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.
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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?)

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....)

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.

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.

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.

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 08:23 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] omgwtflolbbqbye
Might be sort of related, but in Doug Moench's novel "The Forensic Files of Batman", which essentially a series of excerpts of Bruce's journals, there is a chapter where Bruce talks about guns in a similar fashion to these scans.

But one of the things he also mentions is that he hates guns cause unlike other machines or tool, they have no function other than to kill. Whereas a grapnel gun, obviously is a tool that isn't designed to inflict harm as it's primary function.

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 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 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.

Date: 2011-03-28 08:31 pm (UTC)
sigmund_droid: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sigmund_droid
It's not an I understand that, it's just on a visceral level it's weird seeing Bats fire the grap gun like well...a gun.

Actually my least favorite scene from Dark Knight Returns is when he uses the machine gun. That just....looked wrong.

Date: 2011-03-28 08:55 pm (UTC)
valtyr: (Awesome)
From: [personal profile] valtyr
"We call it the hot glue applicator, Dick! Now pass me the staple... injector."

Date: 2011-03-28 08:57 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] omgwtflolbbqbye
Also the grapnel in the DCAU has a very non-gun like appearance.

In B:TAS it looked like a T, and in the redesign for TNBA/JLA/JLU it looked like a taser.

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.

Date: 2011-03-28 08:59 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: (TheBlackCat Happy Terry)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk

Date: 2011-03-28 09:03 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] omgwtflolbbqbye
Oh, yea I know what you mean. The sticky bomb launcher that looked like a sniper rifle in TDK wierded me out a bit too.

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 09:19 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] omgwtflolbbqbye
I think in Batman Beyond Bruce used it as a weapon against Inque also.

Date: 2011-03-28 09:27 pm (UTC)
filkertom: (Default)
From: [personal profile] filkertom
Exactly. Like so many bullshit Epic Event Thingies before and after, it was a stupid contrivance.

It's one of the only things that truly pisses me off about the various Batman movies: My Batman doesn't kill, dammit. He keeps people from getting killed.
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