If you want to open a can of worms at any given time, start discussing if Batman should kill people. Depending on what eversion of the hero people have enjoyed will depend on what they think of Batman’s moral code. Watching the DCU and the Batman movies in order will tell you one thing, and the comics another, but we can tell you unequivocally – he used to love it.
The notion of the dark knight refusing to murder goes right back to his earliest years. In 1940, Batman #4 includes dialog where the big bad bat tells Robin, “Remember, we never kill with weapons of any kind.” He says this during a swordfight against some goons, as you do.
The idea has become engrained in fans of the beloved DC character through the years. Since he’s just a rich guy who stops crime to avoid therapy, Bruce Wayne stands for a certain kind of morality. If you consult the DC movies in order, this has largely held, but he often drops those rules as he sees fit, and has murdered several times by now, and not always justifiably.
For example, in All-Star Batman and Robin, a famously controversial run for a multitude of reasons, the caped crusader burned a bunch of petty criminals alive. In Batman #425, a gangster gets crushed underneath cars in a junkyard.
Master Bruce absolutely could have arrested these people, but nah. Not only convenient, death is final, and sends a message to others. He runs over Hugo Strange in the Batmobile, and yes, there are timelines where he kills The Joker. The ending of The Killing Joke lives in infamy in part because there’s an implied death, but Batman actually drove a stake through a vampiric Joker’s heart during Justice League: The Nail.
We don’t know about you, but that would easily make one of the best vampire movies if anyone decided to adapt that story. James Gunn – we’re available for consultation.
The list of Batman’s victims stretches his entire history. The next time someone tries to tell you otherwise just remind them that even the Dark Knight isn’t above a hit and run.
To scope out if Gotham’s Protector might start looking the other way, check out our guides to The Batman 2 release date and the Brave and the Bold release date. We have pieces on one of Green Lantern’s most powerful enemies, Batman’s weirdest villain, and Kryptonite isn’t the worst weakness in DC, if you want more history from the esteemed publisher.