Batman is one of the most complete and complex characters in the comics, bringing stories that address deep themes like what is justice, what is the role of a vigilante in society, how to deal with criminals and many other things.
Among all these questions, one of the most important is the ethical behavior that the hero has always shown when facing the various villains that have appeared in the city of Gotham City over the years. Bruce Wayne may hide behind a mask, but his morale has always been transparent to everyone.
Attention: below, spoilers for Batman # 32, “The War of Jokes and Riddles”.
The new issue of Batman magazine, created by Tom King and Mikel Janin, raised some very dark questions about the hero. The story is presented using a flashback where Bruce tells Selina Kyle (the Catwoman) important events that happened during the first years when the hero started his crime-fighting career.
What is the terrible secret that Bruce decided to tell Selina? During one of the confrontations with the Riddler, in which the villain even caused a literal war just with the intention of creating a “catch phrase” for the Joker, Batman let his anger speak louder. Fully aware of his actions, he attacked the Riddler, intending to kill him.
“It wasn’t an accident.”
“I didn’t think it would fail”.
“I was not out of control, or insane.”
“I knew who I was. I knew what I was doing ”.
“I understood the choice I had made.”
“I attacked with the knife.”
“For kill o Riddler ”.
The hero almost violated the most important vote he made in his entire life, breaking the principle that he always believed to be what separates him from his opponents, perhaps the only thing really capable of differentiating a hero from a villain: the vote of never kill. And the most serious point of all is that the only reason why Riddler was not killed for his gesture was because of the intervention of the Joker, at the last moment.
Does this revelation mean that we can expect any major changes in Batman’s behavior in the future?