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Why Superheroes Don’t Kill Supervillains

Super-Villains of DC Comics
Super-Villains of DC Comics

Why Are Villains Still Alive?

Time and time again, one question is asked when it comes to supervillains. Why don’t superheroes kill their villains? The comics have given many answers to this question. Though the argument provided has not withstood the test of time. The usual answer is because the hero doesn’t want to cross that line. They don’t want to stoop to the same level as the villain. There might be another reason for their methods as well. 

Why Superheroes Don't Kill Supervillains
The Dark Knight

The Kill 

One classic example of superhero vs supervillain can be seen through Batman vs. the Joker. Batman has faced off against the Joker multiple times. Every time Batman puts Joker in the Arkham Asylum, the Joker eventually breaks out to cause more havoc for the Dark Knight. It has gotten to a point where some fans have been asking, why doesn’t Batman kill the Joker? 

Of course, the reason Batman usually gives is that it goes against his one rule. Batman has given other reasons for not killing the Joker, but there is one not really explained. Killing a person takes a huge toll on someone. Once you actually take a life, you are not the same afterward. Even Batman would be haunted by the fact that he had to kill a criminal. Taking a life can change a person so much. 

Why Superheroes Don't Kill Supervillains
Lex Luthor vs Superman

The Justice System

Taking a life takes a toll, but that is not the only reason why heroes don’t kill. Superheroes keep their villains alive because they believe in the justice system of the American people. They believe that justice will still be brought to these villains. If these heroes took the law to the extreme, it would show that they don’t believe in justice. 

For example, if Batman were to kill the Joker instead of handing him over to official law enforcement, it would show that he no longer believes in Gotham City. He wouldn’t believe that Gotham City could be saved from its corrupt nature. If Superman were to kill Lex Luthor, it would show Superman no longer believing in the American justice system. 

In a sense, it would go against their character for heroes to kill their villains. Superheroes like Batman and Superman believe that the American justice system is flawed, not broken. They believe that eventually good will win in the end. By having the villains go through the process of the justice system,  the heroes believe they make the world a better place. 


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About the author

Renji Kuriakose

Renji Kuriakose is a big comic book fan. His favorite character has been Batman since he could remember.

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