There are several great Batman screen actors (...you know your fav), but there is just one who reigns as king of the Batman animated world: Kevin Conroy, who has been the fan-favorite voice of The Dark Knight ever since the debut of Batman: The Animated Series in 1992. In the 21st century alone he's headlined over a dozen DC Universe animated features and even found relevancy in the gaming world by voicing Batman in the hit Batman: Arkham Asylum video games.
Conroy is back on the geek scene thanks to his work once again voicing Batman in Batman: The Killing Joke - which once again puts him opposite his Batman: The Animated Series co-star Mark Hamill, who is (to many fans) the animated Joker to Conroy's Batman. While out doing press for the release of The Killing Joke (which has already courted some controversy), Conroy spoke to IGN about the character of Batman - and why he believes that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice didn't get part of it right.
In describing what he loves about the character of Batman, Conroy said the following: "Personally I love the fact that Batman – in the stories I’ve done, and the way he’s been rendered by Bruce Timm and Paul Dini, the people I’ve worked with most closely – he never kills anybody. He doesn’t cross that line. Batman is not a killer."
He later added, "In the most recent live action movie, that seems to have been a line that was crossed and it’s not one I’m particularly comfortable with."
A lot of fans and critics have made similar complaints about the brutality of Ben Affleck's Batman in Dawn of Justice; and if you watch the R-rated Ultimate Edition, Batman comes off as even more ruthless and malicious about killing Lex Luthor's mercenary goons. So there is a discussion to be had there. Of course, the other side of the argument is that Zack Snyder's Batman is based on Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns storyline, in which an older Batman comes out of retirement and is way more brutal than he used to be. And even though that older Batman still believes in the same values he used to, he kind of does cross the line - at least in one moment:
The bottom line here is that fan debate will never end on this subject. It's hard to pinpoint where, when or why it became a rule of Batman's character - or why some think it so rigid a point - but hey, that's what makes comic book characters and their many interpretations so much fun.
Batman: The Killing Joke is now available on DVD/Blu-ray and has been available on Digital Download.