I noticed this forum has been pretty dead for a while now, and I decided to make a new thread to sort of liven it up a little bit. This thread may be pretty controversial, so I'll warn you now. Anyway, on to the discussion!
I've been paying a little more attention to Batman recently, especially the way he's portrayed in the modern and New 52 eras. It occurred to me that the modern Batman is actually a pretty big hypocrite. For example:
In modern Batman stories, Batman goes on and on about how he doesn't kill and how he's against killing in any way shape or form (like he's some kind of good Samaritan). But then proceeds to completely paralyze, put into a coma or bodycast the criminal element with little regard. So I'm supposed to believe that Batman is this great guy when he's just completely brutalizing people? (Arkham City and Arkham Asylum are great examples of this)
Also, when it comes to super dangerous criminals such as Joker, who is so unrepentant that it's sad, why doesn't Batman just kill him? It would save COUNTLESS lives. Because "it'd make him as bad as the criminals he faces?" Hogwash! Policemen and even average citizens kill homicidal maniacs that are endangering the lives of others ALL THE TIME. Does that mean they're as bad as the criminal? Of course not! But according to the modern era Batman, they would be.
Batman's supposed to be a hero, no? Someone that protects the lives of the innocent? Isn't that his whole motto? "To make sure what happened to me could never happen to anyone else again." Yet he lets serial killers like Joker, Zsazs, and etc. get away and kill innocent people all the time. I can understand not jumping right for the kill on the first, second, or even third encounter with someone like Joker or Zsazs, but once it becomes obvious they're just playing the system and escaping to do the same thing again, shouldn't Batman (or a cop for that matter) take a stand and say "I won't let this happen again." I mean, Joker's killed CHILDREN in the comics.
And then, in Arkham City, he's so willing to let thousands of people... INNOCENT people... die in the chaos just to save one woman (whose sole mission in life is to eradicate the planet). Like I said, isn't Batman a hero? Or, at least, supposed to be? Wouldn't a hero's choice in that situation be pretty darn obvious?
And that leads me to my final point. Batman is a vigilante. He operates outside the law. Yet if someone else tries to protect the innocent in a similar way, they are criminals and Batman denounces them? Isn't that straight up hypocrisy? Isn't there room in Gotham City for more than one crime fighter? Why does Batman have to have a monopoly? I thought he wanted to inspire people to take back their city? Not be completely dependent on him?
To me, outside of a few worthwhile additions, Batman in the modern era seems like a self-righteous, holier than thou jerk.
I think you're posing these questions while forgetting the medium you're talking about.
Batman never tries to take a life because he a)tries to hold himself to a higher standard, and b) the main lesson is that taking a life should never be easy nor should it be taken lightly and only saved for a last resort.
It's a moral story showcasing that if you find yourself easily justifying killing people odds are you are no better than the people you are killing. Even in real life the cops and citizens you talk about often only resort to killing someone because they feel that they are in danger of losing their own life.
Honestly if you heard of a cop you just straight out killed people because he thought they were going to continually ruin lives is that really someone you want possessing power of any kind.
As for the justification of well we know the Joker is going to kill more people therefore Batman should end him and save more lives. That's where you need to take the comic book medium into account. The fact is if the Joker existed in real life and did his thing and someone caught him he would not be back out on the streets. He would be locked up with no or little chance of parole or if he was in a mental institute he would be so medicated he wouldn't have the ability to escape. Or he would be given the death penalty if the state allowed it.
Of course since the Joker is a fictional character that is quite popular and writers want to reuse him due to that popularity he has to escape and has to be back out on the street. Yet they still want to maintain what Batman is supposed to represent as it's what makes him popular and is a good message.
Batman is under scrutiny for this subject more than characters like Daredevil or Spider Man, who are urban vigilantes who don't kill as well. The reason is because, unlike those two heroes, Batman is essentially seen as the equal of the Gotham Police Force. The others are neighbourhood guys who just help out the existing authorities - but Batman, his failures are the same as the system failures in his city. It really all started when the Joker killed Jason Todd in 1988, and has gotten only more murderous since. They make jokes in the Batman comic about how it would be nice if Arkham could hold the Joker for a few hours before he escapes again, but it just illustrates the failure of Batman and the system he serves in that city. I won't even get into Zsasz, the other murdering psycho that Batman has failed to stop for good.
Ideally, you'd like to think Batman is serving a higher ideal by not killing the Joker, and Commissioner Gordon has chosen to go that way, too. But too many stories have gone to absurd lengths to show this. Batman: Cacophony had Onomatopoeia brutally stabbing the Joker to make Batman choose between chasing him and saving the Joker, which he did (Gordon, in private, dropped all pretense of supporting this: "Are you crazy?! Just let him die!" - Batman could have just chosen not to save him and spared more lives, which a healing Joker pointed out to him later.)
Anyone could understand Daredevil wanting to do in Bullseye for good; yet anyone well versed in his character would know why he doesn't, as a man who's a lawyer by day and believes in serving the system. But when Batman chooses not to just let the Joker die, or even attacking the returned-from-the-grave Jason Todd to save the Joker's life, real credibility is straining at the seams.
Back in the late 1940's, the Joker got changed from a murderous psycho to a mischievous clown in the comics, because readers were complaining Batman was looking impotent in stopping him. When will DC realize they have the same problem today?
Just look at when they get out of continuity, in Elseworlds tales like The Dark Knight Returns and Kingdom come, and look at how eager they are to bump Joker off, by comparison.
"I'm not smart so much as I am not dumb." - Harlan Ellison
I have noticed this forum has been pretty dead for a while now, and I decided to make a new thread to sort of liven it up a little bit. This thread may be pretty controversial, so I'll warn you now. Anyway, on to the discussion!
Technically though, Robin and Nightwing were trained by him, so they're automatically exempt from his "I'm the only one worthy to defend the innocent" policy.
One other thing that bugs the crap out of me about modern Batman is how he's become the poster boy for gun control. Automatically anyone that has a gun or uses a gun is a bad guy, and guns are disdainful, when good law-abiding citizens use them everyday to hunt for food and protect people. Just because Batman doesn't use them at all doesn't make them evil.
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Re: Modern Batman: Self-Righteous Hypocrite?
Well then you need to pay more attention than the New 52. Batman originally started with a gun and later change by Bob Kane. Nowadays Batman hates guns.
So it's not the character it's the way the idiot writers portray Batman. Best modern day Batman version can be found by the works of Paul Dini. You pay attention to Grant Morrison you getting sucker into thinking you're getting something deepen and complex. They guy is making Batman a gimmick.
Or how he was preaching Jean-Paul Valley, because the latter didn't bother to save a serial killer Abattoir. Of course, as a result another victim died, but the fact is Batman seemed to be more pissed about the dead psychopath, than his victim.
I used to be a vigorous defender of Batman's strange, psuedo-Kantian ethical system. Not anymore. The whole reason Batman doesn't kill (and won't let others kill his worst villains) is all a matter of continuity. The Joker and other big Batman rogues will never die because writers rely too much on them for their plots. The whole "no-killing" rule is just a way for it to make sense, even at the cost of plausibility. Bruce is a smart guy, and in the care of an honest, thoughtful writer I can't imagine that he wouldn't see the sense in letting the Joker die (I didn't say kill him; just letting him die). I don't like that he puts his principles above his intelligence. Worse still there's the implication that we're supposed to think that he's right.
“Where the longleaf pines are whispering
to him who loved them so.
Where the faint murmurs now dwindling
echo o’er tide and shore."
-A Grave Epitaph in Santa Rosa County, Florida; I wish I could remember the man's name.
__________________ "Compounding these trickster aspects, the Joker ethos is verbally explicated as such by his psychiatrist, who describes his madness as "super-sanity." Where "sanity" previously suggested acquiescence with cultural codes, the addition of "super" implies that this common "sanity" has been replaced by a superior form, in which perception and processing are completely ungoverned and unconstrained"
I've always enjoyed the stories where the reader is reminded why Bruce became Batman...to deal with his inner demons & avenge the death of his parents.
The notion of a grown man,a billionaire & a violent vigilante that is tortured inside & can be brought to tears at the memory of his dead parents is enough logic IMO as to why he doesn't kill or end life.
The whole Gotham's justice system is flawed. Take for example Zsasz. He should have been put on an electric chair long time ago. So what if he's "crazy"? Wouldn't be a hindrance in Texas. I feel disturbed every time I have to see Zsasz butcher cops, Arkham guards, families, without getting a proper trial for his crimes. You wonder, why anyone even bothers to work as a cop or security for Arkham?! Sometimes they overdo with senseless killing in Batman comics. Instead of wounding victims, the writers easily choose death on pandemic levels.
Not wanting to kill mass murderers or at least turning away from saving psychos' lives, when it is necessary for the benefit of innocent people, is not just Batman's failure, it's the failure of the writers. Of course it's not easy to kill off some interesting villains (Joker is out of question of course), but having a serial killer, who escapes Arkham over and over again (Zsasz again) then kills scores of people for thrill, not only questions morality of the law in Gotham, but also of the writers. Batman catches them, OK, it's then judge's duty to make sure the serial killers get proper trial. One cannot reach Zsasz with medication, so put the dog to sleep ffs. Let these psychos run around for couple of seasons, then put them down. Batman maybe is right not to question the competence of the judicial system, but if the latter keeps failing Gotham...? One keeps wondering though, if Batman isn't just as mad as them psychos, because he sees all the carnage they cause, and still believes they can be cured, and we're not talking about small criminals here.
Last edited by Gambler on Mar 29th, 2013 at 09:01 PM
If you get right down to it, the entire world of Batman makes even less sense than a world populated by superpowers. Batman is supposed to be the most "realistic" and "grounded" hero, but really, a lot of his stories, while entertaining, insult the intelligence of readers and the characters involved in the story not named Batman.