Fiery Content Creator RazorFist Utterly Eviscerates Batman’s One “Mentally Retarded”  Rule

Not everything rises
Christian Bale has one thing left to give in The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Warner Bros. Pictures

Batman is known for a great many things as one of the oldest characters still in active publication. However, in nearly a century of history, a trope that has stuck like glue is his no-kill rule. It’s a code that has become an inextricable part of lore and ethos in all media to the point of being sacrosanct.

Batman (Kevin Conroy) crashes Chuckie Sol’s (Dick Miller) operation in Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993), Warner Bros. Animation

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Many fans stand by the one unbreakable rule as a commandment integral to the Bat’s code, and even his soul, while others could take it or leave it. The infamous rule has its critics and admittedly the criticism was duly earned over the years.

Sometimes, the Dark Knight held back when it strained credulity, and people close to him paid the price. Arguably, the Bat Family and Gotham would’ve been better off with Joker, Bane, and Ra’s al-Ghul resting six feet deep when it counted.

Batman (Ben Affleck) has Superman (Henry Cavill) on the ropes in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: Ultimate Edition (2016), Warner Bros. Pictures
Batman (Ben Affleck) has Superman (Henry Cavill) on the ropes in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: Ultimate Edition (2016), Warner Bros. Pictures

This is just one argument. There are more to dig deeper into and the outspoken YouTube personality RazorFist did that job for us all in a recent video which destroys Batman’s code more than it merely deconstructs.

Razor treads familiar territory by comparing the Caped Crusader to one of his closest inspirations and rivals, The Shadow, known for delivering a brand of double-barreled justice, which he would have meted out to The Joker with no quarter.

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There’s no question about that as Razor often points out, but in a time when the pulps ruled, The Bat was not averse to brandishing a firearm either – which is an inconvenient truth for many current-day readers and YouTube content creators.

Razor cites Bob Kane who figured “it was okay” for Batman, in a myriad of examples of blatant plagiarism by Kane and also Bill Finger, to have a gun since The Shadow had one (at least – he’s known more for possessing two). And why not when they were lifting material right off the page?

Shadow knows
Alec Baldwin as the title vigilante in The Shadow (1994), Universal Pictures

Razor provides examples of Batman strips that were traced and plagiarized verbally, practically verbatim, from strikingly similar Shadow stories. In many cases, that left the copycat vigilante holding a gun, so they left it.

As time went on, the Dark Knight’s popularity grew and it did so along with the rise of the prevalence in kid sidekicks. When his partner, the Boy Wonder himself, was introduced, that’s when Batman was castrated and became the smiling father figure of the Silver Age.

Chris O'Donnell as Robin in Batman & Robin (1997), Warner Bros. Pictures
Chris O’Donnell as Dick Greyson/Robin in Batman & Robin (1997), Warner Bros. Pictures

Razor considers that enough evidence to silence debate on the no-kill mandate; the Internet, however, which has a hard time settling anything, nitpicks over character death in a mutable, convoluted canon retconned many times over the years.

It’s inaccurate to say Gotham rogues don’t die, for example, when they have numerous times on the page and on film. They simply don’t stay dead, which isn’t saying much. Even Robins can’t stay in that condition (thank Lazarus Pits). And it’s not as if The Shadow’s enemies don’t tend to creep back from the grave now and again.

Lone Khan
John Lone was one incarnation of Shiwan Khan in The Shadow (1994), Universal Pictures

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Razor argues in his roundabout way that Bruce could stand to dust off a few baddies more often to save the lives of civilians or, if nothing else, spare his allies Batgirl and Jason Todd the trauma of Joker brutally clipping their wings. Like he isn’t running creeps over with the Batmobile? A weaponized piece of machinery deadlier than any firearm.

But the greater hypocrisy may be that a Batman who refuses to kill reflects what a tepid society we live in. Ultimately, not crossing that line can only make sense to people espousing “equity” and “progressive values.” As RazorFist explains, Batman taking a life pales in comparison to punishments doled out for lesser acts in China and the Mideast.

Joker Killing Joke animated
Joker (Mark Hamill) at Barbara’s (Tara Strong) door in Batman: The Killing Joke (2016), Warner Animation

Lastly, he argues, Bruce not killing out of a sense of justice rooted in childhood trauma and sorrow, preventing him from hurting the feelings of little children because he was one, is a weak argument. Lil Bruce, Razor adds, would probably cartwheel in glee if The Shadow “went no-chill on Joe Chill.”

NEXT: Interview: Razörfist Speaks With Us On His Upcoming Novel, Pulp Cover Art, And The Possibility Of A Genre Revival

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