Should Batman Kill? – Awesome Comics

The Awesome Comics crew is joined by Rob Walker to discuss, Should Batman Kill? Should the masked super hero kill or does that ruin the whole point of him? Let us know in the comments!

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83 comments

  1. Devil's Advocate

    I hate the straw man that people who want Batman to kill the Joker want him to kill ALL criminals. why is it apparently impossible for Batman to kill the Joker and ONLY the Joker?

    and another question they should have asked is does a certain supervillain deserve do die? because yes, at least in fiction, some people really deserve to die.

    if the slippery slope is a thing, then how come heroes who do kill like the Punisher limit it to only the worst criminals and they don’t snap and kill pick pockets and purse snatchers?

    • TragicGuineaPig

      The problem with the way you structure your argument:

      Does the Joker deserve to die? Yes. And so do several of Batman’s rogues.

      Does that in and of itself justify Batman killing them? No. Because it isn’t Batman’s place to kill them, even if they do deserve it. That’s why he doesn’t do it: he does not stoop to their level, but instead puts them in the hands of the civil justice system, whose duty it would be to make that decision.

      “But the civil justice system keeps failing.” Maybe, but that still doesn’t make it Batman’s job to kill anyone, even if they do deserve it.

      And just so we’re clear on this: the issue isn’t merely a moral one (whether it would be right for him to do it) or a legal one (whether he could do so without becoming a lawbreaker himself). It’s also a matter of psychology and character. Batman works best when he does have a code that he lives by, and killing just isn’t something he would do. That’s largely because he himself was a victim of his parents’ murder. He isn’t fighting merely to avenge them, but also to honor them, and killing would not honor them.

      • Devil's Advocate

        but again, how can come the Punisher doesn’t fall off the slippery slope and start killing pickpockets?

        and if the legal system keeps failing, what other option is there?

        • TragicGuineaPig

          The Punisher is already nuts, though. Bad example. He still has no qualms about slaughtering drug dealers, hitmen, gangsters, crime bosses, and the like.

          If anything, I think the Punisher is worse for some of the things he has done. Like that time he duct-taped a gun to Daredevil’s hand and concocted a scenario where DD either had to watch the Punisher murder a man and get away with it, or to murder the Punisher himself. Now that’s sick! It’s not bad enough that he feels his own need to kill; he’s actually trying to create a killer out of DD.

          So, yeah, I’m not so sure we can really cite Punisher as a prime example of a hero who kills and doesn’t go nuts over it.

          But I will agree: the way the slippery slope argument is presented isn’t very realistic. I don’t think Batman would go from killing the Joker in self-defense to suddenly slaughtering jaywalkers. But that really isn’t the point. The point is that Bruce has a line he does not cross for a reason. That reason is that he isn’t an appointed judge, jury, or executioner. So it’s not his place to decide who lives and who dies. He doesn’t cross that line because, for him, it goes against everything he stands for. Batman is the embodiment of justice; therefore, unlike Harvey Dent, whose coin flip decides what is right and what is wrong, Batman instead realizes that, to be the embodiment of justice, he cannot act against his moral code.

          • Devil's Advocate

            I believe I was more thinking about the 90s Spider-Man version of the Punisher and wile he was sanitized by the censors, he was still willing to kill as a default.

            and some people see the death penalty is unquestionably wrong. so, if it is wrong, what’s the difference between it and a vigilante killing?

          • TragicGuineaPig

            Because a system of civil justice will have checks and balances. There will be a fair trial with evidence presented, witnesses testifying, two sides arguing the case, and a judge to mediate. It’s not just one person deciding, “You’re guilty because I say so,” and taking them out with no chance to defend themselves.

            Think about it: if you were accused of a crime you didn’t commit, would you rather have an attorney, a jury, and a judge to try your case? Or some crazy guy with a gun in a back alley?

            If I remember, the Punisher actually started out as a villain. He evolved into a hero during the late 80s, mostly because movie heroes like Clint Eastwood, Ahnuld, and Sylvester Stallone were basically doing what the Punisher was doing, and they were the good guys. So they shifted emphasis and made him more of a hero.

          • Devil's Advocate

            but Batman knows for a fact the Joker is guilty of what he does, so there isn’t really an issue of a mistake on his guilt or innocence.

          • It doesn’t matter. Batman is still not judge, jury, or executioner. It’s not his job to kill the Joker, even if he knows the Joker is guilty. Even if he knows it for a fact, it’s not his call.

          • Devil's Advocate

            but again, if they never use the death penalty and Joker will never, ever stay locked up, what else is Batman going to do?

            I don’t want Batman to become the Punisher but I think I will always be dissatisfied with the no killing rule.

          • It still comes down to this: to take upon himself that role, he has to decide to become judge, jury, and executioner. And there are legitimate reasons why Batman will not assume that role.

            And let’s not forget this little fact as well: Batman villains who die generally don’t stay dead. Whether resurrected by a Lazarus Pit, or brought back by some unexplained means, dead villains don’t stay dead. How many times has the Joker died, and yet he’s still around? So it’s kind of pointless to expect Batman to kill when even death doesn’t stop the villains.

          • Devil's Advocate

            well for whatever reason, the death is cheap trope doesn’t apply to alternate universes, just New Earth/Prime Earth.

          • is not his job to go around dress as a bat an interfering with police work.. i mean let not forget that one of the reason criminals keep getting send back to arkham instead of prison is that he ait a member of the law

          • You missing the point.. they land in Arkhem because they are mostly a mental patients. Way in with they are cough is irrelevant as there is a thing called “civilian intervention”. If someone commit crime anyone can stop him.. at least if he can prove it.

      • Devil's Advocate

        and he did in fact murder Joe Chill, his parents killer, if indirectly. and I am referring to the New Earth/Post-Crisis/Pre-Flashpoint continuity were Batman gave Chill a gun the latter committed suicide with on the spot.

        • TragicGuineaPig

          The question isn’t “Has Batman ever killed?” The question is, “SHOULD he kill?” Citing points in which the character has either failed to uphold his moral code, or just plain didn’t have one, doesn’t really answer the second question.

    • First of all people who want kill all criminals are sociopaths or simply immature, and this same goes to supporting death sentence what is already proved to be inefficient, uncivilized, misplaced and unjust. Most criminals are people in need.

      Secondary.. Batman should kill criminals only when they directly treat life of other peoples and he don’t have other way to stop them. Even police and private security have that right (also Superman support this logic though he can easier avoid killing), and Batman specifically avoid killing because technically he is vigilante and already what he does is on edge of legality.. yes, he has reason for that as his enemies would kill him otherwise, but still. Not to mention that most of his enemies are mental patients what in fact are under protection of law as insane.

      In case of Joker specifically.. there is more then one Joker:
      – Golden Era Joker – From Earth 2.. dead.
      – Silver Era Joker – Sociopath circus worker who did stuff from boredom, he has also ex-wife. Mostly active on early stage of Batman activity and for long time inactive.. ironically one of most dangerous as he was responsible for Killing Joke.
      – Bronze Era Joker – Creation of Red Hood project what is multiple people who survive being a Red Hood and were implemented by Joker personality. He is a gang leader usually working as cover up for secret projects. In fact Batman could kill few of him in some circumstances.
      – Dark Era Joker – A Sociopath who want bring chaos and destruction.. possibly with personal vendetta against Batman. Most dangerous as possibly sane.
      – Tattooed Joker – A young member of Red Hood project who was forcibly recruited by batman as second Robin. Jason Todd was killed by Joker who cut later “J” on his chick.. later he come back as new Joker, also a gang leader. In end he was capable go back and become a final Red Hood.

      That fact was reveled in comic though without details but those are broadly presented also in other media, as clearly part of some larger plan.

      And speaking about Punisher.. he is a villain not a hero, just he is specific type of villain called anti-villain (a villain with good intentions). Whole point of this character is that he is fully aware that what he do is evil, just he do that for what he consider a “greater good”. It is why he is a good charakter, not stupid Frank Miller-style shit.

      • Devil's Advocate

        well, some people, at least in fiction, deserve to die and have no good in them, I direct you to the TV Tropes term “Complete Monster”. a character with literally no personality outside of being evil.

        • That isn’t point of debate but who should kill them? Usually people who want kill all bandits are themselves debatable in they morality. Also not every cartoon villain is treat to other people even if they lack redeeming values.

  2. I think he should at least in the beginning of his career because he stagnated as a character . Everyone KNOWS exactly who the Batman is and where his line is so whenever he gets on screen his actions are a foregone conclusion .

    • Nop.. it is just bad writing, allowing him killing make it even worst..

      • How is it worse writing to let a character be an actual character ? The Batman we often see is stuck in a box and he doesn’t leave it for fear of fan backlash, he’s too safe now to be interesting .

        • Yup, because single minded mass murdering sociopaths are the “characters” 0_0. Obviously there are heroes who kill but all should be in proper place and time. Wounder Woman kill, but she isn’t a crime fighter.. she is a warrior princes and monster hunter.

          Batman is a crime fighter and as such he need obey the law.. well as much vigilante working in shadow can. If he would start killing all bandits like some teens want him to do, GCPD would have full reason to hunt him down as supervillain which he is in some timelines. They can overlook his activity because he usually don’t left much damage and solve the issues without risking police officers life. It is not being stuck.. it is a being rational, what make interesting characters if you seriously know even what it is.

          Also I remind that both Batman and Superman did kill.. just for them it is last resort solution (in Batman line of work villains also back from graves anyway, so it isn’t exactly permanent solution.. you at least know when they escape prison). Only edge teens se his character in extremes either as a serial killer or hippie who never kill even to save humans life. That never really was the case.

          • I’m not suggesting that’s where his characterization would/should end only that if his no kill code is going to so often be prominently featured there should be a narrative arc that gets him there. As it is most if not all his characterization takes place offscreen which means most of his time onscreen is static.

            What makes a character interesting past the age where you realize most heroes aren’t really in any danger do to a number of things is there choices. The choices of a character may lead them down a dark path or one that leads to the light but there should always be a reason and something to think about afterwards. The thing with Batman is that writers are to afraid to do anything with him anymore because they don’t want to hurt the brand . Batman may in a fit of rage contemplate killing someone for 5 minutes before always always backing off the edge; why does he do it? Not because of any firsthand experience of how bad it could go but some speech he heard recently or because he’s somehow physically unable to make himself do it. For a character to be interesting they need a place to go and Batman’s narrative arc begins and ends when his parents die.

          • Well.. I in fact do agree with you here, but that is simply a issue with poor writing not the concept.

            “The thing with Batman is that writers are to afraid to do anything with him anymore because they don’t want to hurt the brand.”

            And BvS? DC has so many elseworld stories and retcons that it isn’t a issue. I don’t think fear is the case here, more a balance issue. Part of problem are edge teens who don’t get the character and push on turning him in psycho-killer. That may in fact could cause creators to be overly restrictive in they policy as there is already too many killer-Bat supporters also pushing own crap.

            “Batman may in a fit of rage contemplate killing someone for 5 minutes before always always backing off the edge; why does he do it?”

            Pure example of bad witting if he seriously contemplate about that.. in other case warriors can control and use own anger so that isn’t issue by itself.

            “For a character to be interesting they need a place to go and Batman’s narrative arc begins and ends when his parents die.”

            From when? It also irritate my in most movie adaptations that they overuse something what isn’t even his real prime motivation. But at least Gothem TV series bring that other part of his lore most people don’t know, even if it is core part of his character.

          • I never said a no kill code was a a bad concept I just wish writers would take different paths with Batman more often .

            I haven’t seen BvS yet, i’ll watch it later today or tomorrow. Admittedly i’m not a huge comic guy so when I talk about Batman and other heroes i’m thinking about tv shows and movies. I can’t speak for other people wanting to him to kill but for me personally the way I understand Batman’s appeal as a character is he a morally complex character. He makes decisions where there is no clear cut answers. People like to think of him as a kind of super policeman but the fact is he isn’t. Putting on that batsuit and going out to fight criminals makes a statement “I don’t think the system is effective, I will go beyond it to get my preferred results”. Before Joker and the rest show up Bruce wayne doesn’t get deputized he doesn’t follow criminal justice laws and he doesn’t have to attend annual meetings about conduct. With all that in mind Batman stories would ideally not just be about fighting criminals but investigating morally grey subjects thoroughly like the surveillance in Dark Knight or the no kill code. If he doesn’t truly consider the options if the audience doesn’t think he might really do the wrong thing sometimes then the rest becomes hollow.

            You probably don’t agree with most of what I have to say but on the topic of Gotham in this most recent season I actually believe they’re doing a good job but with Gordon not Bruce wayne. Despite my problems with the earlier seasons I believe the writers finally got Gordon to a good place as a character and I would accept him as Batman without many changes .

  3. Batman is a part of the legal system, specifically the police. He handles small crimes and things that the police are simply not capable of dealing with. He will defer to Commissioner Gordon. If he weren’t part of the legal system all the criminals he caught would have to be released, much like all other comic book vigilantes. So as part of the legal system he doesn’t have the right to kill anyone. That’s for the judiciary and a jury to decide if a villain should be executed and not him. So the better question might be why does the legal system of the DC Comics universe not execute people like Black Mask, Bane, or the Joker?

    • Devil's Advocate

      law enforcers are authorized to kill in certain cases.

      and I don’t buy him killing Joker making him no different, there’s a difference between killing an innocent person and killing a guilty one.

      • TragicGuineaPig

        But again, that is a matter of civil justice, and not a decision that Batman – as someone operating outside of the civil justice system – should be the one making. I have no doubt that Batman would love to see the Joker dead, but he knows that’s not his choice to make.

        • He’s also a violent, secretive, illegal vigilante controlling an entire nation’s defense budget who has a cave full of crime scene evidence and stuff he just ganked right off criminals without turning over to the police. His entire existence is about benefiting the whole city by bending some rules.

          • As far as I recall Batman didn’t start to avenge his parents but because he fight with dangerous shadow organization called court of owls (also his costume was originally a owl as massage to them, but people mistake it with the bat and he did go with the flow). Anyway despite popular believes he didn’t fight with paty crime, he perform large scale investigation usually stoping large crime operations and mental patients outbreaks usually tied to them (he isn’t exactly violent without reason, his enemies aren’t hippies after all). He later start co-work with the police and as such has even more reason to keep strict moral code.

    • TragicGuineaPig

      Actually, it depends on which continuity we’re talking about, and Batman’s specific role in that universe. In most of them, he is a vigilante, which means he’s technically operating outside of the civil justice system. While Commissioner Gordon does accept Batman’s help in a great many cases, he does so mainly because he doesn’t have sufficient manpower and resources at his disposal to actually protect Gotham sufficiently. Gordon knows he’s walking a thin line working with the Bat, but he does it anyway because he knows he can’t do it without him. On top of that, given the notorious corruption within the GCPD, Batman is one of the few people he can explicitly trust; he can trust him a lot more than he can someone like Bullock.

      In certain Golden and Silver Age comics, Batman does carry a badge. But in more recent times, he generally operates outside of civil authority.

      • Devil's Advocate

        even in modern times, he has to be part of the legal system or criminals he catches would be immediately released.

        • TragicGuineaPig

          Not really. As long as the police actually do have warrants for the criminals in question – and why wouldn’t they, except maybe for some of the mob bosses? – then Batman’s interference wouldn’t actually affect the legal standing of their arrest. Now, if Batman had his own prison or something like that – *COUGH* FLASH! *COUGH!* – that might be a different story.

          • Yup. You ate correct.. I wounder what idiot minus you here? Frank Miller disease have long arms..

          • Since you’re the weirdo who brought him up and mentions him most, I’m pretty you’re the only one with Frank Miller disease. Side effects include his barely literate rage rambling. “You ate correct. I’ll FEED YOU CORRECT against those IDIOTS with their LONG ARMS.”

  4. For Christ’s sake guys! For ONCE, could you ask a question that we don’t know the second it’s asked what your answer’s gonna be?

    • The problem is “Goat Boy will show up to be a cringy tryhard” is the most obvious answer to every discussion.

    • Well except there is so many Frank Miller Bat-Fanboys who don’t get that, so it isn’t pointless debate..

      • Rezro, you fellating yourself while insulting everybody who disagrees in incoherent rage is the second most common answer. Even when championing the opposite approach, you might as well be the Frank Miller of the comments section. “They’re all just FANBOYS of things they DON’T EVEN LIKE because I’m the GODDAMN REZRO.”

  5. TragicGuineaPig

    This is what I’m getting from the debate:

    If a particular continuity or sub-franchise establishes a no-kill Batman, they need to establish why he follows a no-kill rule and stick to it consistently. But if they establish a willing-to-kill Batman, they need to establish why he doesn’t follow a no-kill rule, and that he shouldn’t be a hypocrite about it (like despising an alien for killing, but popping caps right and left himself).

    I was extremely disappointed with the ending of Batman Begins: he essentially engineered the situation that left Ra’s al Ghul (AND IT’S PRONOUNCED RAESH, NOT RAHZ! GET IT RIGHT!) helpless in the train to start with. It’s almost like a Saw movie: he puts Raesh in a trap, springs it, then says, “It’s not my fault! Stop killing yourself! Stop killing yourself!”

    Frankly, I think any situation in which Batman does kill needs to be earned. It needs to be a dire situation, and Bats has no choice but must do it to stop something worse. Going back to DCAU, in one of the episodes of JLU, Batman has to stop this psychic girl from destroying a city with her mind powers. He agrees to kill her. But in the end, he didn’t have to. She knew she was dying, and he stays with her and holds her hand until she does.

    • Usually I expect from Batman to be reasonable.. if he don’t kill that exclude cases when people life is in direct danger.. well like Police or civilian security would do. But if he kill he shouldn’t be a hypocrite, who pretend that indirect kills make his hands clean.. it doesn’t. And we mostly can agree that Frank Milers suck..

  6. Devil's Advocate

    also, wile I can sort of accept the example from the beginning of Batman Beyond, don’t you get a pass morally for a self defense killing?

    • TragicGuineaPig

      Yes, you do. Legally and, I would argue, morally. But legality and morality are only two of the issues involved: there is also psychology and character. You have to remember why it is that Bruce follows his moral code: to honor his parents. It was a gun that took them from him, and for that reason, he despises them. For Bruce to pick up a gun and decide to use it as a weapon goes against everything he believes in. Which just highlights how desperate he was in that situation: he was willing to compromise his own character in order to defend himself. Well within his rights, and I would argue, the moral and ethical thing to do, but it would have destroyed him if he had pulled the trigger. Heck, look at what just picking it up did to him in the years afterward!

  7. I think that Batman not killing makes him seem more noble. Personally, maiming is bound to happen when you’re fighting with all those Batman gadgets but actually killing with your own hands is slightly different. Then again, I’ve only seen the Christian Bale movies and the new DCEU movies.

    • TragicGuineaPig

      Then might I suggest Mask of the Phantasm, Under the Red Hood, and Return of the Joker? All three of these films deal with the issue of vengeance and Batman’s relationship to it. And the first and last feature the most iconic Joker, mARK HAMill himself. Because you can’t spell Mark Hamill without the “ARKHAM” in the middle.

  8. Batman’s refusal to use a gun or cross the line is ultimately a psychotic obsession rather than a noble one. Even good cops carry guns since against identified deadly criminals, that level of force is sensible going on mandatory. Cities employ SWAT teams rather than people armed with boomerangs and karate chops because otherwise more people would die. Batman knowingly jumps into places filled with deadly criminals including terrorists, eco or otherwise. And he’ll take kids into those situations because his approach is, I will argue, not necessarily the best long term solution for preserving life.

    Against mass murderers who keep going back to mass murdering, the only reason to try so desperately to keep them alive is because your readership depends on it. I will defend Batman Begins’ refusal to save Ra’s Al Ghul, because if saving his life means GAMBLING EVERY LIFE IN THE CITY just so Ra’s can keep trying to kill them all, the responsible choice is to let that guy die. Risking 10 million lives in hopes of one douche improving his behavior is not a sensical moral high ground, even when it gives Liam Neeson more screen time. “But it’s wrong to have shot Osama bin Laden when we could have rehabilitated him; killing him has crossed teh line and sent you down teh abyss” was never an argument because that is not how anything works.

    It’s not whether Batman crosses a line, but the fact that his rogues gallery and Arkham cross so many that reduce his approach to nonsense. Batman the Animated Series worked so well partly because the age rating also prevented the criminals from crossing too many. The whole universe has to bend over backwards to cover for all the downsides to Batman’s no-killing rule and divorce it from all consequence. Gotham has to be a fun, upbeat world of weekly shenanigans rather than a grim nightmare with a skyrocketing body count. The kind of place where where you could blow off the Joker’s deeds from Mask of the Phantasm and give him a wacky comedy episode like Joker’s Millions because every death is some kind of Shcrodiner’s corpse that may not have happened.

    • “Batman’s refusal to use a gun or cross the line is ultimately a psychotic obsession rather than a noble one.”

      A ridiculous assertion. Batman has weapons that are just as good, if not better, at incapacitating targets and therefore would not need a gun. It’s like asking why Professor Xavier or Zatanna don’t carry guns: because they don’t need them, and their particular talents and abilities (like Batman’s) wouldn’t make good use of them.

      Joker’s Millions is a terrible example. It was a Golden Age story that just didn’t fit the character or the setting, even in the revamped New Adventures show. Dini and crew just wanted to tell a classic old school story, and didn’t stop to consider whether it would work with their established character.

      As for Ra’s, at that point, Batman had already pretty much stopped his plans and incapacitated the League. It’s not as though killing him at that point would actually save the city from any kind of immanent threat; that had already been dealt with. And therein lies the problem with the justifiable homicide argument: homicide is only justified when the target is an immanent threat. And it was just Batman and Ra’s at the time, not a platoon of military men going against an entrenched group of terrorists. Osama was killed in a military engagement, which is what happens in a military engagement. Had they managed to capture him alive, there still would have been a trial before execution, but that’s not how it went down. Apples and oranges.

      This is what the argument is missing: Batman is not the kind of man who does the fatality move at the end of a battle. He stops you from carrying out your plan, even if it means beating you to a bloody pulp, but then he lets the authorities do their job. To set Ra’s up for a kill like that goes against that aspect of his character.

      But I will say this: I think that if Ra’s had dies, but then came back in the third film because he actually is a 600 year old alchemist with access to magical healing pools, that would have been much more interesting than what we actually got in DKR.

      • “It’s like asking why Professor Xavier or Zatanna don’t carry guns”
        Sure, reality-bending magic powers and world-endingly powerful psychic powers vs no super powers… same difference. It’s not like utility affects Batman or maybe he’d wear a belt dedicated to it. Here’s a better question: if Batman’s tools are “just as good, if not better, at incapacitating targets” than guns, why isn’t the Gotham PD armed with Batarangs and grappling hooks?

        “Joker’s Millions is a terrible example.”
        Cherry-pick all you want, it’s a decades spanning series. Most flaws in the writing are things they “didn’t stop to consider whether it would work with their established character,” because there’s so much that keeps getting piled on. Namely the rising body count that makes Arkham’s complete failure as a solution harder to ignore.

        “It’s not as though killing him at that point would actually save the city from any kind of immanent threat; that had already been dealt with.”
        Except this whole argument isn’t just about…immanent… threats, it’s about the long term. Batman keeps letting mass murderers mass murder later. Earlier in BB, he saved Ra’s life and that’s why all of Gotham nearly ate it. Even if he saved the city, some of the drugged up inmates probably literally ate a few people. It’s why I would call his act to avoid saving Ra’s again simply learning from his mistakes, which I value over a no-kill rule that gets more killed.

        “homicide is only justified when the target is an immanent threat.”
        Batman was the one bleeding and broken with Ra’s about to win until the monorail being doomed caught him off guard. Realistically, batman doesn’t get to go, “I’m going to stick out both my arms to glide, promise you’ll grab on but never kill me until we land, m’kay?” Any attempt to save the guy who wants you and your city dead, and could come back with his nebulous, world-spanning organization that has already infiltrated Gotham for years is not a sensible risk.

        “Had they managed to capture him alive, there still would have been a trial before execution, but that’s not how it went down. Apples and oranges.”
        The biggest apples to oranges in that? In our world we don’t put terrorists in easily escapable cardboard prisons that they regularly break out of to start over with a new sect. (GTMO has a different set of issues.)

        “This is what the argument is missing: Batman is not the kind of man who does the fatality move at the end of a battle.”
        The argument is “missing” that because it has nothing to do with anything. There’s a world of difference between putting down a mad dog and performing an elaborate Mortal Kombat finisher on it. The actual argument is that doing everything in your power to save a mad dog’s life as it kills hundreds is just silly. Maybe one day medical science can rehabilitate it… but that is not worth the damage of letting it continuously run free.

        • TragicGuineaPig

          “why isn’t the Gotham PD armed with Batarangs and grappling hooks?”
          Because policemen don’t train for years in Ninjutsu. It’s not in their skill set to use the kinds of tools Batman does. It is in Batman’s; he’s spent years learning to use them.

          So there’s the point where your argument falls apart: not distinguishing between the skills and abilities of a typical academy-trained police officer and a man who spent years learning dozens of martial arts techniques and weapon skills so that he doesn’t need a gun.

          To me, this is like in Mystery Men, where they visit Dr. Heller for the first time. When Dr. Heller tells them that none of his weapons are lethal, the team gets angry and leaves. That is, until he shows them what his weapons can really do. Then suddenly they are very impressed with him. That’s pretty much the problem here: you are ASSUMING that Batman needs a gun in order to reach his full potential as a crime fighter, when in reality, he has already done so WITHOUT guns; so what does he even need them for? The answer: because certain bloodthirsty fans just want to see him cap some MFs, that’s why.

          For Ra’s Al Ghul: You know something he didn’t do the first time around that he could do the second time? Turn him over to the Gotham PD. The first confrontation with Ra’s, he did not turn him over to anyone other than a bunch of helpless villagers. No police; no army; nobody with any authority or power to do anything. But you know what he had in Gotham that he didn’t before? A police department.

          Back to the train: who launched the missile that destroyed the rail? And why would Batman even need to fight him one-on-one at that point? He already knew that the train was going to be destroyed. So why was he even there? I can think of only one reason: to make sure Ra’s didn’t have a chance to escape at all. And keep in mind, Ra’s death would have absolutely no effect on the outcome in that scenario: the missile was going to destroy the rail and blow up the train no matter the outcome of the fight. So none of Batman’s actions ON THE TRAIN ITSELF did anything to stop the danger; all of that was taken care of by giving Gordon the Tumbler. From a narrative perspective, it makes sense to have the final showdown between hero and villain, but from a character perspective, it only makes sense if Batman’s intent was to make sure Ra’s died. And that’s what’s out of character for him.

          “The argument is “missing” that because it has nothing to do with anything.”

          Bull. It has everything to do with it. It’s called “character,” in case you missed it. You keep defaulting back to whether it is morally acceptable for Batman to kill, but are ignoring the fact that his aversion to killing is a distinct part of his character, and was in fact established in the film leading up to these events. It all hinges on what Batman WOULD do in that scenario, not what another individual might be able to justify after the fact.

          As for the “paper prison” argument: at that point, no one had any reason to believe that Arkham was escapable. The only reason the crazies were out to start with was because of Scarecrow; the police were after Batman, and the toxin was in the water supply. So what reason did Batman have to believe that Ra’s, if captured, would just get out again at that point in the story? The answer: None.

          • “So there’s the point where your argument falls apart”
            The part where Batman can teach circus children his fighting style or Batgirl can fall into it while being a huge library nerd, but nobody on the Gotham PD ever thought if they worked out more they’d increase their survival rate by 5000%? No, that would be plot convenience for the sake of colorful team gimmicks.

            “The answer: because certain bloodthirsty fans just want to see him cap some MFs, that’s why.”
            Nice strawman, especially when the series keeps upping its gore and shock value whether or not Batman kills. I guess everybody who thought Barbara should just get her spine fixed was also a meany-pants ablist who didn’t want no gross cripples in their comics. Totally not because her excuse was a silly copout at odds with the world she lived in.

            “Turn him over to the Gotham PD.”
            The police department already established as insanely corrupt and working for the crooks. The same crooks employed by Ra’s. You might want to rethink how well that would turn out before you cram him through an even faster revolving door than in the comics.

            “So why was he even there? I can think of only one reason:”
            Attempt to do something about the microwave emitter earlier because it was creating plenty of victims before it reached its main target? I actually agree it’s mostly to kill Ra’s, and am fine with it because that’s a sensible solution at that point. For many reasons including that he knows Batman’s identity and Bruce won’t be his only target.

            “And keep in mind, Ra’s death would have absolutely no effect on the outcome in that scenario”
            And keep in mind, this STILL isn’t just about what’s… immanent. No matter how selective your memory is.

            “And that’s what’s out of character for him.”
            The argument is whether Batman’s character SHOULD act differently because it makes sense. Kind of like how Oracle SHOULDN’T have been a silly technophobe who turns down even magic just because the writers wanted the story to go a certain way.

            “his aversion to killing is a distinct part of his character, and was in fact established in the film leading up to these events.”
            In the movie, his saving Ra’s also leads up to more of his parents’ legacy getting burned to the ground or hijacked to destroy all of Gotham. I’d say it’s rather believable he also has an aversion to letting Ra’s live at that point. Like a character who bothers learning from experience and adjusts his approach for the greater good, especially beyond the… immanent. Shedding a dysfunctional absolute for logical reasons is legitimate growth that makes sense in that world.

            “As for the “paper prison” argument: at that point, no one had any reason to believe that Arkham was escapable.”
            Good point. Arkham in a completely different continuity where it isn’t repeatedly proven useless wouldn’t be repeatedly proven useless! Now if only it was used by Batmen it actually affected.

  9. He shouldnt murder anyone, but he shouldn’t also be a boy scout about it. Cops can kill to save innocent people or themselves, soldiers have to kill. I dont have a problem with Batman doing it under the right circumstances. Even Superman will kill if forced to, read The Death of Superman, Superman’s was doing everything he could to kill Doomsday, and rightly so, and did so without regrets (yes I know Doomsday came back to life like every comic character, besides the point). Batman killed Darkseid, what was the problem with that?

    • TragicGuineaPig

      And that is where I will agree. I do think that, in Batman’s case, the circumstances would have to be dire; it would have to be an immanent threat he is stopping, and there would have to be consequences to his character afterward; he wouldn’t just shrug it off.

  10. Batman cannot kill because Batman is insane. He has mental disorders, multiple disorders. His code against killing is part of that.

    Batman lost his father. He lost his mother. As a child he saw death, he saw pain, and he doesn’t want to contribute to that.

    If Batman kills then he goes from being a hero to being another Arkham inmate. He steps over that line and Superman brings down the hammer, Wonder Woman smacks her bat up, Green Lantern locks him away and throws away the key. Heroes shouldn’t kill.

    If you want a Batman that should kill, go look up Azrael.

    • I don’t know if I’d go that far, but that’s the fine line he’s walking. Or as Alfred puts it in Mask of the Phantasm, “Vengeance blackens the soul.” I think deep down, Bruce knows that, as soon as he crosses that line, there’s no coming back. It’s not that he’ll suddenly go from taking out the Joker in self-defense to suddenly capping jaywalkers, but it will be a line that, once crossed, he will always keep killing as an open option. In other words, it’s his moral code that keeps him sane, sort of like how “eating my wings” does for the Bird of Hermes.

      I think of it like this: to kill a villain, he would be taking the role of judge, jury, and executioner. And given his role as crimefighter, he knows that, once he takes that role, he will always hold to it, i.e., that killing will always be an option. So to keep it off the table in ordinary circumstances, he strives to keep it off the table even in extreme circumstances.

      Frankly, I think the reason people want a Batman who kills is two-fold: (1) their own moral codes acknowledge justifiable homicide (which is should; for ordinary people, there has to be a point in which it is good and right to take a life to protect oneself or another), and (2) it’s all part of a power fantasy. Superheroes have always functioned as kind of a stand-in for people who feel the need to take revenge on those who deserve it. A Batman who does not kill – who takes an ethical high ground – baffles them.

      But ultimately, it comes down to control: Batman killing means that Batman is in control of the dangerous situation. But the reality is, even then, he isn’t. One common theme in Batman is that of escalation. It’s even monologued at the end of Batman Begins: “We start carrying semi-automatics, they buy automatics. We start wearing Kevlar, they buy armor piercing rounds.” And in Arkham City, Dr. Strange (the psychiatrist, not the Mage) even posits that the reason villains like The Joker, Harley Quinn, and Two-Face even exist is because of Batman. Now, if Batman himself is willing to kill, then think about what kind of villains would rise up after the Joker, Two-Face, and Mr. Freeze are eliminated? Escalation. So would Batman really have any control over Gotham crime if he killed? Or would someone even worse than the Joker take his place? It’s something to consider.

      • Escalation is absolutely an issue.

        If I were a villain in the DCU, specifically Gotham City, I would avoid going *too* lethal. If I am non-lethal, or less lethal, then I am less likely to die. Also, if I know that getting out of jail is pretty easy to accomplish and that the biggest threat to me is a guy who’s just going to, at the most, break a bone, then I am not going to be going on a murder spree.

        If this guy starts whacking people. Then, at that point, I will always respond with lethal force. Most Batman villains, especially henchmen, tend to come at Batman in less-than-lethal ways. They come in with punches and kicks usually. This, I think, is partly because Batman doesn’t kill.

        • Yup.. and Police don’t exist.. you whole logic collapse simple on fact that Batman don’t stop whole crime in city. Batman simply work like a Police here.. claiming that it lead to crime escalation is hilariously delusional. Fact prove otherwise.. villains scare of life would bring even tanks in order to protect themselves. It is simply a fact.

      • Devil's Advocate

        if killing is only an option in most cases and only a course of action for Joker level baddies, I don’t see a problem.

  11. And here is something else that occurs to me. For all you folks who point out that Arkham and Blackgate don’t seem to be able to hold the villains and think that Batman should kill to stop their threats, here’s a question: How many times have we seen a Batman villain die, ONLY TO COME BACK ALIVE? The most obvious example is Ra’s Al Ghul and his Lazarus Pits. But how many times has the Joker died? And yet, he’s still around?

    So if your argument is that Batman should kill because it will decisively stop the villains’ threats, NOT EVEN DEATH SEEMS TO BE ABLE TO DO THAT!

    I classify villain resurrections in the same category that I do Arkham escapes: sure, both death and prison should stop the criminals – and would in a realistic universe – but in DC, neither of them work that well.

    • Aside from cherrypicking the only two characters on Lazarus juice, what is even your point any more? If nothing affects anything, there is no correct approach and everything is pointless. You’re admitting it’s all just a cheap writing copout to preserve the status quo. People saying Batman should kill are asking to move on from that status quo, not an even dumber excuse to endlessly recycle it harder.

      • No they are teen edgelord who ignore that Batman did kill when needed and want him to become a serial killer what is already corruption destroying franchise.. look at BvS or other Frank Miller shitty works.

        • Devil's Advocate

          again, why do you assume because people want Batman to kill SOME criminals, they must want him to kill ALL criminals?

          • Because it usually work that way.. a murderer at first search excuse to kill and after some time start lowering own demand as there is no clear line anyway, so why not kill them all? Batman never should want kill anyone because he isn’t crazy, he simply need do that sometimes. Ironically Punisher also don’t want kill people, he do that because he see that as only option. And do you know who do that? Well you see example with the Barns..

          • Devil's Advocate

            the Punisher still only kills the worst criminals, he doesn’t kill purse snatchers.

          • That doesn’t make him less crazy and I’m sure there are exceptions from that.. after all he did try force Daredevil to kill him just to prove own point. Also his arc involve him to be mobile so he always fallow worst kind of crime. That isn’t the case of the Batman.

          • “No they are teen edgelord”
            As opposed the holier than thou Bat-God worshipers who condescend on everybody with a different opinion?

            “Batman never should want kill anyone because he isn’t crazy”
            What with your strawmanning, I figured it would be fair to call you a Bat-God fanboy. But by not even admitting he’s a little kooky, you’re doing it for me.

            “look at BvS or other Frank Miller shitty works.”
            Before Frank Miller lost his mind, he also did the two of the most lauded Batman stories of all time: Year One and TDKR. He kills the Joker in the latter. Because maybe, just maybe, not everything works like your oversimple absolutes where your Bat-God can do no wrong. Pretending there’s no such thing as a gray area even for this series is kind of silly.

          • Do you seriously think that blind reversal of perspective make you smart? We debate here about character and people minus people here just for pointing the facts, what is downright hilarious. You may like Frank Miller or killer-bat but use f*g fact about him in debate not own believes about character.

            Also he is crazy only in some interpretations.. mostly Frank Miler ones. Ne never was crazy in TAS or good comic books as he do have reasons to work undercover.

            He also did kill Joker many times (fans know why). Just in most cases comic were subtle or hypocritical about it. Frank Miller works were famous only because he openly tackled some issues, people like you still consider as issues. I presume that he didn’t went crazy later (because he isn’t really crazy, he is simply a immature idiot) just they at first limit his creative freedom keeping only good ideas. When he become more famous they couldn’t do that anymore and everyone did see the truth aka Lucas syndrome.

          • “f*g fact”? Wow. You’re not just out of touch but a complete shitheel. People who like Frank Miller wouldn’t say he lost his mind. The entire point of a gray area is not to be a “blind reversal of perspective.” Now demonstrate your genius and tell us when Batman subtly killed the Joker.

  12. Kelvarin Blight

    It has always been my impression that Batman does not kill the Joker, and some of the other villains, because at some point he might be “cured”. And therefore the good he could do for mankind would out weight the evil he has done. All that said I agree with Rob at some point killing him becomes a moral choice, and I agree with others when they that one kill does not force Batman down that path permanently. All in all a great discussion I enjoyed it keep up the great work.

  13. Devil's Advocate

    and Terry from Batman Beyond indirectly kills villains a lot and Bruce never objects.

  14. Batman doesn’t take justice into his own hands, per se. Rather, he captures and arrests criminals, leaving them to the mercy of society and the justice system. It is the latter that fails, enabling the criminals to escape once more. Batman won’t protect society from its own stupidity – that’s a fight he could never win! XD

    • TragicGuineaPig

      Exactly my point! Batman isn’t a judge or executioner; he hasn’t been appointed to determine life or death for anyone, and he doesn’t assume that role for himself. That’s one of the driving points of his character, a central element of his moral code. To suddenly having him kill anyone – even someone as terrible and as dangerous as the Joker – would make him something other than Batman. If you want him to be the Punisher, just go read The Punisher.

      • Well, except Punisher is a villain who just happen target other villains, and only those avoiding arrest warrants, organized crime mobs or those trying kill him. Batman on the other hand work in deeper gray zone, when many of his enemies are mental patients or low rank thugs.

        It is why both Punisher and TAS Batman are good characters, when Frank Miller killer-Batman is hideous caricature worshiped be edge teenagers.

  15. 10:58 in the dark knight rises he has because at the end of the dark knight he took the blame for the murders Dent did … he is not longer a symbol of good

    • When he ever was symbol of good? Well outside for simple minded teens.. for GCPD he is another mental patient running around the city, whet just happen help the and not criminals. They tolerate him as much as he is beneficial for them.

  16. in batman under the redhood ..BATMAN does Choice between jokers life and jason

    the first time it seems he found a ways to disarm Jason but jason activated a bunch of bombs and joker take control of the situation … so batman punch and knocks down joker toward the bombs and rescue Jason

    the point of the story is getting batman getting over the dumb idea that he ever cross the line he would be lost

  17. Devil's Advocate

    also, Batman’s early stories are from a different universe, Pre-Crisis Earth-Two. and thanks to Convergence, that reality exists again, so Earth-Two Batman kills.

  18. Depends on the situation.

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