Batman / Batman Joker

When Has Batman Killed the Joker?

The relationship between Batman and the Joker is one of the most complicated and iconic in all of comic book history. The two have been locked in a never-ending battle for decades, with Batman always trying to bring the Joker to justice and prevent him from causing more harm. While Batman is known for his strict “no-kill” policy, there have been a few instances throughout the comics where he has crossed that line and taken matters into his own hands.

What Led to Batman’s No-Kill Policy
Before we dive into those instances, it’s important to understand why Batman has such a strict no-kill policy. The death of his parents at a young age led him to become obsessed with fighting crime and preventing others from experiencing similar tragedies. He saw death as the ultimate punishment and believed that taking a life would make him no better than the criminals he was fighting against.

As a result, Batman became known for his unwavering commitment to justice without resorting to lethal force. This has been a defining characteristic of his character and is what separates him from other vigilantes like Punisher or Deadpool who don’t have any qualms about killing their enemies.

The Killing Joke
The most famous instance of Batman almost killing the Joker was in Alan Moore’s 1988 graphic novel “The Killing Joke.” In this story, the Joker shoots and paralyzes Barbara Gordon (aka Batgirl), which leads her father Commissioner Gordon on a wild chase through an abandoned carnival.

Eventually, Batman catches up with the Joker and they have an intense confrontation where it seems like Batman might finally snap and kill him. However, at the last moment, he chooses not to give in to his anger and instead apprehends the Clown Prince of Crime as usual.

Batman: Dark Knight Returns
Another notable instance where Batman almost kills the Joker was in Frank Miller’s 1986 graphic novel “Batman: Dark Knight Returns.” In this story, a retired Batman comes out of retirement to fight crime once again. The Joker, who had been in a catatonic state for years, wakes up and goes on another killing spree.

When Batman finally confronts him, the Joker goads him into breaking his no-kill policy and nearly succeeds. However, Batman ultimately decides not to kill him and instead turns him over to the authorities.

Final Thoughts
While these instances are few and far between, they do show that even someone as committed to justice as Batman can be pushed to their limits. However, it’s important to remember that these moments are exceptions rather than the rule.

Batman’s no-kill policy is what sets him apart from other heroes and allows him to maintain his moral high ground. It’s also what makes his battles with the Joker so compelling – a never-ending struggle between two opposing ideals.

In conclusion, while there have been instances where Batman almost killed the Joker, he ultimately always chooses to bring him to justice without resorting to lethal force. This is what makes their relationship so complex and fascinating to watch unfold in the pages of comic books.