Should Superheroes Kill the Bad Guys?

You should read this: For about a year, I’ve reasoned that I don’t need to write about the Flash because that post says pretty much everything I would say. I changed my mind while watching the most recent episode.
Barry “the Flash” Allen took on an army of psychic gorillas from another universe. This was part of the larger conflict against the incarnation of a Hindu god.
Yeah. Isaac has his “oddball anime.” I have this. And I love it.
In the midst of the struggle, Barry wrestled with the idea of killing the lead gorilla to prevent worse things in the future. His girlfriend thought doing that would mean “losing what makes the Flash the Flash.”
She has a point. Barry’s shtick has always been bringing hope to people without going as dark as the Green Arrow. He’s never needed to kill his bad guys. Sometimes they die by someone else’s hand; sometimes their ancestor kills himself to erase them from existence; sometimes they get dragged into oblivion by Harry Potter Dementors. Barry can’t always count on something convenient like that, so he eventually had to deal with the classic superhero question: is it okay to kill the bad guys?
From a nerd perspective, sometimes it seems ludicrous that heroes spare their bad guys so many times. But the Christian part of me wants to admire the strength of their morals. It’s kind of the opposite of what we usually say on this blog.
Then again, the rule is “no murder,” as in, no killing without really good reason. In times of war, God tells lots of people to kill lots of people. Some heroes, especially the Punisher, consider themselves at war with criminals, and thus consider their killing justified.

It’s hard for superheroes to be our role models if they can count on their superpowers to get them out of everything. The Green Arrow doesn’t have superpowers; all he has is a skillset that makes him really good at killing people when he wants to. Many times he’s found a way to win without going that dark. But sometimes he seems to have no choice. From one perspective, it’s nice to know he’s only human. It makes the times when he strives to be better more inspiring. The next time Flash faces that dilemma, it might be good to humanize him by watching him kill someone.

What do you think? Let’s Connect!


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