From the first time I read The Dark Knight Returns this line always stuck with me, and my affinity for it has only grown as time passes. The modern incarnation of Batman hates guns, because it was the tool of the man who robbed him of his parents. As this internal monologue occurs in Dark Knight Returns, Batman is moving through the bodies of the Joker’s latest murdered victims, having decided he will now kill the man. Bullet riddled corpses surround Batman. The character’s ire through each line is clear as he comes upon the Joker. And as he takes the Joker’s head preparing to snap his neck and execute the man, he cannot. It is a powerful scene in which a man finds the line he cannot cross.
This isn’t the only moment in the arc that Batman clearly articulates his distain for firearms. He calls guns the weapon of the enemy. He does not need to use them, because his tools are precise. Miller was not alone in the 80’s articulating Bruce’s hatred of firearms. In Len Wein’s Untold Legend of Batman Arc, there are multiple scenes where thugs pulling guns visibly enrages Batman. While this may have not been an original element to the character, and only added to appease concerned parents, it is a defining trait that adds depth to the iconic character.
M.R. Gott is a small press author the nerd horror Hybrid Rising Dead, for a free sample click here.