thehefner: (Default)
[personal profile] thehefner posting in [community profile] scans_daily
A couple months back, I got into yet another debate with someone about why I hated Batman using a gun in Final Crisis. I meant to post this at the time as a canonical response, but got distracted with IRL stuff and general geekery at my Two-Face fanblog. Besides, I figured this might be controversial, since it's a controversial real-life topic combined with a controversial comic topic, taken from a comic that was deeply controversial at the time it was released: Batman: Seduction of the Gun.

B:SotG was an anti-gun one-shot published as a benefit issue for the John Reisenbach Foundation for gun-control education activities, a fact which wasn't revealed to readers until the end. DC was flooded with angry letters from gun owners and Second Amendment advocates, many of which were published in the early Knightfall issues. Many letters were along the lines of "My heart goes out to the Reisenbach family, what a tragedy, BUT STILL GUN CONTROL IS BAD I FEEL BETRAYED FOR ACCIDENTALLY DONATING MONEY TO THIS CAUSE." I could do a whole post about that comic and the response it got.

So it might be a bit unfair to use these pages as my reasoning why Batman would never use a gun, and would always find another way to save the day because he's frickin' Batman. It's a very biased perspective. But in this case, I believe it also entirely fits with Batman as a character, and how he's always reacted to guns and gun violence.





WARNING: this is the single most graphic description of exactly how the Waynes died.





Some context: Hudson, a teenage friend of Tim's, decided to show off his father's gun to the guys. In classic After-School Special fashion, he started horsing around and it went off in the friend's living room.











I think it's the first two panels on the last page that really make this, in that it shows how much Bruce elevates Thomas Wayne in memory. Never mind that Thomas was human, and could easily have been killed another way. The point is, that's just how ingrained this ideal is into Bruce's character.

That said, I'm sure there's a point to be made about how Final Crisis was so powerful because he managed to overcome his feelings to do the right thing, yadda yadda yadda. If the story worked for you, well, there's nothing I can say. But for me--and I suspect for many Batman readers--this is why we can never imagine Bruce pulling the trigger on anybody. I could sooner see him shoving the god-bullet into Darkseid by hand. Because he's the goddamn Batman, after all.

Date: 2011-03-28 07:12 pm (UTC)
mas: Solun Eclipse (Default)
From: [personal profile] mas
Holy bleep! (Is it bad that I thought the bullets in the second page look like cupcakes?)

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Date: 2011-03-29 01:55 am (UTC)
halloweenjack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] halloweenjack
Now that you mention it, yeah, but it's a good depiction of how bullets "mushroom" on impact--it's part of how they do so much damage.

Date: 2011-03-29 02:38 am (UTC)
k_red: (Default)
From: [personal profile] k_red
Bloody hell I actually thought they WERE muffins until you pointed that out. I feel dumb.

Date: 2011-03-28 07:22 pm (UTC)
dr_archeville: Doctor Arkeville (Default)
From: [personal profile] dr_archeville
Something I don't recall ever seeing addressed: what's Bruce's take on the more sci-fi-y guns, like laser pistols, or a freeze gun? Is he less harsh on those b/c they're A) a lot harder for street punks to come by, and B) a lot harder to use (exotic ammo requirements, etc.)? If it's the extreme ease with which guns can be acquired and used that is his main issue with them, then I can kinda see him being open to using a unique (or nearly so) bullet (presumably in a unique-or-nearly-so gun) against Darkseid, as it was the only thing (I believe) that could stop him.

(Though I suppose he could try and forge that Radion bullet into a Radion Batarang....)

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Date: 2011-03-28 08:58 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
He's used Mr Freeze's ice gun a couple of times IIRC, but not against people (Though I think he did against the Predators in the Batman/Predator) rather as a fire retardant or something like that.

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From: [personal profile] omgwtflolbbqbye - Date: 2011-03-28 09:19 pm (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2011-03-28 07:37 pm (UTC)
sigmund_droid: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sigmund_droid
One thing that's always kinda bothered me, doesn't Batman use a grapple gun?

I've seen issues where he's used it as a projectile weapon, just something that's stuck out to me.

Date: 2011-03-28 07:44 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
Very different in intent and operation, the grapnel gun when fired at a person (and usually someone with much stronger constitution than a normal human, like Killer Croc) is not designed to break the skin and cause internal organ damage. It transfers a major wallop of impact, and may throw them backwards, but it won't punch a hole through them and ricochet off the ribcage etc.

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Date: 2011-03-28 07:47 pm (UTC)
shanejayell: (Question)
From: [personal profile] shanejayell
It started in Dini's animated Batman and sort of migrated into the comics.

I think that Bruce rationalizes it that the grapple LAUNCHER is not a gun. Or something like that.

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Date: 2011-03-28 07:48 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
it shows how much Bruce elevates Thomas Wayne in memory. Never mind that Thomas was human, and could easily have been killed another way

I love those two panels too, but that's not the point Bruce is trying to convey IMHO, he's saying that Joe Chill specifically would have been unable to take Thomas Wayne down without a gun. Yes he could have tried to stop the Waynes another way, but in an unarmed physical confrontation, Thomas Wayne was a larger, stronger man, who most likely could have overpowered Chill, or at least been a much, much harder to take down, and one that would have given Martha and Bruce a chance to get away.

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Date: 2011-03-28 08:21 pm (UTC)
lencannon: shy guy (Default)
From: [personal profile] lencannon
What I liked about him using a gun in Final Crisis was just that: it only happened this once.

More specifically, Batman spent his entire career not using guns. He's practically built around it. Even non-comic readers understand: Batman hates guns. What happens, then, when Batman is put in a situation where he has to use a gun?

Batman dies, of course.

It is a lot like in "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?": what happens when Superman uses his powers to kill? He no longer deserves the powers. I think it is neatly poetic.

Date: 2011-03-28 08:29 pm (UTC)
mrstatham: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mrstatham
As I state below, Batman doesn't even kill Darkseid using the gun. Superman kills Darkseid after Batman sends him into terminal Radion poisoning. It isn't like this suddenly broke Batman's biggest rule and saw him going around shooting every criminal in the face.

When it comes down to you and a gun and the god of evil, you use the gun.

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Date: 2011-03-28 08:26 pm (UTC)
mrstatham: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mrstatham
I still think Batman's use of a gun in Final Crisis was fairly justified. It's the end of the world, the entire universe is coming down, and it's you, a god of evil, and a gun and one single bullet that could solve the entire mess. Bruce even states that it's a once in a lifetime exception, and he doesn't even go for a killshot on Darkseid - something he easily could have done given the position Darkseid was in.

As it was, I'm surprised there isn't more people protesting that Darkseid was effectively sentenced to death by Batman via Radion poisoning.

Date: 2011-03-28 09:32 pm (UTC)
midnightvoyager: (Default)
From: [personal profile] midnightvoyager
It's totally fine from an in-universe standpoint.

Outside in the real world, I do not like it. It feels like "Hey, a way to make Batman use a gun." You could write in whatever other way around you wanted, really. But he wanted to make it a gun.

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Date: 2011-03-28 08:27 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] omgwtflolbbqbye
Sort of tangential, but I always though the best summary of Bruce's hatred of guns was a line in the John Woo film, Hard-Boiled, where Chow-Yun-Fat's police commander says: "You give a man one gun, he thinks he's Superman, you give him two he thinks he's god".

And yes, I know that's kind of an ironic condemnation coming from a John Woo film.

Date: 2011-03-28 09:19 pm (UTC)
proteus_lives: (Default)
From: [personal profile] proteus_lives
Batman has a psychosis about guns. Considering what happened, it's no surprise.

I'm glad they got flooded with letters, gun control is pure bullshit.

Date: 2011-03-28 09:30 pm (UTC)
valtyr: (machete)
From: [personal profile] valtyr
What a nuanced position.

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Date: 2011-03-28 11:33 pm (UTC)
sianmink: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sianmink
Good post. You're right of course. This shows as well as anything out there why Bruce stands where he does on the issue. It's consistent with his character and his background trauma. It's just shitty that it was used to trick people into donating to a specific cause.

Date: 2011-03-28 11:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] screamsheet.wordpress.com
My personal problem with Batman using a gun in Final Crisis is that I don't think it happened organically. I think Morrison forced the parallel because he wanted Batman to "begin" with a gun and "end" with a gun. Morrison is a very good writer, but there are times where I think he falls in love with his own cleverness a bit, and Final Crisis is one of those times.

Date: 2011-03-28 11:53 pm (UTC)
jeyl: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jeyl
""He never would have been able to kill my father without a gun."

Father this, father that. I'm starting to doubt you ever had a mother Bruce.

Date: 2011-03-29 12:16 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] sleepymax
Not that it's right(or wrong) but some children just admire or look at one parent in a certain light.

I do think that there isn't enough about Martha, though. There's some good stuff but not nearly as much as Thomas gets.

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Date: 2011-03-29 12:39 am (UTC)
sadoeuphemist: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sadoeuphemist
Well, this reason for Batman disliking guns (as opposed to literally any other method of killing a person) is ultimately arbitrary. If Joe Chill had stabbed them, or beaten them to death, or blown them up, or whatever, he would have a completely different standard. Plus, it's also inconsistent, since Batman is good pals with Commissioner Gordon and the police in general, without having to occasionally repress his revulsion at the guns they carry.

Also I think the Final Crisis scene worked because it precisely wasn't a big deal to Batman, he never angsts over it or regrets it or anything. He is pretty playful about the whole thing, mostly because he has just come off of having a dozen needles jammed into his brain and he is trippin' balls like whoa.

Date: 2011-03-29 01:10 am (UTC)
lencannon: shy guy (Default)
From: [personal profile] lencannon
Nerds with guns
Nerds with guns
Taking over
But it won't be long
They're mesmerized, skeletons
Nerds with guns
Nerds with guns

Date: 2011-03-29 03:35 am (UTC)
feyandstrange: cartoon icon in powerchair (wheelchair)
From: [personal profile] feyandstrange
I always liked this version, for at least these two reasons:

a) No stupid fucking broken string of pearls. (PEARLS DO NOT COME OFF A STRING THEY ARE KNOTTED BETWEEN ARRRGH I AM PEDANTIC)

b) Bruce is so coldly, perfectly analytical about what happened, like a forensics report, like the goddamn Batman should be, noticing every detail and knowing everything about what they mean. But at the same time, the art tells you that while the Batman is cold and analytical, Bruce is crying inside - and that beautiful last line of "he could *never* have killed my father without a gun" just encapsulates the tragedy of a five-year-old boy who has lost his parents, and the man who will never forget.

Thanks for reposting it. Does anybody know if this ever got collected?

Date: 2011-03-29 05:17 am (UTC)
aaron_bourque: default (Default)
From: [personal profile] aaron_bourque
Do gods even have those internal organs?

Date: 2011-03-29 02:10 pm (UTC)
sadoeuphemist: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sadoeuphemist
Well at this point in time Darkseid was incarnating through Dan Turpin, so I presume he had all of Turpin's organs, yeah.

Date: 2011-03-29 06:32 am (UTC)
equinox216: (Default)
From: [personal profile] equinox216
Page two, can't help but be really amused by the stole's "WHEEEEE!" arms.

Date: 2011-03-29 11:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] screamsheet.wordpress.com
Plot-wise, Morrison had it planned out. Character-wise, I think the situation was forced because Morrison REALLY wanted to force Batman into using a gun. The story to me smacks of a writer forcing a plot because he wanted a single image.

Date: 2011-03-29 02:12 pm (UTC)
sadoeuphemist: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sadoeuphemist
How can you say he had it all planned out plot-wise, and then say he forced the plot, c'mon dude.

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Date: 2011-03-30 02:32 am (UTC)
superfangirl1: (Default)
From: [personal profile] superfangirl1
Going with the origins of bruce parents death. Do the police ever catch the guy or batman himself take over the case or is it a unsolved murder case?

Date: 2011-03-30 07:01 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] omgwtflolbbqbye
Depends.

In the pre-crisis version of events, Batman eventually tracks down Chill and confronts him. Then Chill runs to his gangester friends for help, but when he reveals that he was responsible for creating Batman they kill him out of spite.

Post-Crisis on Infinte Earths, Batman met Chill and grudgingly worked with him to catch a murderer named the Reaper (who was the basis for The Phantasm). When Bats was in the middle of confronting Chill about the Wayne murders, the Reaper killed Chill.

Then after-Zero Hour it was retconned so that it was an unsolved murder and Chill was never caught.

Then after Infinite Crisis they retconned it so that Chill was arrested the same night he killed the Waynes, ala Batman Begins.

Then, when Morrison took over, he showed that Chill was still an active criminal into Batman's adult years. Batman tracked him down and waged a campaign of mind-fuckery that compelled Joe to kill himself. I don't know if it's suppose to be another retcon or continuation of his post-Infinite Crisis revision though.

The best variation of the Joe Chill story I ever read though was the DCAU, version by Ty Templeton which had Batman and Joe Chill meeting but not realizing who each other was.

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