The Difference Between a "Killer" and a "Killing"

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In my last blog, Death Nor Consequences: Taking the "Hero" Out of "Superhero," I listed some characters that I think aren't being written as very heroic right now, and talked about some of the things that make them unheroic. I made the comment that characters like Punisher, Jason Todd and Wolverine are killers, and therefore not heroes. I received this comment:

"...I disagree about "A killer is not a hero". Evil much of the time is a matter of perspective and it's really a matter of opinion so I won't argue it but I'm sure there are plenty of soldiers who've killed that are also heroes."

Essentially, I think we're probably operating on different definitions for "killer." I wouldn't consider soldiers or cops "killers," just because someone dies at their hands in the line of duty. I'm talking about the cold, remorseless taking of another human life. Soldiers are trained to kill in battle situations, if fighting cannot be avoided. Cops are trained to kill as an absolute last resort. Punisher and Jason Todd see killing as the best way to get the job done. Wolverine varies from writer to writer, but basically sees killing as just another skill set - "I'm the best there is at what I do, and what I do isn't very nice." Some writers make it his last resort, and some make it his first option. When killing is the first and/or best option in a character's eyes, that character is a killer, not a hero with a gun. One real life example...

My dad's a retired police officer. When I was in the last of my teen years, a guy I'd grown up with - let's call him "Buck" - was throwing a loud party across the street, late into the night. My dad wanted to let it go. My cousin had dated Buck's brother, and then another brother, and there were some hard feelings between mine and Buck's families, because of it. Dad didn't want to appear to be taking the opportunity to throw his weight around. Being the neighborhood cop though, a few neighbors finally complained directly to dad, and he was forced to handle it, off-duty. Uniformed officers arrived on scene also, but let dad lead, because he knew my friend.

Stupidly, Buck came out on the deck drunk, and carrying a shotgun. Things escalated verbally until he demanded everyone get off of his property, and he levelled the shotgun at my dad. My dad drew his weapon as well, and while staring down the barrel of the shotgun from across the yard, gave Buck another chance to put the gun down, or he'd be forced to fire. Buck hesitated, but sobered enough to see that my dad was serious, and he put the shotgun down. He was then arrested for drunk and disorderly (when it could have been threatening a police officer, or maybe even attempted murder [he leveled the gun at my dad]) and later said it was the best thing that could have happened to him, as far as straightening him out.

Would my dad have pulled the trigger on my friend? You betcha. Would he have carried that weight around the rest of his life? Yes, but he would have carried it knowing that he exhausted all other possibilities before he fired. Would I have thought of my dad as a killer? Not in the least. What Buck did was stupid. My dad wasn't the only cop there. Buck's lucky one of the cops not staring directly at his gun didn't drop him as soon as he levelled it. Nevermind that my dad didn't fire at him to protect himself.

That's the difference between someone trained to kill and a killer. The scene I just described, had it become lethal, would have been "killing" - the act of someone trained to kill, if necessary. That is not a cold, remorseless "killer," who "shoots first and asks questions later," or just "shoots and asks no questions." Punisher, Jason Todd, and at times Wolverine, do not operate the same way as my dad. They are not looking to lethal force as the last resort. They are using it as the first, best option. They're killers, not heroes who happen to kill when the situation demands it.

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Posted by Gennadius

Wow If someone pointed a shotgun (being drunk) at me and I had a gun I wouldve shot at him directly (but I live in europe so that chance is really small) your dad is smart and brave)) 
But I think if anyone would see their family getting shot at,at a park with their instentines (is that how you spell it) out,and then see the ones who did that not getting arrested/getting arrested but go out of prison after a month I would see killing as the best option too. 
Its just that these ''heroes are traumetised''  
Like bullseye is a killer he just does it for fun and doesnt care who gets shot. 
But the Punisher kills because he knows the maffia wont get the punisment they deserve(and is a little crazy because of seeing his family die and Vietnam I guess),and I remember that issue where he thought he shot a little girl (but someone else shot her before) and went crazy and tried to kill himself.
Edited by cbishop

@Gennadius: Let me tell you: my dad is my hero, for real!  The man has done everything: cop, fireman, EMT, CPR/ First Aid Instructor for the Red Cross, Instructor/ owner for a Defensive Driving School, Firing Range Instructor, U.S. Air Force, Civil Air Patrol, NASCAR inspector, played drums in a band, been moose hunting in Alaska, sang bass in the church choir, and even taught Sunday school!  I mean, the man's biggest flaw is that he's too honest, which used to bite him in the butt when he told it like it was, and the brass didn't like hearing it.  He's driven police cars, fire engines, ambulances, eighteen wheelers (I think), motorcycles, and once even had a car that looked something like the Adam West Batmobile.  Upon his death, I half expect to find out that he has a cape and secret lair!  Pft, yeah right!  With all that other stuff, who needs it?  My dad's about as close as you're ever going to come to a real life superhero*!  (*With the exception of one man - see below)
 
The one thing he hasn't done was something he passed up in the 70's: the chance to be part of the ringside show of the WWF!
 
As for "traumatized heroes" - nah, that doesn't fly.  That kind of trauma might cause a person to go on a revenge spree, killing the killers that killed his family, and a sympathetic jury might let him off for that.  However, legally, if that revenge is an immediate thing, then it's "crime of passion," and the trauma might make "temporary insanity" a possibility.  If he goes away from the scene though, and plans his revenge, then it's "premeditated murder," and no matter how justified it might be, he's just as much a killer as the ones who took out his family.  Anyone after the revenge killing is just adding to the bodycount.  The intentions might be good, but the execution (no pun intended) is wrong. 
 
When faced with that kind of trauma in real life, the example to follow is that of John Walsh.  His son was kidnapped and killed, but Walsh focused his grief and anger by building one of the largest crimefighting networks the world has ever seen.  Police and FBI come to him when they are trying to catch the most elusive of felons, and to date, his network has assisted in the capture of 1,128 felons worldwide.  Not in one city, like Batman - worldwide.  And the name of that super crimefighting network?  America's Most Wanted.  John Walsh: modern day badass!

Edited by B'Town

First let me say, your dad is my hero now too.  I am grateful that his training took over in a very dangerous situation and that he made all the right choices.  I really want to thank you for sharing this.  My dad was a Fireman when my mom first met him and then went on to become a Seattle Police officer.  We have that in common, cops kids.  When I was twelve years old my father was disabled in the line of duty and spent many weeks in the hospital with a head injury, even after months/years of physical therapy, he was never quite the same man after that injury.  As the years went on, I am grateful I never forgot the man he had been before.  Like your dad, he was also a hero, my hero.  Makes me a tad teary eyed, full of pride in sharing this with you.  These men, your pops and mine are/were real heroes. 
 
The question of heroes killing vs killers is something I struggle with at times in comics.  For me, if the character and storyline are far enough removed from reality then I can root for a character like Wolverine (who is one of my favorites) and enjoy a brutal battle without too much thought about whether he could have handled the situation differently.   
 
On the otherhand there are some more realistic stories that I have great difficulty with, I am not familiar with the Punisher so I can't comment on that but recently I read a story with a character, that I very much wanted to like, Scarlet.  In my eyes, her actions were too real, when I set the first issue down, I felt a little sick inside.  I couldn't understand how people could be rooting for her, I won't spoil the story for you, I don't know if you plan to read it but she takes the law into her own hands exacting what I think is a brutal act of revenge.  Many people I know here on the vine consider her a hero or anti-hero.  I do not.  And her actions and the story are far too real and close too home,  for me to enjoy what she did as pure fantasy.  I had already subsribed and pre-paid for the next few issues.  When issue #2 arrives in my mail, I will give it another chance but I have already decided that should I not find a different tone, a little bit of "hero" in this character, I will toss the book unfinished and cancel, asking my comic book supplier to please not send me my remaining issues.  
 
I guess with these three examples, your father, Wolverine and Scarlet, I am saying, I completely agree with you on the differences in killing and being a killer.  But at the same time the level of reality at times allows me to read stories like X-Force and not be disturbed by the violence they use that may or may not be the right "heroes" course of action. 
   
Thank you for your story. 

Posted by IrishX

I feel it necessary to respond almost as if I was called out. 
 
Good story about your father.... sounds like a hell of a guy. 
 
What I'm picturing right now is some villain with a gun to a little girls head. A cop is trying to talk him into letting the girl go and put down the gun but the villain is only becoming more angry, crazy, and desperate. In from behind silent like a ninja comes in Wolverine who takes the villains life. The little girl is saved because he did not hesitate to get rid of the threat to innocent life and in the end...  he is a hero. 
 
As for revenge....  what you call murder I call justice.

Edited by Amegashita

  This centuries definition of a hero is so convoluted that characters like Jason Todd, and the Punisher are considered heroes.  Where have the good times gone?
 
@IrishX said:

"

I feel it necessary to respond almost as if I was called out. 
 
Good story about your father.... sounds like a hell of a guy. 
 
What I'm picturing right now is some villain with a gun to a little girls head. A cop is trying to talk him into letting the girl go and put down the gun but the villain is only becoming more angry, crazy, and desperate. In from behind silent like a ninja comes in Wolverine who takes the villains life. The little girl is saved because he did not hesitate to get rid of the threat to innocent life and in the end...  he is a hero. 
 
As for revenge....  what you call murder I call justice.

"
  He's no hero, he put the girls life in danger.  Wolverine is no hero and he most definitely will never be one.  We put our faith in the hands of the law and the law is what decides what murder is and what justice is.
  
  What you call "Justice" is still murder and the person who would go about committing your definition of "Justice" would still go to jail for, about, the rest of their lives.
Posted by IrishX
@Amegashita said:
"   He's no hero, he put the girls life in danger.  Wolverine is no hero and he most definitely will never be one.  We put our faith in the hands of the law and the law is what decides what murder is and what justice is.
  
  What you call "Justice" is still murder and the person who would go about committing your definition of "Justice" would still go to jail for, about, the rest of their lives. "


I'd say in that situation the cop who hesitated put the girls life in danger. But your entitled to your opinion. I know your a DC fanboy who dislikes Wolverine so I won't be bothered with your feelings on him. You put your faith in the hands of the law and I can use my own mind to decide what murder and justice is.... 
 
And of course in my opinion going to jail does not define someone as being a murderer. Hell there are even innocent people in jail.... shocking I know.
 
We live in different worlds... just accept it. You will never convince me of your view so please don't try and  please don't try to speak like your opinion is fact.
Posted by 614azrael

U seriously deliver some intence subjects, personaly i figure its the killed individual that maters, If Batman kills joker i wont in the slightest think less of him. Joker is a murdering lunatic an a smart1 at that i always some what frown on Batman n the cops for not doing more. Punisher is not a hero in any sence but we cant deny that he has a good heart, the mafia members an gang bangers he "punishes" is a good thing they would of just goten out an caused problems in the future if put behind bars. Now the goons/lackys of these vilins do they deserve a lost head or anything proubley not they could turn ther path but the biger vilins are definitive in ther bhavior an thers no need to weep over a loss of a man whos killed is killing n will kill again

Edited by Amegashita
@IrishX:   Nice job researching about me.  Just because I read more DC than Marvel does not make me a fanboy.  Not only that, but  I love Wolverine I've read everything that he's appeared in and will still do it even though it can get pretty expensive.  But he's no hero.  You're entitled to your own definition of murder and justice but it doesn't change the fact that your justice will still get you in jail if you enact it. 
 
  The cop was putting the girls life in danger?  No, he was trying to not only save the girl, but he was also trying to save the criminal.  That's what heroes do.  They save people.  Good or bad they save lives.  They distinguish who is wrong and who is right but they don't ignore the lives of a human.  If there was any real inclination that the man was going to shoot the girl the cops would have taken drastic action, but because the negotiator was still trying to reason with the man obviously there was not enough inclination that he was going to shoot.   
 
  Why do you think the police department and the special forces have negotiators?  To save people.  They negotiate with the criminals too not only save the lives of the victims but the life of the criminal.  Leave your erratic distrust of the law to the depths of your psyche.  Law exsists to save lives.  Sure it can't save everyone and some people will get hurt more than others but it's there to save.  Police officers are trained to kill as a last resort because killing is just that.  A last resort.  Do you seriously mean to tell me that anyone should ever consider taking another's life?  No, they shouldn't.  But sometimes they have too, but only after they've exhausted all other options. 
 
  That's what heroes do and Wolverine, Jason Todd, and the Punisher are no heroes. 
 
P.S:  How exactly am I a fan-boy?  I don't make irrational arguments and I do all my research on my characters.  Heck I did so much research on Iceman that I'm really close to becoming an expert on him.  Your claim is baseless and without sense.
Posted by Amegashita
@614azrael:  Say that to the families of the criminals.  You may not know this, you might but I don't know you well enough, but crime affects everyone.  Do you think the man who murders and is sentenced to life behind bars doesn't affect the family?  A mother loves her son and when her son goes to jail she's as hurt as anybody else out there.  Crime affects everyone and if a killer dies, you may not cry over them, but somebody else will.  Everybody has somebody who cares for them and everyone is affected.
Edited by cbishop
@B'Town said:

"First let me say, your dad is my hero now too.  "

LOL Yeahhhh! :D 

@B'Town said:

"I am grateful that his training took over in a very dangerous situation and that he made all the right choices.  I really want to thank you for sharing this.  My dad was a Fireman when my mom first met him and then went on to become a Seattle Police officer.  We have that in common, cops kids.  When I was twelve years old my father was disabled in the line of duty and spent many weeks in the hospital with a head injury, even after months/years of physical therapy, he was never quite the same man after that injury.  As the years went on, I am grateful I never forgot the man he had been before.  Like your dad, he was also a hero, my hero.  Makes me a tad teary eyed, full of pride in sharing this with you.  These men, your pops and mine are/were real heroes."

Wow, B'Town, your dad is a hero, without doubt!  I was always proud of my dad, but it didn't hit me until highschool that I could lose him one day.  A classmate made a comment about not being able to handle it, if their dad was a cop - not knowing if he was coming home, when he went out the door.  That kind of hit me like a hard slap to the gut.  The truth is: I'd never considered it before.  To me, that was just dad going to work.  I guess I should have though.  When I was in fourth grade, a girl in my class was also a cop's kid, and one day, a couple of policemen showed up to notify her that her dad had been killed in the line of duty.  Before that day, she had treated me as a friend, simply because my dad was a cop too.  I don't remember her talking to me too much after her dad was killed.  I think maybe it was too painful of a reminder for her.  I don't know for sure.

@B'Town said:

"The question of heroes killing vs killers is something I struggle with at times in comics.  For me, if the character and storyline are far enough removed from reality then I can root for a character like Wolverine (who is one of my favorites) and enjoy a brutal battle without too much thought about whether he could have handled the situation differently.   
 
...I guess with these three examples, your father, Wolverine and Scarlet, I am saying, I completely agree with you on the differences in killing and being a killer.  But at the same time the level of reality at times allows me to read stories like X-Force and not be disturbed by the violence they use that may or not be the right "heroes" course of action.    Thank you for your story.  "

Yeah, to strengthen my point, I left out the fact that I do enjoy a good Punisher or Wolverine yarn (I'm still deciding about Jason Todd).  Even in the X-Men movie, when the government guys invade the mansion to tranq the students... Logan puts a claw through a guy's foot, then the other through his chest - Whoo! Yeah!  Get 'em Wolvie!  I thought Punisher: MAX was well written (I've read the first five trades).  I said this in the comments to the Death Nor Consequences blog: being the main character does not make them a hero, or any less of a killer.  Punisher is irredeemably a killer.  Wolverine could arguably be called a hero, for some of the stories he's been in, but at other times, he's written with that "kill first" attitude, and then he's just a killer with cool weapons.  I like all kinds of stories, but the point of this was differentiating between a stone killer and a hero forced to kill. 
 
BTW, I haven't read Scarlet, so can't really comment.  I will say that some of the bloodier comics, like Dynamite's The Boys, or Avatar's Black Summer, are probably more realistic about what it would be like with superpowers in the world, but most times, I don't want that much realism.  I can take that stuff in doses, and enjoy both of those books, but not for any kind of heroic ideal they put forth.  I'm not downing the enjoyment of a violent story - just trying to point out that they're not heroes just because they're main characters, and their methods aren't right just because they're in costume.  Not trying to guilt anyone into giving up certain books.

@B'Town said:

"...Thank you for your story.  "

Thanks for sharing your story too.  People don't really get it unless they've been there. ;)    
Edited by Amegashita
@IrishX:  Innocent people are sent to jail for crimes they didn't do, yes that's unfortunate, but it's not all the law's fault.  The law is set up so that if a good case is made and a jury finds you guilty, then you may be sent to jail.  If you want to start blaming, blame the jury for finding the person guilty.  Blame the lawyers for not making a good counter-argument.  Blame the victim for putting himself/ herself in a position where they could be seen as the criminal.  Blame the evidence.  Blame the officers.  Blame everyone.   
  
  So what exactly are you asking for?  For people who say they're innocent to be set free?  Well, I guess we better release Charles Manson, and all those other killers who say they're innocent.  
Posted by cbishop
@Amegashita:
@IrishX said:
"I feel it necessary to respond almost as if I was called out. 
 
Good story about your father.... sounds like a hell of a guy. 
 
What I'm picturing right now is some villain with a gun to a little girls head. A cop is trying to talk him into letting the girl go and put down the gun but the villain is only becoming more angry, crazy, and desperate. In from behind silent like a ninja comes in Wolverine who takes the villains life. The little girl is saved because he did not hesitate to get rid of the threat to innocent life and in the end...  he is a hero. 
 
As for revenge....  what you call murder I call justice."
The funny thing is, you'd probably picture a Paul Bunyan type guy to hear my description of my dad, but his real look would make you think I was lying. lol 
 
As for the analogy: when it gets to the point that the cop thinks the villain's going to kill the child, the cop's going to shoot.  If the cop shoots, he might hit and kill the child, but if he doesn't shoot, the child is dead for sure.  Wolverine stalking in at the climax of the situation is just saving the cop the bullet.  Had he come in earlier and killed the villain, the cops are then going to want him for murder (and technically, interfering with a police situation or interfering with an arrest). 
 
To the revenge thing: I did say that it might be justified, and a jury might even let him off, if it's a crime of passion, right after seeing his family murdered.  If he walks away though, plans his revenge, and then comes back and kills the killers, then that's premeditated murder.  Yeah, they still deserve it days later, but it's still murder, justice or not.  Clearly, you'd be part of an aquitting jury, and that's okay.  That's what our legal system is for.  Revenge killing is not part of that system though. 

@614azrael said:
"U seriously deliver some intence subjects, personaly i figure its the killed individual that maters, If Batman kills joker i wont in the slightest think less of him. Joker is a murdering lunatic an a smart1 at that i always some what frown on Batman n the cops for not doing more. Punisher is not a hero in any sence but we cant deny that he has a good heart, the mafia members an gang bangers he "punishes" is a good thing they would of just goten out an caused problems in the future if put behind bars. Now the goons/lackys of these vilins do they deserve a lost head or anything proubley not they could turn ther path but the biger vilins are definitive in ther bhavior an thers no need to weep over a loss of a man whos killed is killing n will kill again "

Do some villains need to be put down?  Probably.  To become like them is not the answer though.  That's just replacing one killer with another.  We're talking about killing as the first option, when it should only be the last.  If Bats gets in a situation where the only thing he can do is kill the Joker, that's one thing, but he should only get to that point after exhausting all other possibilities.  That is, as far as whether he's a hero killing or just a masked killer.  From a writing standpoint, Bats should never kill Joker.  Once he crosses that line, everything before that story is trashed, and means nothing.  Real life would dictate things a little differently, but fiction works a little different from real life.  Some things just shouldn't happen. Batman's not the character for killing.  Punisher is.  I'm just saying Punisher shouldn't carry the same "hero" tag as Batman.
Posted by IrishX
@cbishop:
Appreciate the reply. It doesn't matter if the cops want him for murder or if they don't think he's a hero. What matters is what that little girl thinks and I'm damn sure she would say Wolverine was her hero. 
 
I think it can be looked at simply like this..... saving lives equals being a hero right? Batman, Punisher, and Wolverine have all saved countless lives. Hence they have all been heroes and are heroes. Just different kinds of heroes. 
 
The obvious critizism of Batman is that you have to ask yourself how many people could he have saved by killing the Joker. Kind of makes me laugh to think about the Joker killing hundreds of people and Batman locking him up and saying to himself at the end of the night.... Well atleast I didn't kill the Joker so I can still be called a hero.
 
Here's a quote from a Moon Knight comic..... "Toeing the line is hard. The fine line, the fraction of torque between crushing a man's windpipe and stunning him. That's a line that's hard to walk. Without risking consequences."  Now Moon Knight at this moment is trying to be the "hero" that you want him to be but he recognizes that by doing so he is risking innocent lives.
 
To me that's the difference between the cop and wolverine. The cop risked consequences where Wolverine made the more difficult decision for the greater good. Honestly I wouldn't blame the cop here much because there's not much he can do but Wolverine having the "gifts" that he has is able to end the situation and despite what anyone else may think about him he's thinking only about saving that little girl..... and in my book that's a Hero.
 
Posted by cbishop
@IrishX: I think you're shoehorning the situation into your theory.  First, you seem to be assuming that the cop is frozen and unable to do anything beyond a certain point.  I'm telling you: if it gets escalated that far, the cop is going to shoot, to save the girl.  Every measure will be taken to try to avoid shooting, but when there is no other choice, the cop will shoot to save innocent lives. 
 
Then there's Wolverine, sneaking up on the badguy all ninja-like and killing him, to save the girl.  Here's what we're going to ignore about Wolverine, because the comics always do: his entire skeleton is covered with the densest metal on Earth, making his bones unbreakable.  That's got to make him pretty frickin' heavy, but he's able to tote that skeleton around with such grace as to be deadly silent, without his weight making a floorboard creak or anything else.  Mm-hm.  Okay, but we're ignoring that. 
 
Still, he's able to sneak up on the badguy, who's cagey enough to hold cops at bay, but too stupid to look over his shoulder every now and again.  Then there's this question: if he can sneak up on the guy so effortlessly, why kill him?  He's got blades in his skeleton that can cut through anything on Earth.  Why not use that ninja stealthiness to get close and cut the guy's arm off at the shoulder, making him unable to shoot the girl, but giving him a chance to live?  Why does killing have to be the answer for the guy you're calling a hero?
 
And next there's the grateful little girl.  That could really go either way.  Meaning she's just as likely to be as terrified of Logan as she was the guy with the gun.  Maybe moreso, once the blood's flowing from the wounds Wolverine inflicts.  Not that the cop's bullet isn't going to cause bloodflow and possible trauma to the girl, but again: in your scenario, the girl is automatically grateful so that Wolverine shines as the hero. 
 
I repeat: if killing is the first and best option to a guy, that guy is a killer, not a hero.  A hero is going to exhaust every option before killing.  Having the power to kill doesn't make it right to kill.  In real life, soldiers and police are trained to do everything they can to diffuse a situation before killing is brought into it.  Why should a superhero be any less responsible?  I think they should be moreso.  Why does a costume make killing more acceptable? 
 
Do you know that boxing is considered a lethal skill?  I trained briefly at a boxing club, and the business owner next door to the gym had a son who's mental faculties weren't quite normal, due to the effects of cerebral palsy, slight retardation, or something along those lines (forgive my gross ignorance on that matter).  He was a nice kid.  Whenever he was at work with his dad, he came over and said hi to the coach.  He wanted to learn boxing so bad.  The coach kept putting him off, rather than outright hurting his feelings by saying "No."  I finally asked him one day (after the kid had gone) why he didn't just teach the kid, and the answer was "Because boxing is considered a lethal skill.  If I coach him, and he doesn't have the reasoning capacity to know when and when not to use it, he could hurt or kill someone... and I could be held as criminally liable as he or his father, because I coached him."  The point being: a person can learn boxing and be a champ, but if they use boxing to kill someone, they better be danged sure that there was no other option.  So if boxing is a lethal skill, how much more a superpower? 
 
There is no character in comics with the capability to be lethal, that needs to be lethal.  If they have the power to be lethal, they have the power to end a situation by non-lethal means.  And as a hero, they should have the desire to end a situation by non-lethal means, whenever possible. 
 
Now, why doesn't Batman kill the Joker to save the lives of probable future victims?  Because he's not out there to be executioner.  He believes in the legal system, and once he catches the badguys, he lets it work or fail on its own.  He's out to stop the killers from killing - and he has a somewhat pathological need (from seeing his parents killed) to not see anyone else killed.  Also, the Joker's not totally on the Batman's shoulders.  He's been entrusted to the legal system time and time again, and that system has failed to deal with him.  He has never been sentenced to death (successfully), and the jails and asylum have failed to hold him when he was placed there.  If society wants the Joker dead, why does it fall to Batman to kill him? 
 
Also, look at that orignal question: "to save the lives of probable future victims?"  That's like Minority Report, isn't it?  Prosecuting someone for a crime they have yet to commit?  That's twisted.  Batman goes to bed without killing the Joker for the same reasons the cops do: it's against the legal system to do so.  The Joker might need to be put down, but to take vengeance into your own hands to do so makes you no better than him.
 
Now, if the Joker is the badguy holding the little girl, and the situation escalates to "he's about to kill the girl," the cops are going to shoot, and the Joker, who isn't bulletproof, is going to die.  Or Batman is going to disarm him, or barring that, is going to kill him to save the girl (but Batman will always disarm him).  Or Wolverine will dis-arm him (har har), and a one-armed Joker will be carted off again, for the system to deal with... again. 
 
Man, I love it when you and Amegashita respond to my blogs. :)
Edited by Amegashita
@cbishop:  Stop writing great blogs and we'll stop responding... okay, no we won't we'll still respond... lol =P.
 
  Also, just to add to what your saying about entrusting in the legal system you work for, take The Killing Joke for instance.  Most of us have read it, and we know what happens.
 The Joker tries to drive Jim over the edge.

 Batman saves him, and in this situation he has all the reason to be angry.
 
 He doesn't let his emotions control him.  He does what good cops do.   He puts his faith in the system.
Posted by cbishop

@IrishX:
@Amegashita: No, I meant it: I love it when you and IrishX respond to my blogs.  You guys leave great comments!  I don't always agree, but that's what I like.  The whole reason I do blogs is to get some discussion going.  It's no fun if the only comments you get are "Great blog," or "Hm...," or "Interesting."  Blech.  I like the longer comments that discuss/debate, without attacking.  You guys make it fun. :)

Posted by SuperGamera

I think killing can be acceptable in some situations. Such as in Death of Superman story where Superman killed Doomsday

Posted by Amegashita
@cbishop:  Hey, that's what forums are for.  Discussion.  It's no fun when the discussion part isn't taken seriously.
Posted by cbishop
@SuperGamera said:
"I think killing can be acceptable in some situations. Such as in Death of Superman story where Superman killed Doomsday "

That would be killing as a last resort, which is what I'm talking about.  Doomsday carved a path of death and destruction from his vault all the way to Metropolis, until Superman said "No further," and they fought to the death.  Even then though, Superman didn't go in with the thought of "I have to kill him."  He just saw that he had to put all of his power into his punches, if he was going to have a prayer of stopping Doomsday. 
 
Also, even though I'm not a fan of the writing of that story, at least they did it right.  Instead of Superman killing Doomsday, they killed each other.  If Supes had been left standing, it would forever be debated whether or not he could have found another means to stop the monster.  With them delivering simultaneous deathblows, it showed the reader that this battle was hard fought, and Superman gave his all in defense of others.  There was no question left that he did all else he could do, before he and Doomsday killed each other.  That's the way to do it.
Posted by cbishop
@Amegashita said:
" @cbishop:  Hey, that's what forums are for.  Discussion.  It's no fun when the discussion part isn't taken seriously. "

Exactly. :)
Edited by Liberty
@cbishop: It is  another great blog and I couldn't agree with you more.  I do not enjoy killing in comics.  Most of the time it is without meaning or advancing the plot or to make a good story.  It is just violence.  What bothers me most about it is it is frozen in an image.  The life leaving the victims face.  The blood a very unreal crimson red.  I have seen death.  I also once had to hold a man twice my age who was hanging himself until the cops came and cut him down.  The look on a person's face who is dying or dead will stay with you forever.  Seeing a horrible graphic image like that sticks in your mind.  When it is just for the sake of violnce and poor story development it makes me mad.   Killing, murder, death are necessary parts of many superhero sagas but the way it is drawn makes a big difference.
 
Your story of your father reminds me a lot of my grandfather as well.  I am sad to say he died only a few months ago.  I spoke at his funeral and my life shut down.  I miss him deeply and a am haunted by his absence.  When someone dies there is always someone else who picks up the pieces.  Comic books just change to the next panel and you never see the innocent victims family or even the criminals family pick up the pieces.  If the comic did show this they would look a lot less heroic.  (Please continue to read my responses to the other posts below)
 

@B'Town: You always show up and have great things to say.  I felt privileged to read your post.

@IrishX: About you post...

We live in different worlds... just accept it. You will never convince me of your view so please don't try and  please don't try to speak like your opinion is fact. 

I thought this was very insulting and closed minded.  The very blog is suppose to open up conversation and point out other opinions.  To just  spew your thoughts and give no regard for someone else doesn't make your point any more valid in fact it makes you look like you have a weak position.  Why even bother to post if you have no intention of listening to the other side.  This goes to the basis of your argument of killing before talking or trying another method.  
 
I said above...When someone dies there is always someone else who picks up the pieces.  Comic books just change to the next panel and you never see the innocent victims family or even the criminals family pick up the pieces.  If the comic did show this they would look a lot less heroic . 
 
 Lets say the guy in your situation is scum but he has two kids at home.  How heroic does Wolverine look to them.  What about the little girl who has to deal with the trauma of seeing a man cut up in front of her eyes instead.  What if Wolverine stabs the guy but he still squezes off the round either deliberately or just as a muscle contracting when he is stabbed.   Another reason a cop would not shoot is because the reflex of the man can still squeeze a trigger.  Shooting or killing is not like it is in TV or in a movie.  All that said if you are as closed minded as you say you are I guess I just wasted my time.
Posted by Son_of_Magnus

 Nothing
Posted by cbishop
@Son_of_Magnus: Son, have you been paying attention? lol  [Sorry, your screenname made it irresistable.]   ;)
Posted by cbishop
@Liberty said:

"@cbishop: It is  another great blog and I couldn't agree with you more.  I do not enjoy killing in comics.  Most of the time it is without meaning or advancing the plot or to make a good story.  It is just violence.  What bothers me most about it is it is frozen in an image.  The life leaving the victims face.  The blood a very unreal crimson red.  I have seen death.  I also once had to hold a man twice my age who was hanging himself until the cops came and cut him down.  The look on a person's face who is dying or dead will stay with you forever.  Seeing a horrible graphic image like that sticks in your mind.  When it is just for the sake of violnce and poor story development it makes me mad.   Killing, murder, death are necessary parts of many superhero sagas but the way it is drawn makes a big difference.
 
Your story of your father reminds me a lot of my grandfather as well.  I am sad to say he died only a few months ago.  I spoke at his funeral and my life shut down.  I miss him deeply and a am haunted by his absence..."

 
Liberty... Sometimes, I have to walk away from your posts and come back to them.  This dug up some memories, as I tried to think of a proper response here... one unexpected.  At my age, I've certainly seen deaths during my life, but nothing that close up and personal.  There were some that hit me close, but I didn't see them die, like you're talking about*.  I grew up next door to a family whose five year old daughter died of leukemia.  I had an aunt who managed a hotel get shot in a robbery.  Another aunt who was victim of a serial killer (a guy who broke into senior citizens' homes, robbing and killing them).  A third aunt who shot herself, officially (but may have been killed by her husband).  Plenty of "natural causes" deaths, of course, including both grandfathers, when I was ten.  (*Actually, that "one unexpected" memory I mentioned - I may have seen a man die when I was little, but didn't realize it.  I don't know for sure - I'm trying to find out now, but it may be that too much time has passed for anyone who would know to remember.  We'll see.
 
I'm really sorry to hear about your grandfather, man.  I miss mine terribly, and really barely knew them.  To lose him as an adult has got to be way harder.  I imagine my dad's death will hit me pretty hard - I pray to God that's many years off yet.

@Liberty said:
"...I do not enjoy killing in comics.  Most of the time it is without meaning or advancing the plot or to make a good story.  It is just violence.  What bothers me most about it is it is frozen in an image.  The life leaving the victims face.  The blood a very unreal crimson red.  ...When it is just for the sake of violnce and poor story development it makes me mad.   Killing, murder, death are necessary parts of many superhero sagas but the way it is drawn makes a big difference. 
 
...I said above...When someone dies there is always someone else who picks up the pieces.  Comic books just change to the next panel and you never see the innocent victims family or even the criminals family pick up the pieces.  If the comic did show this they would look a lot less heroic. 
 
Lets say the guy in your situation is scum but he has two kids at home.  How heroic does Wolverine look to them.  What about the little girl who has to deal with the trauma of seeing a man cut up in front of her eyes instead.  What if Wolverine stabs the guy but he still squezes off the round either deliberately or just as a muscle contracting when he is stabbed.   Another reason a cop would not shoot is because the reflex of the man can still squeeze a trigger.  Shooting or killing is not like it is in TV or in a movie..."
 
I don't really think about the frozen image thing unless I'm looking at something totally bloody, like an Avatar title.  I look at those and often think, "Man, somebody drew this.  How messed up is their imagination?"  I don't mind seeing death on-panel, but I don't need it to be but so graphic, y'know?  I read really graphic stuff on occasion, but that's because I read a little of everything.  When internal organs become external, and eyeballs are popping out of heads, that's a little much for me.  On to the next thing... 
 
I don't know if I quite agree with the bit about those picking up the pieces making the hero look less heroic.  The family of a victim will usually show that there's not as much glory to the hero's job as one might think.  They may have done a great job stopping the villain that killed the victim, but there was still a victim, and his loved ones are dealing with his death.  The family of a dead villain is ripe for a revenge story, down the line.  That can be hard for the hero to deal with, especially emotionally.  I don't know if it would really make them look less heroic though. 
 
Moving on to that hostage situation - now the villain has two kids? lol, man, this thing has grown.  I will say that in a volatile situation, I don't think the scumbag's family is going to be a consideration for anyone who has to deal with him just then - police or hero.  The situation at hand has to be dealt with first.  Grieving kids and widow have to be dealt with later.  Again, great catalyst for a revenge story.
Posted by IrishX
@Liberty said:

I thought this was very insulting and closed minded.  The very blog is suppose to open up conversation and point out other opinions.  To just  spew your thoughts and give no regard for someone else doesn't make your point any more valid in fact it makes you look like you have a weak position.  Why even bother to post if you have no intention of listening to the other side."


I find your post very insulting and closed- minded.
 
Why bother to post? As you can see from the original post I was quoted as saying I didn't want to argue about this because I felt it was all opinion anyway but that I wanted the OP to know that I felt differently. People like you though feel that their opinion is fact and should not be argued with. When I am spoken to the way Agemashita or You do I will not listen. 
 
Re-read cbishop's post's on how to have more rational discussion and learn not to shove your OPINION down others throats. I am done with this.  
 

 
 
                                                                                                                                                                                      HERO
Edited by Amegashita
@IrishX said:

Why bother to post? As you can see from the original post I was quoted as saying I didn't want to argue about this because I felt it was all opinion anyway but that I wanted the OP to know that I felt differently. People like you though feel that their opinion is fact and should not be argued with. When I am spoken to the way Agemashita or You do I will not listen."

  I have a question.  When did I say anything of what I said was fact?  Besides going to jail for committing crimes none of which of what I've said, I said was fact.  You should take your own advice when you go far to say I don't like a character and insult me as a DC fan-boy when I read both DC and Marvel and I do in fact love Wolverine.  You're complaining about Liberty and me but you're doing the same thing you're complaining about.  
 
  It's contradictory, not to mention your entire scenario is full of holes. 
Edited by Liberty
@cbishop:   I may have been misunderstood here.

 I don't know if I quite agree with the bit about those picking up the pieces making the hero look less heroic.  The family of a victim will usually show that there's not as much glory to the hero's job as one might think.  They may have done a great job stopping the villain that killed the victim, but there was still a victim, and his loved ones are dealing with his death.  The family of a dead villain is ripe for a revenge story, down the line.  That can be hard for the hero to deal with, especially emotionally.  I don't know if it would really make them look less heroic though.

What I meant was the victims and other people involved have to pick up the pieces.  Every-time anyone is killed I wonder about their family.   I know this is an old example but everyone knows it.  Doomsday runs in Metropolis and kills construction workers, business men and so on before Superman can stop him.  I always wonder about their families.   
 
Now put this in the frame of a "hero" killing.  Everyone they kill have a family at least a mother and father if not a spouse and children.  Perhaps even siblings.  They probably don't think the murdering hero is that great.  They are going to wonder why he couldn't have stop them safely.  
 

@Amegashita:



@IrishX:

Amegashita and I may agree on this one point but believe me there are plenty of blogs where we don't and Amegashita has persistently argued with me about other points.  Continually challenging me to think about what I am posting.  I am very interested in what you have to say as well, so long as you are not attacking me or another poster.  The difference of opinion is what these blogs are for.  You say nothing will change your mind and you won't listen.  I say I will listen and think about what you said.  Who is close minded? 
 
I had no reason to butt in other than hateing to see someone with a different opinion get lit up for no reason.  You called Amegahita a 

"DC fanboy who dislikes Wolverine so I won't be bothered with your feelings on him." 

This blog is not an attack on Wolverine it is a conversation about heroes who kill versus killing "heroes"  Instead of Wolverine a DC character like Vigilante could have been used.  You yourself made the Wolverine scenario Amegathita was commenting on then got mad that it was commented on.   Then you tell Amegathita and everyone.

"You will never convince me of your view so please don't try"

This is a dangerous way of thinking.  It is never good to close your mind like that.  There are terrorists right now who still think Osama Bin Laden is a hero.  There  minds are closed as to what others think as well.  Engagement of conversation has stopped and they have chosen instead to murder innocent people.  Now what we are talking about is not as escalated as that of course but, that is where this kind of thinking leads.  I am trying to be a friend here.  I'm sorry you don't see that.
Posted by Amegashita
@Liberty:  Lol, thanks for the assist.  I agree it's always great to take a look at both sides of an argument.  Without seeing both sides of an issue your side becomes one sided and you can't defend against the other issue as well as you could if you knew about it. 
Posted by Gylan Thomas

A killer is the person who kills. A killing in the incident.

Posted by Liberty
@Gylan Thomas:   Yes but this is about a Hero who has to kill because they have no other option versus a hero who is killing as a first option.
Posted by Gylan Thomas
@Liberty said:
" @Gylan Thomas:   Yes but this is about a Hero who has to kill because they have no other option versus a hero who is killing as a first option. "
I see. I should really read a blog before commenting :P
Posted by Amegashita
@Gylan Thomas:  Yeah, Cbishop hates it when the blog isn't read.
Posted by Liberty
@cbishop:  
I know this it turning into a seperate topic but here is one of those images I was talking about.  Look at the look in Tim's eye.  His foot slipping in his father's blood that is the same color as the Robin tunic Batman is holding.  Blood is not that red and this is an overly grapic image.  It is not as extreme as guts on the outside but it is as haunting. 
 

Here is another image.  Look at the face of this horrified 4-7 year old little girl standing over her dead mother.  The blood and pasta sauce mixed together looking like rivers of blood.   Spaghetti is not that soupy and blood is not that red.   
 
Now look at two images of when Jason Todd was killed. (right)  He is just as dead and it is just as dramatic.  It is just not as gory.  Look at this one of the Joker killing Todd. (left)  You don't see any blood just the horrific grin of the Joker.  In this case it is probably more dramatic but a whole lot less gory.  
 
 
Just some thoughts.
Posted by cbishop
@Gylan Thomas said:
"A killer is the person who kills. A killing in the incident. "

@Liberty said:
" @Gylan Thomas:   Yes but this is about a Hero who has to kill because they have no other option versus a hero who is killing as a first option. "

@Gylan Thomas said:
"I see. I should really read a blog before commenting :P "

@Amegashita said:
"@Gylan Thomas:  Yeah, Cbishop hates it when the blog isn't read. "

LOL, I was going to protest, "That was just one blog," because of everyone replying "Never" to my "When is it time to quit collecting comics" blog.  However, yeah, it's true: I hate it when people respond without reading.  Especially from you, Gylan, because when you read the topic first, your comments are engaging! ;) 
 
I've done it on occasion - usually when a topic's title sparks a flippant answer from me.  It almost always backfires though, because a) someone has probably beat me to making the joke, and b) because when I look at the comments, a whole conversation is going on, and my comment seems trivial in the middle of it. 
 
I don't mind a short comment here and there, but when I get a comment section full of them, that gets a little aggravating.  However, part of the problem was that I asked a question with the title ("When is it time to quit collecting comics?").  That's something that people can chime in on without reading the topic, so I learned not to do that anymore. lol  I think. ;)
Posted by cbishop

@Liberty said:

"@cbishop:   I may have been misunderstood here...  What I meant was the victims and other people involved have to pick up the pieces.  Every-time anyone is killed I wonder about their family.   I know this is an old example but everyone knows it.  Doomsday runs in Metropolis and kills construction workers, business men and so on before Superman can stop him.  I always wonder about their families.   
 
Now put this in the frame of a "hero" killing.  Everyone they kill have a family at least a mother and father if not a spouse and children.  Perhaps even siblings.  They probably don't think the murdering hero is that great.  They are going to wonder why he couldn't have stop them safely."

  
Oh!  I think I get you now (correct me if I'm wrong).  Do you mean: Doomsday kills a bunch of people - say it was 123 - so that means 123 funerals?  I wonder about that sometimes.  Superman or someone does a superspeed cleanup of the wreckage, but they never seem to comment on the numbers of funerals being undertaken at once, or show them in the background or anything.  The entire superhero community turned out for Superman's funeral, but yeah, there were an awful lot of families in the background, dealing with other deaths at the same time (and possibly mourning Superman along with their loved ones).  Sometimes, I think a big event fight like Superman/ Doomsday would carry more impact if the funerals were dragged out over a few issues (assuming those issues cover the next few days).  They focused more on the mass destruction than the deaths for that story.  Funerals aren't the only thing, but is this more the kind of thing you're talking about?

@Liberty said:

"This blog is not an attack on Wolverine it is a conversation about heroes who kill versus killing "heroes"  Instead of Wolverine a DC character like Vigilante could have been used."


Vigilante - especially the new one - is more like Punisher than Wolverine.  In fact, they even stole a Punisher line for the new series.  Both characters have been sent to jail, and said something along the lines of, "I'm not trapped in here with them.  They're trapped in here with me."  Vigilante is definitely a remorseless killer. 
 
However, there are characers out there that I could have named in place of Wolverine, that are sometimes "kill first" and other times "kill as a last resort."  Wolverine's just the best known of the lot.  After all, he's the best there is at what he does. ;)

Posted by Liberty
@cbishop:   You got me now.  That is exactly what I was trying to say with each death there are several mourners.  I just read a book this afternoon where Project Cadmus was attacked and about ten employees were gleefully killed.  Yet at the end of the story all the main characters are still alive and they just pat themselves on the back.  It was as if they were saying.  "At least no one important got killed"  The death comes to easy.  The pain is rarely explored. 
 
The same thing happens when a "good" guy kills off the villains random thugs.  There is a great book I recommend everyone picking up.  Blue Beetle 8.

 http://www.comicvine.com/blue-beetle-henchman/37-27627/
 
The whole story is not from the perspective of the Blue Beetle but rather a henchman who tries to get a good job but can't.  When he can't get a job he goes back to working for super-villains.  In the story he has a wife and child.  He wants to provide for his family and sees this as his only option.  These are the kinds of people that a "killing" vigilantes cuts through.  They are real people no matter how flawed.  Not everyone of them was killed holding a gun to a little girls head either like in a previous example.
Posted by cbishop
@Liberty: That's the "red shirt" killing, coined from Star Trek.  The stars never die - just some random extras in red crew shirts.  It's a peril of continuing, never-ending stories.  You need a death in a certain spot, but you can't kill your stars, so you throw in an extra to take the bullet (or phaser beam, or whatever). 
 
Erik Larsen did something pretty cool in Freak Force once.  He opened on a scene in a park, and had a caption for each person pictured - naming them, and telling something brief about them.  Then these aliens landed, killing them all in the process.  He made it just personal enough to make them more than "red shirts."  The story still didn't come back to those characters, but it was more personal than most stories with a mass killing.
Posted by jamesewelch
@cbishop said:
" In my last blog, Death Nor Consequences: Taking the "Hero" Out of "Superhero,"  I listed some characters that I think aren't being written as very heroic right now, and talked about some of the things that make them unheroic.  I made the comment that characters like Punisher, Jason Todd and Wolverine are killers, and therefore not heroes.  I received this comment:  

"...I disagree about "A killer is not a hero". Evil much of the time is a matter of perspective and it's really a matter of opinion so I won't argue it but I'm sure there are plenty of soldiers who've killed that are also heroes."

 
Essentially, I think we're probably operating on different definitions for "killer."  I wouldn't consider soldiers or cops "killers," just because someone dies at their hands in the line of duty.  I'm talking about the cold, remorseless taking of another human life.  Soldiers are trained to kill in battle situations, if fighting cannot be avoided.  Cops are trained to kill as an absolute last resort.  Punisher and Jason Todd see killing as the best way to get the job done.  Wolverine varies from writer to writer, but basically sees killing as just another skill set - "I'm the best there is at what I do, and what I do isn't very pretty."  Some writers make it his last resort, and some make it his first option.  When killing is the first and/or best option in a character's eyes, that character is a killer, not a hero with a gun.  One real life example... 
 
That's the difference between someone trained to kill and a killer.  The scene I just described, had it become lethal, would have been "killing" - the act of someone trained to kill, if necessary.  That is not a cold, remorseless "killer," who "shoots first and asks questions later," or just "shoots and asks no questions."  Punisher, Jason Todd, and at times Wolverine, do not operate the same way as my dad.  They are not looking to lethal force as the last resort.  They are using it as the first, best option.  They're killers, not heroes who happen to kill when the situation demands it. "
 
I think you're confusing the terms "killer" and "murderer." A "killer" is someone who kills. There's no other factors involved in that label. A murderer is someone that you're trying to describe. That has a different definition and different circumstances. As a former Marine, I'd say that anyone who kills is a killer. It's not a bad word, some killings are justified and made by soldiers, cops, self-defense, etc. Murdering is never justified and hence illegal. Killing isn't illegal, just murder - there's a difference in definitions/labels.
 
The difference between Punisher and Wolverine is that Frank believes he's a soldier in a war against corruption/evil. He believes he is acting like a soldier and in a war, he's killing the bad guys. There's no rules in war - snipers, grenades, even atomic-bombs have been used. That's Frank's philosphy. Other heroes disagree with that because most Marvel heroes see themselves as an augment of police/security forces and not military (except X-Force somewhat and especially the new Uncanny X-Force). If you compare Frank to other Marvel teams/heroes: Avengers, X-Men. Avengers are basically government supported military contracts in all basic functions except contracts and money. X-Men are also at the call of the government to assist when needed. You're not likely to see a cameo of the president in a Punisher comic.
 
So back to the original debate...
 
Yes, Frank, Todd, and Wolverine are all killers. But which one is a murderer? I'd say that I know Frank Castle is a murderer - it's why the heroes want to arrest him and not work with him, but on the other hand, they also know they need him sometimes (recent Shadowland #2 had this talk between Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Shang Chi, and others when Frank showed up). On the legal side, I'd say that Frank could probably get his lawyer to plead down to a lesser charge since he really believes he's in a war and that he's killing and not murdering (even though all other heroes think Frank is murdering). Remember, Frank has a background as a Marine, so he's just reverted back to that mode after his family was killed.
Posted by cbishop
@jamesewelch: Ah, another great post from another great commenter.  I think that's a completely fair assessment, sir.  I am indeed talking about the difference between a "killer" and a "murderer."  So it then becomes a question of who has legal/ police/ government/ military powers?  In the case of those who don't, it becomes a question of was it self defense, justifiable homicide, or was it murder? 
 
Here's the thing though, and this relates to both this blog and the previous one: Superman is deputized with police powers by the president of the U.S., so he could presumably use the same amount of lethal force ascribed to police officers, with accounting for what he can reasonably do with his superpowers, before resorting to that lethal force.  His powers, as written now, pretty much make it impossible for him to find a situation in which lethal force would be acceptable.  There should always be a way for Superman to diffuse a situation before resorting to lethal force. 
 
So let's pick someone more reasonable: Captain America, who presumably has military powers.  Even though he's much more human than Superman in power, do I really want to see him, as a superhero, resorting to killing?  As a former Marine, how do you feel about it?  Should Captain America, as a quasi-military character, be depicted killing his foes?  Or should superheroes be above that?  Personally, I have mixed feelings on it.  On the one hand, killing... excuse me, murdering and other un-heroic activities seem to inundate comics today (as discussed in the previous blog) so I've grown a bit tired of it from characters that are supposed to be superheroes.  On the other hand, there's a time and place for some things, including killing, and I never had a problem with it in Dick Tracy.  As a cop, Tracy shot and killed more than one of his foes, or saw them unwittingly engineer their own deaths, as criminal characters are often liable to do, and it was all perfectly legal. 
 
Unfortunately for Castle, proclaiming himself at war with crime doesn't make him a soldier empowered to kill.  It may, as you noted, get him a legal defense like "insanity."  I also admit I avoided Frank's thoughts on what he does, because it muddies the waters for some. ;)  Their personal motives aside, Punisher, Jason Todd and Vigilante are all irrevocably murderers
 
Oh, and one last thing: the heroes using Punisher (or someone like him) so they don't get their own hands dirty, doesn't really sit any better with me than the other un-heroic stuff I've talked about.  That basically makes him a hired killer (murderer), although no money changes hands in this situation.  It's kind of like setting a booby trap, isn't it?  You're still the one who tied the grenade to the door handle, even if you weren't there when it went off.
Edited by jamesewelch
@cbishop: 
 
Even though (Steve) Captain America isn't deputized, he still speaks with the president (see Reborn or return of Capt America). So he (and Avengers) are more unofficial agents of the government. They wouldn't kill anyone, except thousands of unnamed ninjas or thugs, but maybe killing supernatural beings don't count? That's kind of complicated when dealing in fiction because not all characters are "humans", some are AI, some are supernatural, some are already dead and resurrected, some might be aliens or manifestations of something else. It's hard to bring in reality into fiction.
 
Whether or not superheroes should kill, is I think, a different question.. :) Personally, I don't like the term "superheroes." I tend to think of things as heroic actions and not as heroic beings. Everyone is fallible and there are very few heroes, but lots of people do heroic actions.
 
I believe that the comics should be written for particular age groups. Someone like Steve Rogers Cap (in my view) is an all ages character, so no killing (except ninjas, cyborgs, monsters, etc.). However, Bucky Cap is a bit different. I see him as a non-all ages character, someone that's more teen/adult, so killing there might be okay when it fits within the story. Nobody should ever be killed just to kill, but it should be part of the story. Punisher is different, because he's not an all-ages character (in my eyes). He's a Mature-Audience (MA) character and he's stories would be written that way - where there's more gray than black/white when dealing with issues.
 

What is and isn't heroic changes over time. What's heroic to me now isn't necessary what was heroic to me when I was 10. Our views change as we get older and our tastes in comics change. The problem with character deaths is that they never really die. If the deaths were permanent, then I believe the killing vs not-killing debates would be more intense. 
 
I'd wager that every superhero (that has been around a while) has killed/murdered someone, even if it's an unnamed ninja, vampire, ghost, supernatural being, sentient monster/cyborg/AI, alien, etc. There might be one or two, but the minor unnamed characters seem to not count in deaths/killing for some reason.
Posted by 614azrael
@Amegashita: I am aware of this however i do apreciate that u brought it up, a good forum should open up debate an discussion by stateing facts like this u aid it in progression.@cbishop:  an i agree with some characters death should never be an action or a very rare scene.  
 
My opinion was on the point of sertain villins, while much reassoning behind Sabertooths death is vengence for vengence sake it did have reasoning as well an i suport the act. Sabertooth has killed many refused paths of redemption(least in 616) an constantly gave into his animalistic nature. His path was blood from start to finish an destined to continue till the end. If there was salvations chance then he shouldnt have been slain but for him to be what he was death was needed. Should death be saved for the worst sertainly but the worst also have it comeing. I base my reasoning on the past present an future(at least attempt to). Lock sabertooth up is a temporary set back he will enebitably escape an thus kill, should his count be allowed to lead to the further torment of Wolverine, how many must suffer before the fact is realised. Why allow Domino to die(an be another lost love for wolvie) must X23 indure more pain? Perhaps Jubillee or poor Kity whos already been through alot? If Sabertooth continued theres atleast 5 who would endure hardships potentialy death. Nevermind dthe countless others who may get in the way. I could go on but the Sabertooth answer will sufice for now. 
Is killing always justified? No infact most the time it isnt but some kills i feel are xceptable, continueing with Wolverine as an xample, the many ninjas he has slain many of them proubley didnt have death comeing. Wolverine easily could use an alternative rout a stab to the abdomen rendering useless or a punch in the head(ko sence adamantium) is a beter rout then reduceing a head to shreads, but some characters are beter off removed,is the sorow of a few worth the pain of dozens.  
Ending quote an how u see it obviously is ur opinion WANTED"kill 1 maybe save a thousand" 
p.s sory if typing is hard to read an none of this is atended as offensive
Posted by cbishop
@jamesewelch said:

"@cbishop:  Even though (Steve) Captain America isn't deputized, he still speaks with the president (see Reborn or return of Capt America). So he (and Avengers) are more unofficial agents of the government. They wouldn't kill anyone, except thousands of unnamed ninjas or thugs, but maybe killing supernatural beings don't count? That's kind of complicated when dealing in fiction because not all characters are "humans", some are AI, some are supernatural, some are already dead and resurrected, some might be aliens or manifestations of something else. It's hard to bring in reality into fiction."

 
The unnamed ninjas and thugs, aliens, AI, supernatural, etc., are all ways to give the superheroes violent battles without the messy problems of depicting them killing/ murdering other humans (unnamed ninjas and thugs being ignored as if they were inhuman, because once they fall off panel, they are never seen again).  It's sort of a double edged sword though, because on the one hand, it protects the companies from the negative backlash of depicting human murders on a regular basis.  On the other hand, to the readers, it can start to seem like a copout, if that's all the heroes ever face.  Kind of like the X-Men vs. Vampires thing going on at Marvel.  That's going to get savage, before it's done, but nobody's going to care, because they're vampires - everyone wants to feed a vampire a stake dinner, right?  All of those non-human foes that superheroes plow through are there for just that reason, so I wouldn't even count them as "kills."  ...Well, I would, but I realize that I'm "not supposed to."
 
Although, even with the Dark Horse Aliens, Superman refused to kill them because they were living creatures.  Some things were created to be killed, like Aliens, chickens, and a large variety of creepy, crawling insects.

@jamesewelch said:

"@cbishop:  ...Whether or not superheroes should kill, is I think, a different question.. :) Personally, I don't like the term "superheroes." I tend to think of things as heroic actions and not as heroic beings. Everyone is fallible and there are very few heroes, but lots of people do heroic actions..."

 
I do and I don't like the term.  I do, simply because it's the classic term for these spandex clad superpowered people.  I don't, because it does imply an automatic superiority to the human hero (a subject for a coming blog, already in progress).  Just as I believe attitude can ruin beauty, so can it ruin the hero or superhero.  There are superheroes who have the skills to get the job done, but that are such a-holes, you really don't want them around.  In real life, you wouldn't call them a "hero," you'd call them a "loose cannon."  But that kind of goes back to what you said about them being fallible.  I think too, that this is part of my problem with the current state of superheroes: while I don't think it always makes for a better story, I'd kind of like a little more infallibility in my superheroes, as far as strength of character.  Mistakes and flaws happen, but murder and deals with the devil are a little beyond "mistakes and flaws." 

@jamesewelch said:

"@cbishop:  ...I believe that the comics should be written for particular age groups. Someone like Steve Rogers Cap (in my view) is an all ages character, so no killing (except ninjas, cyborgs, monsters, etc.). However, Bucky Cap is a bit different. I see him as a non-all ages character, someone that's more teen/adult, so killing there might be okay when it fits within the story. Nobody should ever be killed just to kill, but it should be part of the story. Punisher is different, because he's not an all-ages character (in my eyes). He's a Mature-Audience (MA) character and he's stories would be written that way - where there's more gray than black/white when dealing with issues..."

 
I think this is problematic.  Liberty wrote a concise blog about his problems as a parent, trying to find a Batman product that's suited for his child.  With all the different presentations of Batman (DC Kids, DC proper, All-Star, animated, live action) it can be difficult to explain to a child why they can play with this Batman toy, but they can't read that particular Batman comic.  Liberty's blog is here: http://www.comicvine.com/forums/gen-discussion/1/are-comics-for-kids-or-adults/540200/  (and if someone could explain to me how to make "here" the link, instead of having to show the whole addy, I would be grateful). 
 
Even in your example, you'd rate Steve Rogers' Captain America as "all ages," but Bucky's Cap as "more teen/ adult."  The problem is, they're not just different presentations of the character, they're in the same book!  I think this problem could be worked out with a rating system, but because of the industry's nightmare with the Comics Code Authority, a rating system will probably never be embraced like it has been by manga companies such as Tokyopop.

@jamesewelch said:

"@cbishop: ...What is and isn't heroic changes over time. What's heroic to me now isn't necessary what was heroic to me when I was 10. Our views change as we get older and our tastes in comics change. The problem with character deaths is that they never really die. If the deaths were permanent, then I believe the killing vs not-killing debates would be more intense.   I'd wager that every superhero (that has been around a while) has killed/murdered someone, even if it's an unnamed ninja, vampire, ghost, supernatural being, sentient monster/cyborg/AI, alien, etc. There might be one or two, but the minor unnamed characters seem to not count in deaths/killing for some reason. "


See, I think maybe this is part of my problem too - what I'm essentially saying here is that I'd like my superheroes to be of the same strong moral fiber they seemed to be made of when I was 10.  My views have changed over the years, but it seems like the more and more "real" writers try to get with the characters, the uglier and uglier they get.  To the point that I start to long for the kooky Silver Age stories that we can find in Archives and Showcase Presents collections, or their homage titles like 1963 and Big Bang (both sadly gone). 
 
Maybe it's just my life, if you'll allow me a bit of introspection.  When I'm dealing with real world issues of job, money, bills, relationships, and all the difficult choices those things force upon us, maybe I just want a story that's more black-and-white about what's right and what's wrong. <shrugs> It's hard to put it into all the right words, since I do enjoy the morally ambiguous stories sometimes too.  I just don't want to be inundated by them, I guess.
 
ASIDE: USA network's White Collar had a great episode, this week, where the con man and the FBI agent discuss the difference between "revenge" and "justice."  Since it related to killing or not, it was a welcome debate.  Anyone interested in a different viewpoint should check out the season finale.
Edited by cbishop
@614azrael: Hey, 'azrael, I didn't find it offensive at all.  Honestly, I don't know enough about the whole Sabretooth story to really comment beyond this: Wolverine and Sabretooth were designed to be violent characters, and Wolverine's answer is going to be, "Some animals need to be put down."  I cannot in good conscious call either of those characters anything other than killers though.  Although, I can make a distinction based on what jamesewelch pointed out: Sabretooth is a murderer.  Wolverine is usually "only" a killer - killing in self defense or in defense of others.  Now, we could get nitpicky, and talk about whether he's a killer or murderer, based on the fact that he often intentionally places himself in kill-or-be-killed situations, but let's not.  That'll just get tiring. 
 
The Wanted movie is a little dfferent, which was interesting, because there was a future-telling machine that made it a problem if they didn't murder people.  If they didn't make sure the names from the machine died, things could get far worse than those few deaths.  The problem with that is that it was a lie - Freeman's character had them killing others to keep himself and his thugs alive, because their names had come from the machine long ago, and he hadn't allowed their deaths.  Which is why Jolie killed 'em all, including herself, at the end.  Pretty much, they shouldn't have played God to begin with. 
 
Going back to Sabretooth for a moment, and whether he should be killed or incarcerated again, I still say it should be up to the legal system to hold him and/or condemn him, not the superhero's.  Frequent escapes from imprisonment are getting to be poor plot devices, and happen because hey, we want to see those badguys come back again.  Supervillains are very often more experienced or more powerful than the superheroes they face, simply to make them challenging.  It sometimes makes them seem too powerful, when they keep escaping to strike again, and then killing starts to look like an appealing solution. 
 
My thing is that I'm looking at it from a real world perspective.  There are plenty of bad men in prison who are physically more powerful and probably better armed than I am, and maybe better armed than police.  Police still have a duty to try to first take those bad men alive, and entrust them to the legal system for proper justice.  So many fictions are "kill-or-be-killed" stories, that end with the villain pulling a gun on the hero at the end, and being gunned down in self defense, that after awhile, it would be easy to convince oneself that the best way is a bullet from the start.  It's just not though, and I guess I've gotten a little tired of those kinds of stories.  Don't get me wrong - I'll likely swing out of this funk when the next great action flick rolls out in theaters.  I like my entertainment, after all.  I just don't want them all to be that way.
Posted by darkcloakx

what about hulk in the ultimate universe he killed and ate people ? should he be killed too? he 's also a very conflicted character. 

Posted by cbishop
@darkcloakx said:
"what about hulk in the ultimate universe he killed and ate people ? should he be killed too? he 's also a very conflicted character.  "

Iffy.  In real life, Jeffrey Dahmer was arrested for cannibalism and sent to prison, where the other inmates killed him very shortly thereafter.  Truth is: nobody's losing sleep over that.  Though a monster, Dahmer was still stopped by law enforcement, proving that he wasn't more than human. 
 
The Hulk is pretty close to unstoppable.  If he's roaming around eating people, yeah, I want whoever can to step in and stop him.  In the Hulk's case, that's probably going to end in lethal force, if the story is being true to itself. 
 
I do think that super powers would be handled much differently in the real world.  If Bruce Banner existed, and could really turn into the Hulk, the first time Banner was captured, somebody's going to put a bullet in his brain, before he can turn into the Hulk again.  That wouldn't make for much of an ongoing series though, would it?
Posted by 614azrael
@cbishop:
aww good debates gota love when they come along. Actual discusions perspectives analasis and respect of various opinions etc.
 
On to the actual topic. I aim to look at it in a realistic maner as well, to clarify sence my prior coment on that aspect was a bit murky i aim to look at the big picture what has is an may hapen or least make the attempt to. When it comes to wanted there was the ending of bad guys been playin us all as fools an aiming for poser story. However the "loom of future precognition" (not sure if thats what it is actuly called but thats what it dose so it works) was pointing out ppl "fate" said should be eliminated, an this was to preserve human life. While the vilin aimed for self progression an preservation the loom untill he came along was aiming for preservation. Assumeing this is not a bias story made by the vilin an that Wes was doing good then the motto would still apply. This leading me to some what believe his actions were just. Wes had no moral dilema with blowing holes in dozens of heads, blowing up all these ppl, an useing rat bombs(animal cruelty fn evil) sence he goes about his mary way i wont hold him up as anything with hero in the title. However he was eliminateing ppl who otherwise would of clearly gone on killing ppl many proubley inocent just so they got what they desired. These ppl givin a wepon are literly unstopable to the mere human and so while Wes isnt anything nobile the eradication of the fraternity could be seen as good. While there families as well as Wes had joined this group that was like a family should find the deaths hard, it still can be seen as the "greaater good" sence its say 30 relentless assasins instead of thousands of inocents. 
 
Looking now at Sabertooth, the legal system should have the say, an they should have the power to contain this isue(given a chance to work in any comic medium i would change this. shouldnt there be a super security gaurd? a power nullifier a force field over the prison something? lol just saying) sadly however while they should, they kind of cant. While its heavily a bad writeing situation the fact remains that these super prisons arent super proof. VIlins get loose then get captured then get loose again. The isue there is that then the death toll continues. Sabertooth is animalistic an vilent by nature. An while i wont get into Wolverine the senario of a Sabertooth event can easily be seen as this. Sabertooth gets lose hes as usual all snarls, he kills security gaurds may or may not free others kills till he is out of the jail kills till away from the jail, an then will go on looking to get vengence. This vengence will lead to killing loved ones of his captor which obviously is often wolverine. Sabertooth then would target all or 1 of these figures Domino(wolverines curent gf, sabertooth has slain many of wolverines lovers in the past) Jubilee(odds r readers know of her but just in case shes the young adult that is seen as a Wolverine side kick) or X23(who is practicly Wolverines daughter, as in shes a mutant clone of him that hes looked after an cared for). An so Sabertooth would be most likely takeing the lives of inocents police officers an posiply supers, all ading to his already xstensive body count. Sadly in a universe where the prison cant seem to contain him an his nature cant be changed it means his path only has two routs free n lose with its ramifications or dead with its ramifications. Weighing the odds im in a kill of a person like Saber tooth, not cuz i love wolverine storys or suport death but because the world is safer with out him. Theres always another villin just as there will b another hero but if one cant b contained the problem should be put to rest.  
 
As for the Hulk part mentioned above i believe that its not a lethal mater, Banner is sometimes a loon but in the end he is a smart intelegent individual. While the methods of capture would be dire, an u may have to use xtreme force i do beleave that once tooken down he could be put into a relaxed state of mind. Granted u want to place him somewere fair treating an give him a method to sustain agresive emotions but long as this is done u would be fine. This is again because while agresive Hulk is not a monster but a troubled scientist.
 
Normaly here i would insert a apology if any fellow viner fines me offensive just incase but luckly that dosent seem to be a concern in ur topics :)
Edited by thegentlemanrogue

The obvious explanation is that there are HUGE differences between a confused drunk with a gun who you have a personal connection and the legitimate ice cold killers that Wolverine and Punisher are dealing with. Wolverine and Punisher aren't responding to domestic disturbace calls and killing drunk civilians at the drop of the hat, and the last time Wolverine had to intervene in a volatile domestic situation he got shot point blank in the face with a shot gun and still left the guy alive. The fact of the matter is there is a drastically different operational procedure between dealing with terrorist and mass murders; and dealing with some random drunk guy.

Posted by cbishop
@thegentlemanrogue said:
"The obvious explanation is that there are HUGE differences between a confused drunk with a gun who you have a personal connection and the legitimate ice cold killers that Wolverine and Punisher are dealing with. Wolverine and Punisher aren't responding to domestic disturbace calls and killing drunk civilians at the drop of the hat, and the last time Wolverine had to intervene in a volatile domestic situation he got shot point blank in the face with a shot gun and still left the guy alive. The fact of the matter is there is a drastically different operational procedure between dealing with terrorist and mass murders; and dealing with some random drunk guy. "

Hm, no.  Once the gun is pointed, the operating procedure is the same: shoot the guy pointing the gun.  Granted, if the guy's being chased or at a standoff for some violent crime, chances are higher that he's gonna get popped as soon as he points the gun.  If Buck had been more beligerent when he came out, he probably would've died.  It was only my dad's years of experience, plus his semi-familiarity with Buck, that allowed him to make the call not to shoot him right away.  No cop - no good cop anyway - wants to pull that trigger if they don't have to.  Still, my dad took his life in his hands when he didn't immediatley shoot Buck.  Put yourself in front of a drunk guy pointing a gun at you, and tell me if the danger feels any less real than it would if a gangster was pointing the gun. 
 
Now, honestly, guys with guns are the only real world thing we can compare supervillain threats to, and it's a little bit lopsided of a comparison.  Superpowers give way more options, and Batman & Punisher do have superpowers: they can run through a hail of bullets and not get hit - or only get hit in areas that don't require a hospital stay. (Please realize the slight tongue-in-cheekiness there.) 
 
I have stated over and over that we're talking about the difference between killing being the last option and being the first.  When it's the first option, that's a murderer.  That's Punisher all up-and-down.  With Wolverine, it depends on the writer, but I'd say he's usually killing in self defense or as a last option.  Now, I mean "first option" as in "considering no other way."  Sometimes the situation is "kill or be killed," and there's just no way around that.  Someone's got a hostage you're trying to save, and every gun is pointed at you, and they don't intend to let you or the hostage leave alive, then you're going to have to kill to get you and the hostage out of that.  As a street level guy, there's no way around that, if you're by yourself.  That's not the case with the Punisher.  Punisher goes in with the goal of killing a certain person or people, and his plan is to kill anyone who gets in the way of that.  That's murdering - killing as a "first option."  Castle's very rarely saving a hostage to justify all that carnage.
Posted by 614azrael
@cbishop:
i rite all this mumbo jumbo an u pick the guy with 1 paragraph 0.o think im ofended lol. Id have to agree with u there, Punisher is simply a killer, wether thats good or bad is 1s opinion
Posted by cbishop
@614azrael said:
"@cbishop: i rite all this mumbo jumbo an u pick the guy with 1 paragraph 0.o think im ofended lol. Id have to agree with u there, Punisher is simply a killer, wether thats good or bad is 1s opinion "

lol, I'm gonna come back to your mumbo jumbo.  The way you type in text-speak, it takes a little bit to wade through it, and there's a lot of it!  I want to make sure I have time to concentrate on it.  Right now, I've got a PM conversation going on, I'm trying to read the comments to Babs' Obama/Joker article, and my roomie is filling the room with fingernail polish fumes.  Give me a break! LOL
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