In an earlier edition of his YouTube show, comic writer and creator of Bane Chuck Dixon stated his ideal Superman would not kill. He explained his stance as a believer in the Man of Steel’s intelligence and resourcefulness allowing him to find a way to stop a foe without shedding blood or breaking necks. Therefore, you wouldn’t see that in Dixon’s movie.

Tyler Hoechlin glows in Superman & Lois Season 2 Episode 15 “Waiting For Superman” (2022), The CW

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However, in the following episode of Ask Chuck Dixon, a viewer gave a detailed response defending Superman’s occasional use of deadly force for certain threats, like Zod, who has apocalyptic power. He also provided a justification for Batman killing – reasoning that leaving rogues like The Joker alive does more harm than good to the people of Gotham.

It was a simple yet compelling argument, but Mr. Dixon had a compelling and sagacious answer that went in-depth into the essence of Superman as a character. First, Dixon responded that the comic is a wish-fulfillment fantasy that functions under certain rules. “Childhood wish-fulfillment characters should never be lethal,” he said. “Fred Flintstone should never murder Mr. Slate.”

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Dixon adds even fictional heroes exist in a world of a strict moral code (i.e., the Ten Commandments), and Superman above all would not violate that – for reasons beyond the fact he was brought up in Kansas. He is not a soldier, for one thing. He is a citizen acting in the name of the Rule of Law.

Superman isn’t endowed with the right to use lethal force. He acts as a hero, but in many respects, he is a volunteer as he chooses to use his powers for the greater good. Ideally, Superman is all about doing good and showing the good in people by embracing his adopted humanity. “He should be a paragon,” and not kill his enemies, Dixon said.

Action Comics #643 Cover art by George Pérez (1989), DC Comics

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He understands the argument in favor of Superman and Batman killing, but Dixon wants his listeners to understand that the dissatisfaction some readers have with Lex Luthor or The Joker not being permanently disposed of is coming from the section of lifelong fans. Decades ago, comics thrived by courting new readers in the kid demo every few years.

When new readers discovered and followed the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight, “the moral fatigue hadn’t set in because it didn’t have time to.” Now, comics are driven by a “static” aging readership that doesn’t like to see their continuity altered drastically, which is what killing off Joker and Lex would do. Then they’d have to justify this to general audiences.

Christopher Reeve in "Superman" - Warner Bros.

Christopher Reeve in Superman: The Movie, Warner Bros. Pictures

Average people might know Luthor and the Clown are the archenemies of their respective foils but might not understand why they’re gone. Readers of any age, Dixon argues, should be able to get lost in a story without getting distracted by “imponderables.” Moreover, Dixon sees this as a flaw in modern comic writing. “The writers haven’t done their job,” he said.

If Superman or Batman kills, it’s the fault of “lazy writing” – that turns an all-American hero into a monster with godlike power people would understandably be afraid of.

Superman kills Joker-Injustice

Superman kills Joker in Injustice Gods Among Us #2, DC Comics

If you agree or have any thoughts on that, let us know down below.

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  • About The Author

    JB Augustine

    Writer, journalist, comic reader. I cover all things DC and Godzilla. Fan since Batman TAS was brand new. Favorite character is between Swamp Thing and Darkwing Duck.