Saturday, May 7, 2011

Batman and the Terrorists



With terrorism being atop the news again this week, I thought I'd take a look at Batman's encounter with Islamic radicals in Detective #590 (September 1988).

The story starts out in a Vietnam veterans club in Gotham City, where a couple of uninvited guests start shooting:

Batman learns from Commissioner Gordon that the killers got their guns from Abu Hassan. He tracks the gunmen to the London Embassy of the fictional country of Syraq. He fights with Hassan:

At first Batman responds with a sneer, refusing to take morality lessons from a murderer, but then he hesitates:

And that hesitation almost costs him his life, as one of Hassan's goons sneaks up behind with a garrotte. Batman foils the master plot (a project to blow up Parliament), but afterwards he muses:

There's a pretty easy response to that; our country did not bomb women and children intentionally. And the idea that women and children would be better off under the kind of radical Islamic regime that the terrorists would like to impose is unlikely at best.

But more important, it is inappropriate for Batman in particular to have this kind of morally relative reflection. He must see the world through a black and white prism, because otherwise he would become paralyzed. Can he battle crooks and hoods if he's busy wondering about how their deprived childhoods led them to a life of crime?