• Batman ’89: Echoes
    #2 flips the meaning of an iconic scene from
    The Killing Joke
    , exploring Batman’s mental health in a new light.
  • In the comic, Bruce Wayne goes undercover at Arkham Asylum to gather information on Jonathan Crane, encountering a patient reminiscent of the Joker.
  • The issue sets up potential dark paths for Michael Keaton’s Batman, hinting at mental damage as he continues his investigation at Arkham.


Warning: contains spoilers for Batman ’89: Echoes #2!

Michael Keaton’s Batman just flipped the meaning of one of the most iconic panels in The Dark Knight’s long history. In Batman ‘89: Echoes, Bruce Wayne, while investigating Doctor Jonathan Crane, goes undercover at Arkham Asylum. In issue two, the undercover Batman shares a moment with another patient that brings to mind one of the most iconic, and meaningful, scenes in the character’s 85 years.

Batman ‘89: Echoes #2 is written by Sam Hamm and drawn by Joe Quinones. Posing as another man, Bruce Wayne is slowly gathering intelligence on Crane, which has required him to make friends with some of the patients at Arkham. One of them is a man named “Maynard,” who possesses a maniacal quality reminiscent of the Joker. As Batman continues to pump Maynard for information, the two share a hearty laugh.

Seven panels of Maynard and an undercover Batman talking.

Maynard then spills some of the beans on the goings-on at the Asylum, namely the “Monster Men.”

The Burton-Verse Batman Getting His Own Version of The Killing Joke?

The Killing Joke Is an Iconic Batman Story

Nine panels from The Killing Joke, featuring Batman and the Joker laughing.

DC Comics has been blessed with great live-action projects, namely Christopher Reeves in Superman, Lynda Carter in Wonder Woman and Michael Keaton in Batman. These takes are iconic, and the publisher has continued their stories in a series of new comics that match the aesthetic. Batman ‘89 has treated Bat-fans to new visions of Two-Face (based on Burton’s original ideas) as well as Batgirl and Harley Quinn, who will be based on Madonna. Batman ‘89: Echoes, the follow-up to the first series, is taking it a step further by flipping the script on an iconic moment in his career.

Roughly a year before Tim Burton released Batman, DC Comics published The Killing Joke, by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland. The special format one-shot is regarded as one of Batman’s best stories, and a high watermark of comics in the 1980s. At the conclusion of the book, Batman and the Joker share a laugh together. Moore intended for this scene to point out similarities between Batman and the Joker, as two deeply disturbed men. While their psychoses manifested in very different ways, both Batman and the Joker were two peas in a pod–a radical take for its time.


DC Finally Reveals What Happened Right After The Killing Joke Ended

The Killing Joke was a graphic novel that saw Batman and his friends put through the wringer, and now DC’s shown what happened in its aftermath.

Could Michael Keaton’s Batman Be Headed to a Dark Fate?

The Similarities With The Killing Joke Are Too Many To Ignore

Image of the Joker laughing maniacally. 

Now, Hamm and Quinones have given Michael Keaton’s Batman a similar scene, but at the same time flipping its meaning. Moore and Bolland were making a point about Batman’s mental health. Michael Keaton’s Batman was one of the more level-headed and grounded takes on the character. Michael Keaton downplayed the extreme neurosis that was a hallmark of The Killing Joke, but by sharing a laugh with a patient similar to the Joker, this interpretation of Batman may be heading down a dark path. The longer he stays in Arkham, the greater the risk of mental damage.

Batman ’89: Echoes

Batman 1989 Poster
Batman (1989)

Batman is a 1989 superhero movie directed by Tim Burton and starring Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne. The film features Jack Nicholson’s chilling portrayal as Jack Napier, who turns into the Joker and reigns terror on Gotham. Kim Basinger also stars in the film as Vicki Vale, along with Michael Gough as Bruce’s trusty butler named Alfred.

#2 is on sale now from DC Comics!

Batman ’89: Echoes #2 (2024)

Batman 89 Echoes 2 Main Cover: redesigned movie versions of Harley Quinn and Batgirl
  • Writer: Sam Hamm
  • Artist: Joe Quinones
  • Colorist: Leonardo Ito
  • Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual
  • Cover Artist: Joe Quinones

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