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Times Batman has killed someone

Batman is famous for being the world's greatest detective and an incredible martial artist—and for his one rule: he doesn't kill. That rule has turned out to be fairly flexible over the years, however. Here's a small sampling of people the Batman has killed, all in the name of justice or to protect the innocent, proving he really is a Dark Knight. Just be warned there might be SPOILERS AHEAD for storylines you haven't read.

Thomas Wayne is a darker knight

In the Flashpoint Paradox storyline, the Flash is sent into an alternate reality where the forces of Atlantis and Themyscira are at war. Oh, and in this timeline, it turns out Thomas and Martha Wayne were never gunned down—instead, little Bruce was. Funny enough, it's Thomas Wayne who becomes the Batman, albeit a more brutal version that uses guns and doesn't blink twice when it comes to killing people. In fact, he ends up running the antagonist of the story arc, the Reverse Flash, with a sword, giving Barry Allen access to enough of the Speed Force to return to his reality. Just look at that bloodlust in his glowing red eyes.

Batman crushes a drug dealer with cars in a junkyard

In Batman #425, Batman demonstrated his unparalleled ability to use whatever's available in his environment to great effect. In this particular issue, he fought a drug dealer in a junkyard, causing an avalanche of cars to come crashing down on his head. We're not experts at comic book art, but we're willing to bet that all those streaks of red in the second panel signify a permanent retirement for the bad guy.

Batman leaves Ra's al Ghul to die on a train

In Batman Begins, the Dark Knight faces off against Ra's al Ghul, a shadowy enemy who's pretty much a master ninja. In this movie, Batman really tries to adhere to his no-killing rule—but Ra's believes he should be able to do what is necessary, even if it means taking a life. In their climactic showdown on a runaway train, Batman incapacitates Ra's and tells him that he doesn't have to kill him, but he doesn't have to save him either. He glides out the back of the train and leaves Ra's to finish his one-way ride alone.

Batman drops a henchman to his explosive death

In the Tim Burton-directed Batman Returns, Michael Keaton plays a version of the Dark Knight with no qualms about destroying bad guys in any way possible. He illustrates this in spectacular fashion when he comes across a very large henchman who seems unfazed by his punches. Ever the crafty hero, Batman sets off a time bomb in the henchman's pants right before punching him into a sewer. The best part of this horrific incident is the big smile on Batman's face as he watches the henchman realize he's about to die. Kind of sadistic, but we'll accept it.

Batman knocks a dude into a vat of acid

In Detective Comics #27, Batman punched a dude and sent him falling into a vat of acid. And now that we think about it, vats of acid or chemicals are the undoing of many villains in Gotham. Why so many vats? Anyway, Batman allows a guy to dissolve, and the only thing he offers in response is, "A fitting ending for his kind." What about due process, Batman? What about bringing him to justice? Oh well. We suppose acidic death is the clear alternative.

Batman snaps a dude's neck with a kick

Batman shows off his ninja skills in Detective Comics #30 by slipping out of a bad guy's line of sight and avoiding his gunfire. Because the villain in question wasn't blessed with an abundance of smarts, he takes a look outside the window just in time for Batman to swing in from the side and make the baddie eat his boot. Not only does he kick the dude in the neck, he actually ends up snapping it, leaving half of his body hanging out of a window as a grim reminder for Gotham's other criminals. Hardcore.

Batman uses a dude as a meat shield

This last one might be worst, depending on whether you count Batman as the actual killer. In Detective Comics #572, he tussles with some bad guys, all armed with guns. After giving a criminal a brutal kick and three sickening punches to the face, the Dark Knight hears one of his cohorts getting ready to fire a gun—and then whips the beaten dude around to use him as a bullet sponge. Batman turned a bad guy into a human meat shield, but we guess you could argue the other criminal was to blame. (Even though it was totally Batman.)