People have been wondering for decades now, why doesn’t Batman just snap the joker’s neck? After everything it would seem like the most reasonable thing to do, rid yourself of that psychotic menace once and for all.
We have seen time and time again the likes of Superman save the day only to spare the culprits, usually handing them off to the police or imprisoning them in the phantom zone, but a lot of us have grown tired of this, I mean come on , we have read comics enough times to know how that usually ends…the badguy escaping only to cause more trouble!
So should heroes kill?….well some already do, the likes of the Punisher come to mind and though they are anti-heroes they are still “heroes”, but they have as Batman puts it “crossed a line” and more often than not live pretty close to the dark-side.
When it comes to killing it really is a matter of personal morality but I think people also forget the psychological toll it has. Human beings or living things in general are not designed to take a life, even soldiers suffer all sorts of psychological trauma when they take a life.
When you look at the likes of Frank Castle, John Constantine and Deadpool you don’t need to be a genius to tell they’ve got some serious issues to deal with. Batman refuses to cross the line because he claims it would be too easy but that’s not the truth not the complete truth anyway, he refuses to cross the line because it would be too hard!
Even in anime where a lot of killing tends to take place it only happens because of the sheer necessity. Shinobi cannot afford to spare their enemies and even so they constantly have to deal with the trauma of living a life of murder, just look at the likes of Itachi, Obito,Kakashi, Zabuza, Gaara, Sasuke, Madara and so many others, any psychologist will tell you straight up, none of those guys are right in the head! Look … none of them!!
Superheroes usually don’t have to end a life to do their job, so it’s only natural that they don’t, it’s not as nonsensical as it seems, it actually makes more sense! The likes of Spawn is a whole different story and for story-lines like Invincible, Injustice or Irredeemable no one needs to tell you the characters in there are genuinely broken inside.
Batman makes a choice to fight for his humanity because the fact of the matter is he has to deal with a lot of trauma, but the question is once he succumbs what else is he left with? What else but anger and pain? At the very least now he can sleep easy in the confidence that whatever he is, he’s not a murderer!