Batman prowls the streets of Gotham City always on the lookout for bad guys that are doing wrong. The caped crusader protects the city from these evil doers at any cost necessary, even if it means committing murder. While that may come as a shock to some of you, Batman has done so countless times since the first comics were introduced back in the 1930s.
As you're going to read below, on many of these occasions killing the person wasn’t even necessary. He could have taken other measures to end an event, but what fun would that be, right? Some of the actions that he has carried out over the years make you wonder why he is considered to be a “good guy.”
One time he hung a guy from the bottom of his Batplane, another time he killed two people while they were sleeping and in a twisted scenario he actually had sex right next to a pile of burning bodies as they died. Yes, you read that right. Oh, by the way, he was the one who lit the bodies on fire. I guess that's one way to get things heated up.
In a 1940 comic book issue Batman says “Much as I hate to take a human life, I’m afraid THIS TIME it’s necessary!” But if you do a little research, it seems in the mind of Batman, EVERY TIME it’s necessary.
Here are 15 times that Batman killed someone (but as you'll also learn, that doesn't mean he's only killed 15 people!).
15 He Hung A Mental Patient
It didn’t take long for Batman to start killing people. As a matter of fact, in the very first issue of his solo story, Batman #1, 1940, he hung a mental patient with a noose from the bottom of his Batplane.
An evil scientist concocted a toxic serum and used it to change a bunch of mental patients into out of control, buff, evil doers. The scientist wants to rob a bank in town so he sent a few of his henchmen into town in a truck to let one of his new found muscle-crazies do the job. It was a good plan in theory, but he didn’t count on the fact that Batman had just put a sparkling new machine gun on the Batplane.
The caped crusader used that new machine gun to cut down the truck and it crashed into a tree killing the driver for death number one. When the monster fell out of the back of the truck Batman dropped a steel noose from the bottom of the Batplane to snatch him up before he got away. As the plane climbed back into the sky the monster struggled to get free, but he was strangled to death for the second murder of the night.
14 He Crushed People In Junk Yards
One of Batman’s favorite places to do battle is in the junkyard. Apparently, this is because he likes to use the scrap pieces of cars to his advantage. He has killed at least three people in this scenario over the years.
It took him a while to come up with this new killing plan but he finally put it into motion in Batman #425, 1988. It all started when Robin took a page out of his boss’s handbook and dropped the brother of a drug dealer off of a rooftop, on purpose. The funniest part of the story is that Batman gave Robin a lecture about saving lives and not taking them.
After tearing Robin a new one, Batman finds himself trying to avoid the wrath of the very angry drug dealer. The two eventually find themselves in a junkyard and during the battle Batman makes a high pile of broken down cars fall on top of the drug dealer, killing him instantly. So much for saving lives!
Batman could say that it was an accidental killing and people might want to side with him if it weren’t for the fact that it happened two other times later on.
In Detective Comics #613, in yet another junkyard battle, Batman pushed two opponents into a garbage grinder killing both of them. So you can consider the junkyard Batman’s home field advantage.
13 Batman Kills Many Asian People
When Batman first started gathering a following through his comic books World War II was still relevant in real life. Real life crossed over into the comic books every once in a while when Captain America or Superman would face off against an Asian foe. But Batman faced off against them a lot more than every once in a while.
In Detective Comics #39, 1940, Batman pushed a giant concrete statue on top of a crowd of Asian people, crushing them. This came shortly after an issue that saw him doing battle with a Chinese swordsman and his partner. To end that battle he pushed his opponent onto his partner’s sword, effectively killing him. This was only the first of several times that Batman performed this move over the years.
In Batman #15, 1943, Japan invaded Gotham City. Batman got his hands on a rifle but he couldn’t fire the weapon because of his stance on firearms. Which is kind of silly because he could kill people in any other way possible so what’s the difference really? Anyway, he took the rifle and threw it into the wheels of the armored vehicle causing it to crash and killing all of the Japanese on board.
12 Batman Kills With A Sword
Batman and the death by sword trick struck again in Detective Comics #37, 1940, when a foe tossed a deadly sword at the caped crusader. His mistake was missing the mark and making Batman really angry. The door was open and Batman was hiding behind it, causing the weapon to become lodged in the wood and be protruding out the other side. Now that his opponent was unarmed Batman could have simply taken him into custody and ended things peacefully. But he didn’t.
As the older man pleaded for his life Batman calmly walked over to him and positioned himself in front of his older foe, so that the old man was now in between the sword sticking out of the door and Batman. Despite the fact that there was really no need for it, Batman punched the man in the face so hard that he flew backward into the exposed sword. It struck him right in the middle of his neck, killing him instantly.
Talk about being out of line, as well as being a clear case of murder. Maybe he was sending a message to future foes. The message was “If you are going to throw a deadly sword at me, you better not miss bitches!”
11 Batman Locks Someone Away To Starve To Death
In Batman #420, 1988, the blue masked superhero finally gets the better of the KGBeast. In the three issues previous to this one, Batman had his ass handed to him by the man sent to the United States by Russia. KGBeast’s goal was to destroy President Ronald Reagan and anyone that had anything to do with the Star Wars program.
In #420, the two battled ferociously throughout the city and eventually end up underground in the sewer system. They finally end up at a dead end of a tunnel and a conveniently located room with a steel door. The room was filled with steel pipes and KGBeast offered Batman a challenge. Each one used a pipe as a weapon and they would fight to the death. Batman had a better plan though.
Batman told him that fighting him in that manner would accomplish nothing at all and then he calmly turned his back and walked through the doorway, closing the steel door behind him. This left KGBeast locked in a room underneath the city without food or water and possibly a limited amount of air.
When Batman reached the street level he ran into a CIA agent that had previously said that if KGBeast were taken alive that he would be returned to Russia. The agent inquired on the whereabouts of the bad guy and Batman simply responded “You needn’t worry about him anymore.”
In later issues, it’s suggested that the police went and saved the villain from death, but by the end this issue it’s very clear that Batman left him to die.
10 He Let Villains Burn To Death While 'Getting Some'
Here is proof that even Batman can’t resist the temptation of a beautiful woman. Sometimes men don’t always make the best decisions when a lady is involved and Batman showed here that he is no different.
In All-Star Batman and Robin #7, 2007, Batman comes across a bunch of thieves doing the unthinkable…stealing a shipment of bleach. Yes, apparently Gotham City must have been running low and the black market value must have been very high. Why else would they steal bleach? And why else would Batman care that they were stealing it?
Instead of beating them up and bringing them to the police Batman decides to grab a bottle of flammable bleach. He then reaches onto his utility belt for some readily available thermite and combines the two together. Which leads you to the question of what DOESN’T Batman have on that utility belt? Anyway, he takes the flaming bottle of bleach and throws it at the bad guys. While they are all on fire Batman decides that it’s better to continue to beat them up rather than let them burn, or you know, do the rational thing and put the fire out and take them into custody.
While the beating is taking place, the Black Canary comes upon them and makes a comment on how hot she is (pun intended) from watching Batman in action. So, naturally, Batman stops beating up the bad guys and just lets them burn as he makes love to the Black Canary right there on the street. Talk about a hot and steamy encounter!
9 Batman Tossed A Man From A Bell Tower
In the 1989 movie Batman, the superhero is once again doing battle with his arch-nemesis The Joker. During one of the battle scenes, the caped crusader commits another murder when he tossed one of The Joker’s henchmen from the top of the bell tower.
The height at which the fight was taking place can suggest nothing other than death for the man that was tossed over the edge. No human being could survive a fall of that distance and it’s all but implied that he was dead, and it’s not like it was an accident.
Batman grabbed the man by the neck and intentionally threw him down the tower. In the eyes of the law, that is flat out murder. He might get away with involuntary manslaughter if he pleaded his case with a good attorney, saying that he just tossed him out of the way, and did not mean for him to fall to his death. Or maybe Gotham City has different laws when it comes to committing murder. Or maybe, just maybe, Batman has an “in” with the Mayor and Commissioner so they just turn a blind eye to what he does. Either way though, murder is murder. Something tells me Batman isn't going to get away by saying it was self-defense.
8 He Knocked Someone Into A Barrel Of Acid
There was one comic book issue that saw Batman fighting with a middle-aged bald guy in a warehouse setting. The end of the fight took place on a high platform and Batman punched the man right in the face. The momentum from the blow sent the man reeling backwards, causing him to break right through a steel guardrail. He then continued to fall to his death into a large barrel of acid.
An employee of the warehouse is shocked as he watches the man fall to his death and tells Batman “He’s falling right into the acid tank!” But Batman looked unconcerned to say the least and made no attempt to save the man. In fact, his response to the worker was “A fitting end for his kind.”
When the man turned around to thank Batman for his help in the matter he noticed that the superhero was gone. He had flown right up through a conveniently located hole in the roof and was off into the night.
It was really no different than any other murderer would act. After committing the crime not many stick around for the cops to show up and figure out who did it. But in Gotham City they would have realized that Batman did it and just carried on with business as usual, letting him get away with yet another murder.
7 There Was A Gun On His Utility Belt
When Batman first started coming around he was a much different person than he is now. While he believes now in dealing out non-lethal justice, that wasn’t always the case. As demonstrated by Detective Comics Volume 1, as well as countless other issues, Batman was a pure unadulterated killing machine.
One of the main weapons on his utility belt was a gun back then and he wasn’t afraid to use it at any point in time. When he took to the streets to defend Gotham City from all sorts of criminals, he could have just taken the bad guys off the street and put an end to their criminal ways. But instead, most of the time, he chose to put an end to their lives. Which I suppose is another way of putting an end to their criminal ways. The funny part is that nobody seemed to care how he got it done, as long as it got done.
He wasn’t as bad as some of his foes like The Joker or the Punisher as far as taking human lives, but back in the 30’s and 40’s, it was more like his job was killing the bad guys rather than protecting the city.
6 He Shot Darkseid
In Final Crisis #6, 2009, Batman broke the long-time rule that he had been living by and killed someone. He eventually had stopped shooting people because all he saw in firearms was what had killed his parents. You could make the argument that Bruce thought he never would pick up a gun again, but then he came across Darkseid.
Darkseid used the power of Anti-Life to take over the earth, and obviously, Batman had an issue with this so he flew into action. But as you can imagine, this is no easy battle. Darkseid had designed a bullet that he would use to kill other Gods and Batman determined that this was the only way to stop him, so Batman used the bullet against his foe and fired one shot into Darkseid’s stomach.
As he was taking his last breaths, Darkseid targeted Batman with the force of his Omega Sanction. This had a devastating effect as Batman was left as just a smoking pile of skeleton...Or was he? Darkseid’s soul was claimed by The Black Racer, making this another instance when Batman murdered someone. But what happened to him? You’ll have to read the issue and find out!
5 Batman Killed Two As They Slept
As we have stated already, in the early days Batman had no problem killing people at all. As a matter of fact, he seemed to like it. Why else would he do it so many times? There were many cases of flat out murder that he committed, but in Detective Comics Volume 1 #32, 1939, he probably carried out one of his worst acts ever.
The Mad Monk was one of the first foes that Batman went up against. He had an assistant named Dala and together they formed a very powerful team, one that Batman had a lot of trouble with. Mad Monk was a sorcerer and he had vampire and hypnotic strengths to use against opponents, not to mention full bore lycanthropy.
Batman came to the realization that he was far outmatched here and he needed the element of surprise to be successful in stopping their reign of terror. What better way to surprise someone than when they are sleeping? He snuck into their house while the Monk and Dala were sleeping and shot them both to death. He used silver bullets that were made from candlesticks that he had taken from their own house.
Over the year’s Batman has done some pretty horrific stuff to people but this one was probably the most brutal that he ever did.
4 The Killing Joke, Ends With The Killing of Joker?
In the book The Killing Joke that came out in 1988, Batman kills The Joker. Of all of the murders that have been carried out by Batman over the years, it seems that he kills The Joker the most. Yet somehow, The Joker always returns at a later date. The act is usually justified as not a killing later on, but at the time of the action, it’s typically clear what is to come across to the reader or viewer.
To set the scene for TKJ, The Joker had taken Commissioner Gordon and his daughter Barbara hostage. Barbara, better known to some as Batgirl, is then tortured by the long time villain. She even ends up being shot by him and paralyzed, thus ending her crime fighting days. Eventually, Batman found them and when he rescued the Commissioner he was given instructions to deal with The Joker by means that fell within the law.
When Batman found him, he offered The Joker help to deal with his never ending insanity but the offer is turned down. At the end of the book, Batman has a grasp on the bad guy and they are both laughing at each other. Then the laughing stops, leaving the viewer to wonder if The Joker just got his neck snapped. There was an animated film adaptation of the story which was released earlier this month.
3 The Joker is Killed In The Movies
As noted before Batman has been killing people for more than 70 years now. His favorite target seems to be The Joker. Time and time again the painted face villain has been killed by the caped crusader only to come back to life at a later date. If a cat has nine lives, The Joker must have eighteen of them. He has been killed off in comic books, regular books and movies over and over again.
There is no denying the fact that The Joker is a great piece of any Batman story and he is easily his most consistent enemy. But maybe the writers should find other ways to end the story because the deaths just aren’t believable after a certain point.
In the 1989 movie Batman, he had already committed murder by throwing a few of The Joker’s men off of the bell tower that we talked about previously. But to end this story he told his longtime nemesis flat out “I’m going to kill you” and then proceeded to do just that. He then tied The Joker’s leg to a statue and the bad guy was then pulled out of a helicopter, plunging to the ground to his death. By stating his intentions before doing it, this time it cannot be denied that Batman has committed first-degree murder. But don’t worry, it’s obvious that this is not the last that we will see of The Joker.
2 Batman Kills Two of Penguin's Posse
Batman’s murdering ways continued in Batman Returns when The Penguin comes to town to do battle with him. Maybe it should have been called Batman Returns to the Scene of the Crime. In the movie, there are a pair of obvious killings that are carried out by Batman, and neither could have been a very pleasant death.
The first murder occurs when Batman is in the Batmobile. He purposely turned his jet engine propelled vehicle around so that the back of it was facing one of The Penguin’s guys. As the circus freak looking gentleman is standing there Batman revs up his engine and the flame that shot out of the jet engine caught the bad guy on fire, burning him to death.
Later in the movie when Batman confronts another circus freak, a Strong Man. Instead of trying to find out which man is stronger, Batman simply dropped a bomb down the man’s pants. He then gave the man a swift kick knocking the doomed bad guy into a hole. The bomb then exploded, obviously killing the man.
You might think that Batman may feel bad about having to needlessly kill people in order to get to his main enemy. But the smile on his face when that bomb went off will prove otherwise.
1 Batman Uses Cars To Kill
We have gone over several people that Batman has killed (or murdered) over the years and now we will look at one of his favorite weapons to use to snuff out those lives. Vehicles are definitely near the top of the list of his favorite weapons. We have already talked about the many times that he has used a pile of cars to crush an opponent, but he has nothing against working cars either.
Many times he has knocked a man out while he was driving and let the crash kill him instead of Batman actually doing the deed himself. In Detective Comics #47, 1941, he knocked out a driver and jumped from the car just before it crashed, killing the driver. It also happened previously in Detective Comics #34, 1939, when the man driving a car was knocked out by the superhero and his car drove off a cliff. Just before the car went over the cliff Batman jumped from the car onto his rope ladder that just happened to be floating above the car. It was another case of a murder committed by Batman with a quick getaway afterward. Not that one was needed, because like in most of these cases, nobody seemed to care.