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Should Batman kill the Joker?


The NZA
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The Joker's gonna escape again, and murder a bunch of babies  

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alright, since bat-fan film got me on a roll tonight, this was what i came to the forum to ask:

Superman's not known for good stories, but the last coming to mind was Action Comics # 775: "What's so funny about truth, justice & the american way?", where he basically fought an obvious parody of a warren ellis-esque team of super-powered non-heroes who kill (Authority etc), and the issue was like a moral response to the question of why Supes doesn't cross that line.

 

now, Bats is a character more defined by said line, possibly moreso than almost any other superhero i can think of. but ever since Spider-Man had to ask himself this about Carnage, it's been a popular question for me: it's powerful to have a hero with a moral code he won't compromise no matter how bad things get (despite bats recently "killing" darkseid, i guess?), but after the system habitually fails enough times and Joker goes on his 30th escaped-arkham-killing-spree, to what extent is it not unfair to put some of that on Bats? granted, he's not doing the killing one bit, so morally it should be clear...but he's the only real current response to that threat, and his code is the only thing stopping the obvious solution (joker's execution). in a real society where capital punishment exists, sure its hard to imagine a PD abiding a vigilante, and no doubt there'd be repercussions for crossing said line, but how many needless deaths happen before it becomes the only real option?

 

im saying, id love a modern issue/story addressing this. Kingdom Come examined it with Magog, but i cant recall a Bat story in recent times that answers it. i know the underlying reason it doesnt happen is cause the writers cant let joker die for very long without needing to use him in a story again etc etc but the moral/realistic sorta answer has some interesting gray area.

 

meantime, what do you think? it's an obvious slippery slope (well, Killer Croc and Sazh lots of other villains are gonna kill, too...), but are the lives of these terrified citizens worth it, or is it too high a cost?

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don't mind newt; he's filling in for baytor

 

Ly makes a good point - i recall that being Magog's first move. Now, would you feel it a cop-out when someone else does it? as an aside, for years, i thought bats did it in DKR.

 

axel - so its a slippery slope completely then? i can see what you're saying - in the law's eyes, might as well, right? arkham's not painted as housing redeemable inmates.

what would the reaction be, though? would you then have a mayor order a PD to reluctantly hunt him down & bring him in, but have them quietly sympathize with his efforts a la the punisher?

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Well, my guess is that anyone that did kill the Joker would likely be investigated and hunted in turn by Batman like he would any other murderer, so either a Punisher or Rorschach-type (someone who does such things openly) or someone good enough to make it seem like an accident even to Batman (like Light from Death Note... though from what little I've seen of that series, he was eventually detected).

 

Actually, a victim of the Joker might be the best. Someone who blames Batman for not putting him down before they or someone they loved was hurt and decides to take matters in their own hands. That might make for a better story.

Edited by Lycaon
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Ultimately I agree with Ly. Someone else would be the one to kill Joker and then probably be pursued by Bats.

 

If Batman was the one to do the deed though I could see it going down a number of ways. The one that makes the most sense to me would be something like in DK Returns,

It'd have to be sort of an accident

. Also the act of killing the Joker would have a tremendous effect on Batman's already fractured Psyche. He's basically already insane. In fact, in order to make the actual decision to go out and finish off the Joker would be something of a breakdown.

 

Then let's say he does kill the Joker, completely willingly and somehow comes out mentally unscathed. Ok well not entirely unscathed cause he is about to blow up Arkham. He could keep it under wraps, and when the place goes up, for all the public knows, Batman didn't even do it. Sure he killed the Joker, but that was the Joker. Unless he tells Gordon beforehand, then they would probably look to Batman to catch the person whom they suspect did it. Hell, Batman would probably even turn himself in. At that point, alot of danger is taken care of, and if need be he'd most likely find a way to break out of jail. In comic land anyway :p lol

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don't mind newt; he's filling in for baytor

 

Et tu, Nicholas. You know I don't bitch near as much as he does.

 

Well we could go into how Batman kinda sorta did that in The Dark Knight Returns and maybe that would be the solution, a marauding madman is a lot easier to stop when he's paralysed from the neck down. Plus it wouldn't technically be breaking Batman's moral code. But given how he beat Jean-Paul Valley's ass up and down the Batcave for killing that guy while Bruce was healing, I'd say he'd never actually kill him, only partially because Joker is the only Batman villain worth a shit any more (I'm sorry, Ra's Al Ghul and Bane are a joke now.)

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no no, i just meant that you hate bat's rogues gallery

 

isnt Ra's gone? i forget. no idea when i last saw Bane.

 

yeah, you could paralyze him, but he'd still command his joker-group of people who like getting punched in the face by Batman. also, i dont recall post-Knightfall, but i know Bruce had his broken spine "healed" and somehow nobody passed this onto Oracle, the only other paraplegic past Xavier that somehow maintains a sixpack.

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no no, i just meant that you hate bat's rogues gallery

 

isnt Ra's gone? i forget. no idea when i last saw Bane.

 

yeah, you could paralyze him, but he'd still command his joker-group of people who like getting punched in the face by Batman. also, i dont recall post-Knightfall, but i know Bruce had his broken spine "healed" and somehow nobody passed this onto Oracle, the only other paraplegic past Xavier that somehow maintains a sixpack.

 

And let's not forget those shapely well-maintained legs. The reason Barbara Gordon is in a wheelchair in the first place ranks pretty high on my list of bullshit that writers did to female characters and were later praised for even though it was bad storytelling appearing among the ranks of Kyle Rayner's freezer'd girlfriend, Sue Dibney's rape, and Black Cat's rape. Pretty much everything else in Killing Joke was great but that was the one thing that irked me the most and still does to this day. But hey, it made room for a better Batgirl that's a mute ninja or is it the Prowler-with-tits-who-was-Robin-till-she-died that's Batgirl now? Meanwhile they crap out a new Robin every week. Hoooraaaay

 

I admit that most of my love for Batgirl is derived from the Batgirl: Year One series, but dammit there's a lot more she could be doing if she wasn't stuck as Oracle and a lot of bad character designs have taken her place. [/tangent]

 

I think Ra's is gone and even when Bane pops up he's not the Latin-fluent strategic genius who was Batman's superior in every way that he once was. Now he's just a big guy in a luchadore mask who goes "Rrrragh!" and punches things (Cause, you know, comic books don't have enough villains like that) But hey, at least we've got The Riddler and Scarecrow to pop in and be interesting every once in a while (their shtick hasn't gotten tired years ago, noooo)

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when Bane pops up he's not the Latin-fluent strategic genius who was Batman's superior in every way that he once was. Now he's just a big guy in a luchadore mask who goes "Rrrragh!" and punches things (Cause, you know, comic books don't have enough villains like that) But hey, at least we've got The Riddler and Scarecrow to pop in and be interesting every once in a while (their shtick hasn't gotten tired years ago, noooo)

 

You should check out the new series of Secret Six. Bane's been pretty intelligent on again off again leader with Scandal Savage in a team of "not--bad-guys". It's like suicide Squad with out the fat bitch and politics. I've been enjoying this series quite a bit. :)

Edited by Genroh
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  • 1 year later...

I've thought about that too, Jax. Red Sun Batman was poor, I think. His gadgets looked cobbled together and he lived in a sewer.

 

Here's what I think the differences would be:

 

He wouldn't have much in the way of martial arts training, so we would probably see more of a street brawler.

Naturally, he wouldn't have the bulk of his fancy gadgets and whatzits. I think he would probably carry some home made smoke/flash bang grenades and shit like that. Possibly pepper spray and some painkillers. He's not going to be summoning bats with high frequencies or flying around in a VTOL. Or pulling anti-shark spray out of his belt.

 

He would be much less of a detective. I'm sure he would be observant and good at following clues, but a lot of his actual detection relies on his resources.

 

I don't think he would even bother with a secret identity. A lot of the reason Bruce Wayne still exists is because he's high profile and his profits are funneled into the Batman project, not to mention the change that large charitable charitable contributions can make. If he were poor, I think there would be little motivation to not be Batman full time. At least if he lived in the sewer. Otherwise, he would have to work a 9-5 job to pay rent.

 

He would be extremely localized. I know Gotham is traditionally Batman's haunt, but he goes globetrotting quite a bit. This would see him focusing on just Gotham, possibly just one neighborhood. Kinda like Daredevil. I also think he'd be less about taking down organized crime syndicates and more focused on the street level.

 

In other words, this:

 

1Niec.jpg

 

 

 

It's also possible that he'd seek out someone to finance him.

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I disagree on several of your points, Logan. One, I don't think Batman's detective skills are tied to his money. And two, a Batman born poor would remain so. Also, it seems clever to say Poor Bruce = Rorschach, and that statement could in some small ways hold water. But I think it'd be more accurate to say Rorshach = Not As Intelligent As Bruce Wayne.

 

Bruce Wayne's wealth has little to do with what truly make him a super hero: his will power, intelligence, determination, and resourcefulness. Sure, his wealth allows him easier access to resources, but to say him being born impoverished would be a detriment to his detective skills is kind of classist. Bruce Wayne is the ultimate Alpha Male of the DCU. He will find a way to get his way. Period. That's what he does.

 

Would Batman be as much an international force without his wealth? No. But I don't think his lack of wealth would be a detriment to the impact he could have on one city. Now being the brilliant detective he is, he'd likely realize that indeed w/ mo' money comes mo' impact on crime.

 

And who says just b/c Bruce Wayne was born impoverished that he'd remain that way? There are many scenarios in which he could attain the level of gadgetry he has by being born a wealthy man. One of which you mentioned, finding a "benefactor" to bank roll his vigilantism. Another could be he gets scholarships to impressive universities and makes his own fortune to help bankroll Batman. Another would be he becomes a hacker and embezzles money from corrupt corporations such as LutherCorp to pay for his war on crime. And so on.

 

Some say Batman's wealth is his superpower, but I disagree. Batman's will power and intelligence are his superpower. These let him attain/maintain the level of wealth he needs to implement his own war on crime.

Edited by Mr. Hakujin
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what? so batman having a servant take care of his daily duties, not having to work a 9-5 (sleep all day, fight all night!), the best private schooling to hone his logic/intelligence, a proper diet (clinically proven to be a big part of mental development) and training regiment, ability to travel the world to learn martial art skills/different perspectives on combat, this is all thrown out as negligible?

 

no; the determination is there, and id agree that's his "power", but if the means are not, he's not nearly the same man. the scholarship idea is something, but it's not at all enough, and if we simply make him poor + minority, rorscarch is the more likely height he can reach. bruce was literally able to do everything that made him batman with infinitely greater resources as a result of not having to worry about lesser things.

 

as logans said, even as bats, he's literally deus ex'd his way out of things with numerous expensive gadgets (cloaking, distraction/explosions, tons of automobiles destroyed like they're nothing), and if i could point to just one thing that holds it all together: again, alfred. try finding a hospital/clinic that doesn't ask questions about your frequent blood-loss blackouts, bullet/stabbing wounds and why you stumbled in in costume. surgical skills from a family live-in manservant? his entire operation falls apart without just that one factor.

 

tl;dr - he and stark are the 1%

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Yeah, I stand by the bulk of what I said, I'll concede that he would be in a higher class than Rorsharch. Dunno where I implied that he wouldn't be Batman without money, I would have thought I was saying the opposite. He would just, logically, be a different kind of Batman.

 

As far as the detective shit goes, how often have you seen him plug random shit into a cray supercomputer and cross check for matches? Bloodtype, soil composition, jaunty hat styles, pretty much everything. Or tap his grunts on the payroll to do the "leg work" (Hahaha). I'm sayin', the dude is good at putting 2 and 2 together, but without his super duper CSI lab he's going to hit roadblocks way more often.

 

I saved the "well, he'd get rich. Cuz he's smart." theory for the end, because it kinda makes the entire discussion meaningless.

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Batman as a trained superhero is a product of his environment: this spurned child looked at what he had and applied it best to directly affect the change he wanted. If the kid had been dirt poor he'd apply that change as directly as he could there: as a street brawler wearing a domino mask. The batman we know and love though is resourceful and pragmatic to the core: most likely starting out with nothing Batman would simply do a non-Ennis-written punisher and fund his enterprises with blood money, and he wouldn't get rich he'd simply spend what he had to to survive & maintain his operation. Bruce Wayne is simply a cover ID like Matches Malone. I see Batman at the core as I guess the closest analogue would be Tyler Durden, but happy to play the game.

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