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  1. #1
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    Default Villains - Should they be captured or killed? (animated movie spoilers)

    Hey guys. So I just started reading comics, like just started, like less than a week ago lol.

    While reading the comics, I also started watching some of the animated movies & mini series on netflix.

    I watched Superman vs The Elite, and Batman: under the red hood. And both movies seemed to debate the fate of villains after their defeat, should they be locked up or just killed.

    This go tme to thinking. Of course as the good guys Superman & Batman, both refused to kill the bad guys, as they aren't the law, or i'ts not their place to decide, it's the courts, or that they can't kill as it makes them no worse than the villains.

    In the Superman movie, Atomic Skull tears thru Metropolis killing at random, then gets caught by Superman and locked up, he then escapes and then just kills many more inncoents, superman defeats him again, and just wants to lock him back up. But The Elite, just intervene and kill Atomic Skull, and Superman is all pissed off, while the citizens praise the Elite for putting down a murdering madman.

    Then, a similar thing happens in the Batman Movie. The joker captures, beats, and tortures robin, then blows him up with a bomb killing him. Batman catches Joker and tosses him into Arkham as usual. And, he then escapes, and kills yet more people, and when Red Hood beats down Joker and prepares to kill him, Batman intervenes and saves Joker saying its not our place, and we aren't the law or executioners or whatever.

    After watching the movies, I was like WTF are you serious, you shoulda killed those evil bastards. If you lock them up, they are just going to escape, kill again, get caught again, rinse and repeat. Isn't it better to just fight them to death, and save so many future deaths of innocents or comrades?

    What do you guys think? Capture or Kill?

    I know I just started reading comics, but in general are the heroes all going to be like this? Just catching and recatching the villains time and time againg? Or are there perhaps some heroes, that do just kill the villains?

    Anyways, I digress, what are your guys feelings on the topic? Should the villains be captured or killed?

  2. #2
    Elder Member Shellhead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jiongu View Post
    Hey guys. So I just started reading comics, like just started, like less than a week ago lol.

    While reading the comics, I also started watching some of the animated movies & mini series on netflix.

    I watched Superman vs The Elite, and Batman: under the red hood. And both movies seemed to debate the fate of villains after their defeat, should they be locked up or just killed.

    This go tme to thinking. Of course as the good guys Superman & Batman, both refused to kill the bad guys, as they aren't the law, or i'ts not their place to decide, it's the courts, or that they can't kill as it makes them no worse than the villains.

    In the Superman movie, Atomic Skull tears thru Metropolis killing at random, then gets caught by Superman and locked up, he then escapes and then just kills many more inncoents, superman defeats him again, and just wants to lock him back up. But The Elite, just intervene and kill Atomic Skull, and Superman is all pissed off, while the citizens praise the Elite for putting down a murdering madman.

    Then, a similar thing happens in the Batman Movie. The joker captures, beats, and tortures robin, then blows him up with a bomb killing him. Batman catches Joker and tosses him into Arkham as usual. And, he then escapes, and kills yet more people, and when Red Hood beats down Joker and prepares to kill him, Batman intervenes and saves Joker saying its not our place, and we aren't the law or executioners or whatever.

    After watching the movies, I was like WTF are you serious, you shoulda killed those evil bastards. If you lock them up, they are just going to escape, kill again, get caught again, rinse and repeat. Isn't it better to just fight them to death, and save so many future deaths of innocents or comrades?

    What do you guys think? Capture or Kill?

    I know I just started reading comics, but in general are the heroes all going to be like this? Just catching and recatching the villains time and time againg? Or are there perhaps some heroes, that do just kill the villains?

    Anyways, I digress, what are your guys feelings on the topic? Should the villains be captured or killed?
    I'm going to sidestep the whole ethical question at hand, and instead focus on practicality.

    No, the villains should not be killed. Creating an interesting and memorable new villain is hard, much harder than you think. Once a villain like that has been created, subsequent creative teams will want to use that villain, too. If an interesting villain is killed, subsequent writers will either lose the opportunity to use that interesting villain or else be forced to reverse or ignore the death, cheapening the impact of that death. Once a villain has been brought back from death a few times, readers become unimpressed by any future deaths, even from other characters. And from a story standpoint, the more interesting villains will tend to be the ones that most deserve to be killed. So either the hero keeps killing off interesting villains, or the hero is incompetently killing the lesser villains while keeping the major ones alive.
    "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
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  3. #3
    Professional Worrywort Kyer's Avatar
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    In the world of superheroes I'd certainly forgive a Batman or a Superman for offing a serial killer. I'd also be pitching a fit at the state of a jail system that can't seem to keep their inmates inside with any kind of regularity.

    In the comic business world...yeah, good villains are hard to create. Plus they have their own fans (for reasons I can't figure out.) Think of all the lost revenue for The Joker stuff if they terminated the character.
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    Tai'shar Manetheren Jadenewt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyer View Post
    In the world of superheroes I'd certainly forgive a Batman or a Superman for offing a serial killer. I'd also be pitching a fit at the state of a jail system that can't seem to keep their inmates inside with any kind of regularity.

    In the comic business world...yeah, good villains are hard to create. Plus they have their own fans (for reasons I can't figure out.) Think of all the lost revenue for The Joker stuff if they terminated the character.
    Or if Peter Parker actually killed Venom, or Punisher. Wow Marvel would have lost boat loads of revenue.
    D-Deadman! You killed Deadman!!

  5. #5
    Long Live the Hogs Burning Eyes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jiongu View Post
    in general are the heroes all going to be like this? Just catching and recatching the villains time and time againg? Or are there perhaps some heroes, that do just kill the villains?
    Superman and Batman don't kill unless absolutely every other option has been exhausted.
    Aquaman has no problem killing enemies.
    Darkseid: "HOW DARE YOU?! I AM DARKSEID!"
    Superman: "I Don't Care."

  6. #6
    Senior Member FIFTY-TWO (52)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyer View Post
    In the world of superheroes I'd certainly forgive a Batman or a Superman for offing a serial killer. I'd also be pitching a fit at the state of a jail system that can't seem to keep their inmates inside with any kind of regularity.

    In the comic business world...yeah, good villains are hard to create. Plus they have their own fans (for reasons I can't figure out.) Think of all the lost revenue for The Joker stuff if they terminated the character.
    In a superhero universe it doesn't make sense to kill a villain anyway. They always find a way to come back; just like the heroes, actually.
    If Batman can make a comeback after getting smoked by the Omega Effect, what makes anyone think death could keep a character like the Joker down? He's got Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers mojo. They always get up.
    Last edited by FIFTY-TWO (52); 01-25-2013 at 12:45 PM.
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  7. #7
    Old Fogey Ebon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jiongu View Post
    I know I just started reading comics, but in general are the heroes all going to be like this? Just catching and recatching the villains time and time againg? Or are there perhaps some heroes, that do just kill the villains?

    Anyways, I digress, what are your guys feelings on the topic? Should the villains be captured or killed?
    There are several practical reasons heroes do not kill, aside from what should be the obvious ethical and moral questions involved.

    Most heroes exist in a grey area between the law and lawlessness. Usually the law turns a blind eye to their actions because the heroes are taking on people and situations that law enforcement either isn't trained to take on, or has inssuficient force to take on. By letting the heroes handle someone like The Joker, it saves the lives of many, many cops.

    However, one of the rights that any state reserves for itself is the ability to kill. It is the ultimate trump card that any political organization can play, and it says 'we're in charge'. If heroes start to kill, they slam directly up against the one power the state feels belongs to it and it alone. This is why vigilantism is a crime: it takes all the checks and balances that any good system has and tosses them in the garbage. Now we, the readers, can root for the vigilante superhero because we occupy a privledged position: we can see into his head and know that, mostly, he's practicing restraint and has a keenly discerning mind that can tell guilt from innocence.
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  8. #8

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    eh. if i was a super hero i would kill many villains. i would be a mix between batman and judge dredd
    Batman, Batman/Superman, Saga, Thor: God of Thunder, X-men

  9. #9
    Senior Member ascended's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ebon View Post
    There are several practical reasons heroes do not kill, aside from what should be the obvious ethical and moral questions involved.

    Most heroes exist in a grey area between the law and lawlessness. Usually the law turns a blind eye to their actions because the heroes are taking on people and situations that law enforcement either isn't trained to take on, or has inssuficient force to take on. By letting the heroes handle someone like The Joker, it saves the lives of many, many cops.

    However, one of the rights that any state reserves for itself is the ability to kill. It is the ultimate trump card that any political organization can play, and it says 'we're in charge'. If heroes start to kill, they slam directly up against the one power the state feels belongs to it and it alone. This is why vigilantism is a crime: it takes all the checks and balances that any good system has and tosses them in the garbage. Now we, the readers, can root for the vigilante superhero because we occupy a privledged position: we can see into his head and know that, mostly, he's practicing restraint and has a keenly discerning mind that can tell guilt from innocence.
    Quoted for truth.

    Consider the government and how they handle the hero community. There are (depending on the universe in question) dozens of people who are essentially walking weapons of mass destruction who answer to no higher authority. The government is practically harboring domestic terrorists who just happen to target criminals and/or alleged criminals. The only thing that keeps the government off the hero's back is public support and the knowledge that the heroes are only going to go so far. And we've seen in the past, when a hero crosses a certain line, the government looks at them as they would a villain. And most heroes cant handle the kind of heat the government can bring down on them, keep up their civilian life, and still hunt down the real bad guys.

    So not killing helps keep the entire hero community safe from government prosecution. And its largely a "one for all" deal. If one hero goes bad, its easy to convince the people that others might too. And then that public support starts to fall apart and everyone ends up in trouble. Of course there are heroes who kill, but all the other ones normally make an effort to show that those actions are not condoned by the community at large.

    There's also a psychological aspect to it. Batman, for all intents and purposes, is just this side of absolutely crazy. Anyone who puts on a costume and runs around beating people up is, on some level, a little out of their mind. Now, lets say Batman finally kills Joker. How easy would it be for him to then kill Two-Face? Penguin? Firefly? Next thing you know he's killing small time crooks, and then the cops who would end up going after him. And thus Batman has become the problem he was trying to solve. For some, like Superman, its about not allowing themselves to play god, for others, like Batman, its about maintaining control of themselves through strict discipline.

    Of course, the real reason has already been mentioned. If heroes killed, we'd run out of great villains.

    Personally, I think there should be a middle ground. I think most heroes should be willing to kill the really big bads if they have to. Cops and soldiers do it and I see no reason why heroes wouldnt. And just because Batman is willing and actively trying to kill the Joker, doesnt mean he's going to actually be able to pull it off. That puts the big villains in a state where they almost always get away rather than being arrested, but whatever.
    Last edited by ascended; 01-25-2013 at 03:55 PM.

  10. #10
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    Villians cannot be killed because comics need these characters.

    If they actually existed in the real world they should be killed without a doubt. Otherwise the heroes are really villians themselves for letting the bad guys repeatedly murder without paying a price.

  11. #11
    Senior Member neverender's Avatar
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    I believe that classic villains should be always captured. Like others have said comics need them.

  12. #12
    Chirpy And Cheerful Claude's Avatar
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    I'm a fan of the arguement - mostly hinted at with Batman, but made explicit in the Denny O'Neil run on "The Question" - that killing a person fundamentally changes you. And most heroes - already not the most stable of individuals - don't trust themselves to cross that line without becoming worse. IIRC, someone asks the Question why he didn't kill the main villain or the first arc. "Why would I do that to myself?"

    Of course, his love interest kills the guy by stabbing a knife in his back. And the Question walks away. The Love Interest demands he give some kind of response... "I killed that man, don't you have anything to say?"
    ...
    "Rather you than me."



    But for the most part, it's just one of those genre-breaking questions You Aren't Meant To Ask, like facial recognition software and heroes leaving DNA evidence.

  13. #13
    Elder Member dupersuper's Avatar
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    Capture all the way. The only villains who escape regularly are big names like Joker, and it's not like death is much more permanent for them (though that does lessen the severity of murder in a way...).
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  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur72 View Post
    Villians cannot be killed because comics need these characters.

    If they actually existed in the real world they should be killed without a doubt. Otherwise the heroes are really villians themselves for letting the bad guys repeatedly murder without paying a price.
    That's the bummer with pulp novels. The villain almost always gets killed by the Shadow, etc. so you never develop cool arch-enemies.

  15. #15
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    Hrm, I see where you guys are coming from. I think it's just because I'm a new comic reader, that I'm not used to the subtlties of the genre yet.

    I see how its bad for business to kill off the big baddies rather then turn them into arch enemies who always seem to slip away, being a never ending thorn in the heros side.

    And I guess most of the heroes do live in a gray area, just shy of the edge, and the trauma of killing can push them mentally into villain territory.

    Still, I can't help myself, when atomic skull was beaten & on his knees and chester was gunna finish him off, I was shoutng at the tv, "kill that bastard!" Then when superman put his cape over aomic skulls headless corpse, I felt bad, like killing him was taking it too far.

    Anyways, good input you guys, thanks. You've given me much to ponder, and I'm glad most of the responses sounded logical and well thought out, its a good community here on CBR.

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