Kill the Justice League’s Batman Is Controversial – But He Makes Up for a Massive Arrowverse Mistake

Image of Batman with purple eyes standing in a neon-red-lit room. This image is part of an article about did Batman die in the Arkham games.
Image via Rocksteady

Warning: The following article about Suicide Squad: Kills the Justice League contains spoilers.

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The discourse around Rocksteady’s latest release, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, is intense, to say the least. Once people learned that the game takes place in the Arkhamverse, it’s like a switch flipped, causing a lot of excitement to turn into vitriol.

Most of the controversy centers around the late Kevin Conroy’s performance as Batman, as many feel like the game does the Arkhamverse iteration of the character a disservice by turning him evil and then killing him. However, Kill the Justice League‘s evil Batman is actually a lot of fun and makes up for a mistake the Arrowverse made.

Before knocking evil Batman just for being evil, it’s important to understand that, like Superman, the Dark Knight breaks bad pretty consistently. The Batman Who Laughs has become pretty popular in recent years, and Owlman always makes for a solid foil for Bruce Wayne. The success of these dark counterparts led the powers that be at the Arrowverse to try their hand at creating one, but it failed – spectacularly.

When the Arrowverse was at the height of its power, it shocked audiences by using the end of its “Elseworlds” crossover to tease the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” event. The announcement was exciting, but many question how big the Arrowverse could really go. Those skeptics would have to eat their words a year later when the event aired, as big names like Tom Welling, Tom Ellis, and even Burt Ward made cameos. However, it was Kevin Conroy’s first live-action turn as Batman that really had people excited.

Kevin Conroy in Crisis on Infinite Earths. This image is part of an article about how Kill the Justice League's Batman is controversial - but he makes up for a massive Arrowverse mistake.

Appearing in the second episode of the crossover, Conroy played a take on the Kingdom Come version of Batman. Supergirl and Batwoman are sent on a mission to find the Paragon of Courage, who will help the forces of good defeat the Anti-Monitor. However, this Dark Knight checked all of his courage at the door, with Supergirl and Batwoman learning he killed his universe’s Superman after losing his way. It’s a fascinating concept, but with Conroy only appearing for a few minutes and dying unceremoniously, it left a lot to be desired, especially for those who consider Conroy the quintessential Batman.

Well, no matter your opinion on Kill the Justice League, it’s hard to argue that Conroy’s evil Batman isn’t genuinely fantastic in the game. He spends most of the game pestering the Suicide Squad about not being up to the task, which is great because a trash-talking Dark Knight makes for a lot of great moments.

Batman follows Task Force X around for the majority of the game, appearing on rooftops and making Metropolis feel a lot like Gotham. And that’s where Batman’s role in Kill the Justice League really shines as he puts the players in the shoes of a villain from the Arkham games, forcing them to constantly watch their backs in fear of one of the world’s greatest heroes showing up and taking them out.

Sure, Kill the Justice League‘s Batman dying at the hands of Harley Quinn may give fans flashbacks of him getting electrocuted in “Crisis On Infinite Earths,” but the build-up to that moment makes the performance one of Conroy’s most interesting. While the Arkhamverse’s original hero may not have gone out on his own terms, at least his dark turn at the end gave Conroy another shot at showing a different side of the character he’s synonymous with.

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is now available on PC, Xbox Series X/S, and PS5.

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Author
Jackson Hayes
Jackson Hayes is an Associate Editor at The Escapist. Starting his writing career in 2017, he quickly rose the ranks and became an editor. He's spent the last six years working at outlets such as CBR, Heroic Hollywood and Full Circle Cinema. You can follow him on Twitter @jacksonhayes67