Peacemaker Addresses Why Batman Doesn't Kill Debate

Peacemaker addresses one of the biggest debates in DC Comics lore in its latest episode: whether Batman is righteous or just foolish for never killing villains like The Joker! (WARNING: Mild Spoilers for Peacemaker Follow!) In Peacemaker Episode 4, "The Choad Less Traveled" Chris Smith / Peacemaker (John Cena) once again gets into a heated (and vulgar) debate with his dad's curmudgeonly old neighbor (Mel Tuck) about their favorite topic: Whether Peacemaker is a hero or a villain. This little meta riff on actual debates that happen all the time in DC fandom quickly pulls in a comparison example: The Batman! 

According to Auggie Smith's neighbor, one defining aspect of Batman is his iconic "coterie of supervillains."  The fact that Peacemaker has no such rogues gallery is clear evidence that he's not in fact a superhero.

 Well, Peacemaker definitely takes exception to that notion, explaining to the old man that he has no such lineup of villains always plaguing him, because, "My coterie of supervillains is six-feet-f***ing-under!"

However, Peacemaker's violent boast only serves to strengthen what the elderly neighbor is saying: Batman doesn't need to be a killer, to create the intimidating atmosphere of "a dark creature of the night!" 

Peacemaker isn't buying the explanation that Batman is still a badass even without killing – in fact, he has a major problem with that entire notion, outright contending that Batman is a "p***y!"

"He's a jackass! Who wrestles with murders dressed like clowns and throws them in prison! So they can break out of prison and then murder more people," Peacemaker argues. "Riddle me this: How many people you think Batman's indirectly murdered by being too much of a candy-ass not to kill these fools who clearly need to be smoked once and for all – you wrinkly, Shar Pei-looking, dementia-infested f*ck? "


The 'Should Batman Kill?' debate has grown well beyond comic book lore to become a legitimate branch of philosophical inquiry, right alongside DC-themed debates like 'Are you Batman or Superman' and 'What do Batman and Joker represent as ideological constructs?' Obviously, the Batman/Joker rivalry is the one that most often brings this debate to the forefront; Joker's sociopathic brutality and terroristic malevolence on entire populaces is probably the closest metaphor comic books (or maybe literature as a whole) has for channeling real-world debates like 'Should we have killed [INSERT EVIL HISTORICAL FIGURE] if we knew what he/she/they would do to the world?' 

Well, Peacemaker certainly has a clear view and perspective on all this philosophical thinking – it would be interesting to know just how closely (or not) those views reflect those of showrunner James Gunn...

Peacemaker streams new episodes Thursdays on HBO Max.