Though Batman can be very brutal at times, he is known for never breaking his rule against killing people. As a superhero without powers, Batman has appealed to audiences all over the globe, setting an example of everything humanity alone can accomplish if they set their mind to it. However, since Batman’s humanity is part of his appeal, he is also known for making mistakes.
While plenty of things have backfired for him, there have still been times when Batman was more so the villain of the series than not. Despite his darker nature as a character in general, Batman has come incredibly close to crossing the line over the years. To look back at some of the biggest mistakes in his career, here is our list of 10 questionable moral decisions Batman has made in the comics.
10 Killing KGBeast
One of the Dark Knight’s most questionable decisions ever come from when he attempted to kill KGBeast. Due to the incredibly brutal nature of the villain, Batman sealed him in a vault that was rapidly filling with water and then proceeded to walk away. While KGBeast was always a lower-level villain, the fact that Batman actually made an attempt on his life is incredibly shocking.
Likewise, this decision didn’t sit well with some readers, and it was soon revealed that the GCPD had rescued the villain before he actually died. Though Batman didn’t actually kill KGBeast in the end, he certainly made a very questionable moral decision in this moment.
9 Everything in All-Star Batman and Robin
Though few people are fans of the All-Star Batman and Robin series by Frank Miller, it does feature one of the most morally questionable versions of the Dark Knight ever. In this series, Batman is incredibly violent, nearly killing the criminal in almost every case.
Yet, it doesn’t stop there, as Batman also absorbed Dick Grayson into his war and forced him to eat rats as part of his training. This version of Batman also came incredibly close to abusing Alfred, and regularly slept with women without so much as a second thought. Though the series was never canon to begin with, it is easily one of the most questionable versions of Batman to date.
8 Abusing Robin
Almost every version of Robin has been physically abused by Batman at some point. Dick Grayson especially seems to constantly be taking a beating from the Dark Knight, even when he’s operating as Nightwing. While it makes sense for Jason to be hit by Batman due to his earlier Red Hood days, even Tim Drake, arguably the most-liked Robin, has taken a few hits from Batman.
At times, Batman’s violence gets so bad that he could even be viewed as the villain. Considering how devoted his followers typically are to him, Batman has easily called his moral character into question with how often he’s mistreated the Robins.
7 Bring Robin In
While abusing the Robins is certainly questionable, bringing them in in the first place is equally problematic. The comics themselves have addressed the moral gray area of letting a young boy fight such a violent war alongside Batman. Though Bruce himself justifies his actions by claiming to channel their anger into something productive, it is still a very questionable thing to do.
On almost every night, Bruce knowingly puts the life of some underage boy in the line of fire. Furthermore, Robin is known for dressing in brighter colors specifically to draw attention away from Batman. If abusing them wasn’t questionable enough, enlisting them in the first place certainly is.
6 Abuse His Fiance
During the widely hated Batman: The Widening Gyre story, Batman actually beat his fiance. After reconnecting with his old flame from the past, Silver St. Cloud, Batman eventually comes to propose to her. However, due to the characters constant suspicious nature, Batman soon comes to suspect her of being a spy or other tool to be used against him.
To check his theory, Batman straight up assaults her, doing things like pulling her hair and doubting if she was even real. Though he actually regretted his actions in the end, the fact that he did it in the first place is very morally ambiguous. However, the less said about the events of The Widening Gyre, the better.
5 Have an affair with Barbara Gordon
While Barbara Gordon is typically depicted as a romantic interest for Dick Grayson, there have been times where creators have explored a romance between her and Bruce. Typically though, things don’t go well between them, with fans typically rejecting the idea of the couple for many reasons. In one instance however, Bruce actually went so far as to get Barbara pregnant while she and Dick were separated.
Though this event was never canon, it still took place within the Batman Beyond Universe comics. Eventually though, Dick would find out about the two, further driving a wedge between them. Barbara herself would actually come to miscarry the child after thwarting a mugging. Though the entire situation is totally insane, it is still a very poor judgement call that comes to reflect on Bruce’s moral character.
4 Killing in General
For a while after making his debut, the Dark Knight was actually just as bad as the people he fought against. Though the character is now known for his strict moral code that doesn’t allow him to kill, there were plenty of moments early in his career where he had little to no regard for human life. For a time, Batman and Robin served as judge, jury and executioner, putting a permanent end to many of the criminals they encountered.
Thankfully, the character was changed to be the more morally righteous hero that people around the world have come to know and love. Unfortunately, these incredibly bad moral decisions from the early days are still part of his history, easily landing them on this list.
3 Marry Catwoman
Recently, Batman was actually engaged to Selina Kyle, better known to some as Catwoman. While most people were excited to see the Dark Knight happy for a change, Selina eventually came to call the engagement off by leaving Bruce at the altar. Though things seem to be coming around for the couple once again, choosing to marry Catwoman is a pretty odd call for someone like Batman.
As pointed out in the excellent story arc, Superfriends, Superman questions Batman’s decisions by noting that Selina is the type of person that Batman typically wars against. Though Batman agrees, he also raises several questions against Superman’s own marriage with Lois. Though it may not be the most morally just decision ever, seeing Batman happy is a welcome experience that most readers have embraced.
2 Creating Brother Eye
When Batman and Mr. Terrific first created Brother Eye, they had no way of knowing that it would become one of the deadliest machines the DC Universe has ever seen. However, the heroes’ motivations behind the creation of Brother Eye in the first place is still morally questionable.
Brother Eye was always created to be a surveillance system that would make it easier for heroes to identify and stop crime. In order to do so though, this would mean that Batman would be everywhere, likely infringing upon a lot of citizen’s privacy. Though he had the best intentions behind creating the A.I., the whole idea of Brother Eye is very morally gray to begin with.
1 Keeping Files on the Justice League
In one of the character’s more famous mistakes, the JLA: Tower of Babel story revealed that Batman was keeping files on his fellow Justice League members without their knowing. Not only was he keeping track of their daily patterns and the like, but their weaknesses as well.
Therefore, when someone managed to steal those files, Batman was effectively the one attacking the League. The results of his actions were so extreme that batman was temporarily expelled from the Justice League. Though he had his justifications for doing so, doing something like like to his closest allies is very skeptical of him.