This idea started when Tim Maxwell at Neuverse Creative and I were discussing the idea of short narrated audios in the Batman multiverse.
At first, this seems like an odd pairing. Batman Forever is known as one of the lighter Batman movies while this is one of the darker stories.
And yet, it worked way better than I thought.
First off, the story features a college-aged Dick Grayson/Robin and the Batman in it is a publicly known figure who interacts with people. The story also has a heavy theme in revenge and Batman talking about not killing, which really fit the Val Kilmer Batman.
Not to mention that Dennis O’Neil was on record around 1995 for finding Batman Forever to be the best written script of the 90s Batman films. It seemed fitting to tie one of his classic stories into the film. I’ve also been of the belief that Kilmer’s Batman is closer to the Dennis O’Neil style of Batman, who was a lot more verbose than his predecessor, Keaton, while not as dark as the modern take on the character.
One fundamental change I did was making the Reaper more responsible for the deaths than he was in the comic. In reading through the original, it struck me that the Reaper doesn’t actually kill Schloss. And most confusing of all is when Batman hints that the Reaper killed the Batman imposter in the beginning. But the question is, why? We never actually find out who he was or why the Reaper killed him.
It seemed odd to make such a big deal out of the Reaper turning to vengeance when he didn’t actually get his revenge on Schloss and only really gets to kill one unnamed Nazi and a random partygoer in a Batsuit for an unexplained reason.
I decided to rewrite the story so that The Reaper uses the Nazis as pawns for Batman to capture and is now partially responsible for Schloss’s death by leading him to the exploding car.
So in this version, Greuner discovers that Schloss is in Vermont and leaks it out to lead the Nazis there as well as Batman. Seeking to kill Schloss himself, he makes Batman and Robin think that Schloss was fighting the other Nazis in the Reaper disguise and ended up getting killed by them. With this plan, Greuner would get away with all of it as Batman and Robin would arrest the Nazis. This is also why he leaves Robin alive when he’s in the Reaper outfit.
Gruener kills Schloss’s chauffeur first, dressing him up in the Batsuit and, as the Reaper, swings at Robin to get them in the same vicinity as the Nazis. He then manipulates the Nazis into bombing Schloss’s car and chases the Nazi colonel in the Reaper garb. With his chauffeur missing, Schloss tries to escape in his car, only to get blown up.
None of this is actually in the comic, but it makes the Reaper more cunning and makes the corpse in the Batsuit more significant in the story. I stayed true to the fact that Schloss goes to the party dressed as a pirate and turned it into a clue for Batman when he finds the fake earring in the remnants of the car.