my vote, chief!

  • NOTES (3)

    • The plot for this episode is loosely based upon a story from Detective Comics #524: "Deathgrip" by Gerry Conway and Don Newton. In the original story, Sid the Squid apparently kills Batman, but this is revealed to be only a delusion that the character is suffering as a result of his conflict with Batman.

    • This episode is episode 23 on the Batman: The Animated Series Volume 2 DVD.

    • body. No batus delecti, so to speak...

      This is a play on the legal term corpus delecti, which basically means proof that a crime happened, such as a dead body. Since Batman's body had not been found, Joker questions whether or not Sydney killed him.


    • Ace Chemical Plant

      Joker holds Batman's funeral in the Ace Chemical Plant. In the comics this is where Joker's origin takes place. He was a smalltime crook who, during a robbery that was foiled by Batman, fell into a chemical vat in the Ace Chemical Plant that died his hair green and bleached his skin white as makeup. Thus he became the Joker. Whether or not this story is true is unknown, although a similar origin was used in the Batman (1989) movie and has now been referenced in this animated series.