Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice is now in theaters. In the film, we find Batman behaving more or less like The Punisher, being incredibly violent and highly deadly to the point where he’s seen using firearms in his war against crime. Indeed, what Batman displays in the film is highly against The Dark Knight’s usual no-kill, no-using firearms policy he strictly follows and expects his allies to do the same. This is a hallmark trait that Daredevil, himself vowed to follow, resorting only to bend the rule when he has no choice. Punisher would love to team up with this version of Batman who has no problems killing any criminal threatening Gotham City. Even so, Batman wish that he didn’t have to use guns or take a life of a human being. But sometimes he acknowledges that this is absolutely necessary to make sure that nothing like the criminal shall ever walk the streets again.
Batman took this approach in the very early days of the Batman comics when Batman resorts to killing criminals with either firearms or swords. In the first ever Batman story (Detective Comics #27, 1937), Batman punches a crook into a large vat of acid.
Apparently this story is similar to the origin of The Joker where The Joker (as The Red Hood), to escape Batman, forced himself into a large vat of radioactive waste that transformed him into The Clown Price of Crime.
Later in Detective Comics vol. 1 #32 (1939), Batman had to kill a mad scientist, who was also a half Vampire known as The Mad Monk, to free a young girl from an evil spell.
In another early Batman story (Batman No. 1, 1940), Batman kills two criminal henchmen inside of a truck, causing it to crash into a tree and released a monstrous human who was a victim of an evil scientist who injected in him a toxic serum similar to the Titan formula The Joker created to build an army of monsters out of Arkham’s mental patients.
Batman used a steel rope to strangle him to death and left him hanging from the Bat Jet for a short while before disposing him on a different spot. But then came the establishment of the Comics Code of Honor which banned such scenes from the comics for many decades. When the code was removed, Batman went back to killing villains, but only when he is forced to, like when he had to kill Darkseid to save the universe in 2008’s “Final Crisis.”
And finally, Tim Burton’s 1989 film shows Batman forcing The Joker to fall to his death from the top of the Gotham Cathedral right after he grapples his leg to a statue.
In spite of the no-kill, no-firearms rule, Batman in many different versions and stories did resort to killing and using firearms but only when he has no choice. The Punisher-like Batman in the BvS film uses weaponry and makes kills without a problem. Anything to defend Gotham City from crime. Anything to take down the Man of Steel.