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Comic Book / Batman: Thrillkiller

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Batman: Thrillkiller is an alternate Batman continuity released under the Elseworlds imprint. It consists of the 1997 3-issue miniseries Batgirl and Robin: Thrillkiller and the 1998 one-shot Batgirl and Batman: Thrillkiller '62, both written by Howard Chaykin.

It's 1961 and Gotham is incredibly corrupt. The police have been entirely bought by the mob, except for Commissioner Gordon and Detective Bruce Wayne. Meanwhile, two new vigilantes have shown up, Batgirl and Robin, to take down the police. During all the chaos, crime boss Bianca Steeplechase declares war on the two vigilantes...


This comic contains examples of:

  • The '60s: The miniseries is set in 1961. The 62 one-shot is set in 1962.
  • Adaptation Name Change:
    • The Joker gets a real name here, going by Bianca Steeplechase to correspond with the comic's gender change.
    • Robin's real name is Richart Graustart instead of Dick Grayson, which is an alias he adopted.
    • Harley Quinn is Hayley Fitzpatrick instead of Harleen Quinzell.
  • Adaptation Origin Connection: Batman is inspired by Batgirl, instead of the other way around.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • Selina Kyle never becomes a jewel thief, with her only criminal past being something in sex work.
    • Like in most adaptations, Harvey Bullock's dirty past isn't acknowledged here.
    • Edward Nygma is a kindly psychiatrist as opposed to criminal mastermind The Riddler. While he's implied to be a quack, he's not evil.
    • Harvey Dent gets this by way of Decomposite Character, being a straightforward heroic DA instead of the secret identity of Two-Face.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • Two-Face in the mainstream continuity was ultimately a tragic figure who was constantly trying and failing to reform. His counterpart Duell is a Dirty Cop racketeer who ends up becoming Bianca Steeplechase's first Dragon and has zero redeeming qualities. However he is a Decomposite Character with Harvey Dent appearing separately.
    • Killer Croc may be a violent criminal, but he's never been the bodyguard to a Nazi.
    • At the time of the comic's release, Harley Quinn was still a villain and Joker's gleeful sidekick in the mainstream continuity, but her tragic elements are omitted in this canon.
  • Adaptational Wimp:
    • Selina Kyle never becomes Catwoman, simply being a stripper and informant in this continuity.
    • Roy Harper cameos, but as Green Arrow does not exist in this continuity, he does not become Speedy.
  • Alternate Continuity: To Batman. In the official DC Multiverse, it's designated as Earth-37 and has been combined with Chaykin's Twilight miniseries.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Batgirl does this in her costume.
  • Batman Grabs a Gun: Robin takes up firearms to go after the criminals who murdered his family.
  • Big Bad: Bianca Steeplechase, a drug baroness trying to control Gotham and this continuity's version of The Joker.
  • Civvie Spandex: Robin wears what looks like a varsity jacket.
  • Clear My Name: Bruce busts out of jail after he's framed for murder to take down the mob who framed him.
  • Corrupt Politician: The Mayor of Gotham is revealed to be in Bianca's pocket.
  • Crapsack World: This is the standard Gotham of crime bosses and universally corrupt police, but with extra systemic sexism and homophobia laced in.
  • Death by Adaptation:
    • Selina Kyle is thrown out a window by Bianca, despite being alive in the mainstream continuity.
    • Dick Grayson is poisoned by Bianca.
    • The Joker drowns in Gotham River.
  • Decomposite Character: Harvey Dent is a straightforward, heroic attorney here, with his qualities as Two-Face going to a Dirty Cop named Duell.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Bianca Steeplechase is a ruthless crime boss who seduces a drunken lout in her plan to take the city and enters into a relationship with a teenage girl who's just as crazy as she is.
  • Dirty Cop: Batgirl and Robin start their careers by battling Gotham's corrupt police force.
  • Disability Immunity: Bianca is unaffected by Batgirl's sonic weapons because she's hard of hearing.
  • The Dragon: Bianca has a different one in both parts. In Thrillkiller, it's racketeering Dirty Cop Duell, and in Thrillkiller '62 it's Nazi scientist Otto Saunders.
  • Elseworld: The Batman mythos in the early 1960's.
  • The End... Or Is It?: Thrillkiller '62 ends with Bianca dead and her operation shut down, but Harley Quinn manages to escape.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Otto Szunders is a ruthless ex-Nazi Mad Scientist, but he doesn't like experimenting on people when they don't know what's happening.
  • Femme Fatalons: Bianca uses a special nail polish to make her fingernails poisonous.
  • Frame-Up: Detective Wayne is framed for Selina Kyle's murder by Duell and his cops.
  • Gender Flip: The Joker counterpart is a woman.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Bianca serves a crime boss known as Don Julio, but Julio doesn't appear in the comic proper.
  • The Hero Dies: Robin is poisoned by Bianca.
  • I Have Your Wife: Bianca forces a newspaper man to print an expose revealing Batgirl and Robin's secret identities under threat of killing his wife and kids. Luckily, she got their identities wrong.
  • It's Personal: Batgirl and Robin initially see Bianca Steeplechase as a simple mob boss to take down, until she has Robin's family killed and they go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • The Wayne family servants seemingly get away with murdering Bruce's parents. Same with whoever killed Barbara's mom.
    • Harley Quinn is still at large at the end of the comic, with Bruce making her capture top priority.
  • Kiss of Death: Bianca has poisonous lipstick, which she uses to kill Robin.
  • The Mentally Disturbed: Barbara shows signs of PTSD relating to Robin's death in Thrillkiller '62. It culminates in her putting on the Robin costume and going on a violent revenge spree against his surviving killers.
  • Missing Mom: Batgirl's mom was murdered long before the comic.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Bruce Wayne regularly appears shirtless.
  • Ms. Fanservice:
    • Batgirl is a beautiful redhead who wears tight, midriff-baring clothing and is explicitly compared to a showgirl. She uses this to her advantage, since sexist thugs tend to underestimate her. In Thrillkiller '62, she gets a scene in a sheer nightgown and one in her bra.
    • Selina Kyle is literally a stripper, and we briefly see her performance.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain:
    • Duell is a vicious Dirty Cop who shakes down gay bars and condescends Batgirl for being a woman.
    • Harley Quinn is Bianca's gleeful sidekick and seems to be slightly xenophobic against Germans.
  • Psycho Lesbian: Harley Quinn appears late in Thrillkiller '62, still just as in love with Joker, who is a woman here.
  • The Queenpin: Bianca is an accomplished gangster and to rule over all of Gotham's underworld is her attempted goal.
  • Retraux: The art style is deliberately reminiscent of the covers of old pulp magazines.
  • Revenge by Proxy: Bianca retaliates against Robin's vigilantism by sabotaging his acrobat family's tightropes, killing them all.
  • Riches to Rags: In this continuity, Bruce Wayne's family was ruined by the depression, so he became a cop.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Harley Quinn ends the comic by killing her parents and younger brother.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The first panel of the comic prominently features a theatre marquee advertising Ben-Hur (1959).
    • When Bianca gets ahold of Robin's glove, she explicitly compares her plan to trace him with it to Cinderella.
    • When describing the time skip that starts Thrillkiller '62, Dr. No is referenced.
  • Stock Superhero Day Jobs: Batgirl is a wealthy socialite, Batman is a freelance bum.
  • Terms of Endangerment: Bianca loves to call Batgirl "Red."
  • Those Wacky Nazis: In Thrillkiller '62, Bianca hires an escaped Nazi to make a highly addictive drug as part of a plan to take over Gotham.
  • Time Skip: A year goes by between the end of Thrillkiller and the beginning of Thrillkiller '62.
  • Wrench Wench: Barbara fixes her own car.