Even Batman Doesn't Totally Agree With His Own 'No Killing' Rule

Warning! Spoilers ahead for Batman #124

In the DC Universe, Batman is famous for his strict no killing rule. But as it turns out, this rule is largely subjective depending on the situation and the characters involved.

Batman has run into trouble lately after he lost a lot of his finances in Joker War. Because of this, Lex Luthor attempted to step up and fill the void in Batman's global network of heroes known as Batman Inc. One such attempt took place when Lex tried to create a different kind of dark hero called Abyss. Teaming with a local detective named Cayha in Badhnisia, Batman was able to track down Abyss and expose Luthor's connection to this mysterious foe.

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In Batman #124 by Joshua Williamson, Howard Porter, and Jorge Fornes, Batman returns to Badhnisia when it seems Abyss has come back. As it turns out, it is really Detective Cayha in disguise. Her goal is to use an Abyss costume as a cover to find out what happened to her missing parents. When she eventually tracks down the man responsible, Cayha is getting ready to kill him while Batman stands by and watches. Even though the detective asks if Batman is going to intervene, he still just stands there, allowing Cayha the chance to decide for herself if the man should live or die.

Batman later justifies this by saying that that if he had stopped her then it wouldn't be the last time she would try to take a life. He was trying to teach her a lesson, but it completely contradicts what Batman has done in previous situations. In the recently concluded Shadow War, Geo Force wants to kill Talia al Ghul for what her family has done to his country. He wants Batman to stand aside and let him kill her, but Batman refuses. He says that killing her would be vengeance and not justice.

This flip-flopping on his own killing rule shows just how subjective it really is. Batman obviously has a complicated relationship with murder, and it shows he is not a moral absolutist. Batman weighs many different factors in every situation in order to decide if it makes sense to intervene and prevent someone from killing or to stand back and allow that individual to come to their own decision about taking a life. Obviously, Batman is against taking a life with his own hands. But when it comes to others, Batman's famous no killing rule has a lot of leeway.

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