Who Batman is, What he Stands For, and the No-Kill Code Debate

Posted by roboadmiral (553 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm having a sort of epiphany. At this point (or any point), the people who think Batman should be willing to use lethal force and the people who think he never should, are unlikely to ever switch points of view. Batman, like most mythic characters, is extremely open to interpretation. It stems from a lot of things. How do you feel about capital punishment? How do you feel about the law vs natural justice? What defines a hero? People like to talk about what it is Batman "stands for," but they rarely say what that is, and treat it as though it's self evident. They throw it out as a catch-all debate-winner, but it's not that clear. How important the no-kill code is has varied greatly across the years. Sometimes Batman is willing to cause indirect death, dodging a gunman to make him shoot another, in the Dark Knight Returns I'm pretty sure he beats the Mutant Leader to death in the mud hole. Other times he's entirely unwilling to let even the most vile degenerate die.

I'm one of the people who thinks it's become a far too emphasized part of the character and isn't an essential element. There are probably some people who after reading that are itching to tell me that I don't understand Batman at all and should go read Punisher if I want a hero who kills. Those people are missing the point entirely. Also, I happen to like the Punisher, thank you very much.

The point is that like Hercules, Odysseus, Beowulf, Samson, and all the other mythic heroes who came before, Batman is open to different takes and interpretations, and can mean many things to many people, and that should be okay. Has he got pointy ears and a scalloped cape? Is he a master detective? Does he brood? Does he protect the people of Gotham with his life? Is he vengeance? Is he the night? Then he is Batman.

#1 Posted by DH69 (4193 posts) - - Show Bio

i've always though of it as a more symbollic thing, his parents were murdered infront of him, he knows the pain it causes, and doesnt want to be responsible for the pain someone else might feel at the death of the individual.

#2 Posted by roboadmiral (553 posts) - - Show Bio

@DH69: And my point is that that's an entirely valid way of looking at it.

I personally disagree. I think that makes Batman too much about himself and how he feels about himself, instead of about protecting the people of Gotham.

But I don't want this to devolve into another "Should Batman Kill or Shouldn't He?" thread.

#3 Posted by DH69 (4193 posts) - - Show Bio

@roboadmiral said:

@DH69: And my point is that that's an entirely valid way of looking at it.

I personally disagree. I think that makes Batman too much about himself and how he feels about himself, instead of about protecting the people of Gotham.

But I don't want this to devolve into another "Should Batman Kill or Shouldn't He?" thread.

oh no, i completely agree, his belief has led to god knows how many people getting killed, personally i'd comatose and paralize everyone if i were batman, that way im not killing people, but they aint gonna be knockin on my door anytime soon.

#4 Posted by ccraft (5560 posts) - - Show Bio

Thats one of the reasons I like Batman, because he doesn't kill, hes good enough so he doesn't have to kill. Its not Batman's fault the Joker keeps getting free, if the blame should be on anyone for that its the nurses and guards of Arkham Asylum. If Batman did start killing, it wouldn't be the same character anymore. The police would be after Batman for murder, and the citizens would fear him.

But if they made Batman 666 on going it would be interesting. Sure, I would like to see Damian as Batman killing in an apocalyptic Gotham. Just not Bruce Wayne.

#5 Posted by roboadmiral (553 posts) - - Show Bio

@ccraft said:

Thats one of the reasons I like Batman, because he doesn't kill, hes good enough so he doesn't have to kill. Its not Batman's fault the Joker keeps getting free, if the blame should be on anyone for that its the nurses and guards of Arkham Asylum. If Batman did start killing, it wouldn't be the same character anymore. The police would be after Batman for murder, and the citizens would fear him.

But if they made Batman 666 on going it would be interesting. Sure, I would like to see Damian as Batman killing in an apocalyptic Gotham. Just not Bruce Wayne.

How so? Why wouldn't he be the same character? Same personality, same appearance, only a slight alteration to his methods. Sure the cops will be after him, but they've been after him before. They can't catch him and if he deals with his villains himself he'll have no use for them. Eventually they'll figure out its not worth their time to waste their resources on a man they'll never catch who's not really doing anything wrong. Why would the people be afraid of him? Unless they're murderers they have nothing to fear.

More importantly, not the point. This isn't about whether Batman should kill. It's about the validity of both sides, and the inaccuracy of statements like "that's not who Batman is." It's not who your Batman is. There are a million other Batmen and that is who many of them are.

#6 Posted by Decoy Elite (29923 posts) - - Show Bio

Batman doesn't kill.

#7 Posted by The_Lunact_And_Manic (3286 posts) - - Show Bio

Batman is a "symbol" of justice.

Bruce Wayne is guy that deny his madness.

#8 Posted by UncleEmu (179 posts) - - Show Bio

@roboadmiral said:

in the Dark Knight Returns I'm pretty sure he beats the Mutant Leader to death in the mud hole.

He doesn't kill him, he just cripples him. And Batman as a symbol can kill, but Bruce Wayne can't. It would have to be someone else like Damian as Batman. But the no killing thing is definitely 100% true for Bruce Wayne as Batman. I also think that Dick wouldn't kill either, just because of how much Bruce has rubbed off on him, and the respect he has for Bruce's rules. Good topic

#9 Posted by JoeEddie (484 posts) - - Show Bio

@roboadmiral said:

what that is, and treat it as though it's self evident. They throw it out as a catch-all debate-winner, but it's not that clear. How important the no-kill code is has varied greatly across the years. Sometimes Batman is willing to cause indirect death, dodging a gunman to make him shoot another, in the Dark Knight Returns I'm pretty sure he beats the Mutant Leader to death in the mud hole. Other times he's entirely unwilling to let even the most vile degenerate die.

It's ridiculous that he has a no-kill policy yet puts criminals in situations where they can die. For example, stabbing Ra's Al Ghul with a sword in Hush and throwing several explosives at the feet of Black Mask so he doesn't move in Under the Red Hood. One of the explosives goes off and it puts at least a foot hole in the concrete.

#10 Posted by FatihBATMAN (1389 posts) - - Show Bio

@JoeEddie said:

It's ridiculous that he has a no-kill policy yet puts criminals in situations where they can die. For example, stabbing Ra's Al Ghul with a sword in Hush and throwing several explosives at the feet of Black Mask so he doesn't move in Under the Red Hood. One of the explosives goes off and it puts at least a foot hole in the concrete.

Yet they didnt die, he maims them...

#11 Posted by BlackWind (7185 posts) - - Show Bio

I think leaving Joker or Hush alive is asinine. But I accept that Batman won't kill them. However, stopping someone else killing them just makes me question your sanity.

#12 Posted by RedOwl_1 (1664 posts) - - Show Bio

@BlackWind said:

I think leaving Joker or Hush alive is asinine. But I accept that Batman won't kill them. However, stopping someone else killing them just makes me question your sanity.

Yeah, I mean it's the killer's dirty hand filled with blood not yours, but I kinda understand he doesn't want him/her to go in a criminal kill spree, like when you finish the big ones you start with the minor criminals who may be in the business because they don't have any other options, instead of giving them a change you're being a killer. Maybe they have children or something.

But if somebody wants to kill the Joker.... Bats shouldn't mind him/her

#13 Posted by FatihBATMAN (1389 posts) - - Show Bio

Damian already kills, or killed aint that enough :)?

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