I kind of frequently argue with kingtycoon about Batman. He gets Superman-- I mean, we'll both agree that Superman is the best-- but he doesn't "get" Batman. Or at least so I maintain. Central among his critiques is that Batman should really kill the Joker. Well. He also doesn't agree that Batman undergoes obvious shamanic transformation from man to super-man when he dons the cape & cowl, which to me fundamentally shows that he doesn't grasp the real impetus behind The Bat...but then, he grew up reading comics in the 80s & 90s, which I missed out on, to my luck. Anyhow, I want to address the Joker issue. I'm going to say something that...well, it isn't in my real world ethos, probably. I'd be a lot more free with my executions. DC comics, though, has it written in the bedrock of the universe: thou shalt not kill. Least aways, not Batman or Superman. Wonder Woman may be showing the cracks in it, & Marvel may have killing as a moral choice as a strength (whereas in DC the answer to "Should Batman kill the Joker?" is always, always no). As an aside, too, I think the position that "Batman shouldn't kill the Joker, only the State has that right" is a wrong question, since I'm pretty sure that Joker would get the death penalty...anyhow! Ethics of corporal punishment & mental health aside:
The Joker should be redeemed. Okay, first off. I get that the Joker is too good a villain to ever be really "made good." & I get that the Joker, as an embodiment of reckless, random evil, is too good an archetype to just go away. I get all that, but hear me out. In a sort of "Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?" end of the line story, a redeemed Joker would be the best punctuation to the Batman's argument. I want Joker to get better. & not only that! I want to take it to the extreme. I want the Joker to get better...& then cure cancer. He's like the crazy chemistry genius, right? Instead of Smilex, I want Mister J to repent, feel remorse, & then do something that outweighs the evil he's done. I mean-- what does Batman always say? "One life. If I end his life, how many hundreds-- thousands!-- will I save?" I want the answer to that question to be that, by never caving (hahaha, Batman, "caving." Like the Batcave!), Batman saves millions-- billions!-- of lives.