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  1. #16
    Veteran Member CSTowle's Avatar
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    Does it make it somehow more morally acceptable if a guy uses supernatural powers granted by a magical being to kill (and in his case, send him to eternal torment) than it is if a guy uses firearms? Again to me it seems less morally acceptable with the added hell aspect, but the specific act of vengeance killing seems to be on equal moral footing.
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  2. #17
    Nostalgia Fanwanker Pharozonk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CSTowle View Post
    Does it make it somehow more morally acceptable if a guy uses supernatural powers granted by a magical being to kill (and in his case, send him to eternal torment) than it is if a guy uses firearms? Again to me it seems less morally acceptable with the added hell aspect, but the specific act of vengeance killing seems to be on equal moral footing.
    Isn't that basically what the Christian concept of heaven vs hell is? The Spectre simply serves as the cab driver to get you to your destination.
    "In any time, there will always be a need for heroes." - the Time Trapper, Legion of Superheroes #61(1994)

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  3. #18
    Veteran Member CSTowle's Avatar
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    As inherently evil as I find the concept of a realm of eternal torment to be (far more evil than murder, even on the level of genocide) the part of the concept that's supposed to justify and redeem this horror is the concept of redemption. Killing someone before they've had a natural lifetime to seek that redemption would seem to be more evil to me than what the Punisher does (though as you say, he's just the tool working for the greater evil).
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  4. #19
    Nostalgia Fanwanker Pharozonk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CSTowle View Post
    As inherently evil as I find the concept of a realm of eternal torment to be (far more evil than murder, even on the level of genocide) the part of the concept that's supposed to justify and redeem this horror is the concept of redemption. Killing someone before they've had a natural lifetime to seek that redemption would seem to be more evil to me than what the Punisher does (though as you say, he's just the tool working for the greater evil).
    Most of the people that the Spectre passes judgement on are murderers and thieves who we know aren't going to ever change their ways.
    "In any time, there will always be a need for heroes." - the Time Trapper, Legion of Superheroes #61(1994)

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  5. #20
    Veteran Member CSTowle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pharozonk View Post
    Most of the people that the Spectre passes judgement on are murderers and thieves who we know aren't going to ever change their ways.
    Well I became an atheist a long time ago, but if memory serves there was a guy named Jesus and he said some things about all men (though I assume he meant everyone) being capable of "redemption" and being accepted into the non-eternal-torment place. Regardless of past crimes. That, and none of us know if anyone will be able to change their ways. One way or the other (again, that Jesus guy seemed pretty optimistic).

    And since when are we killing thieves?
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  6. #21
    Veteran Member CSTowle's Avatar
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    That's why I prefer my vigilantes to be insane mass-murder types to religious folk. Usually a lower body count, I can understand their motivations (if not agree with them), and most people wouldn't try to justify it beyond an emotional level.
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  7. #22
    Old school comic book fan WestPhillyPunisher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ed2962 View Post
    I'm aware of an old Spiderman story where Punisher goes insane and starts shooting people over minor infractions. But I think it was rectonned in the first Punisher mini as being an imitator.
    Actually, if memory serves, Frank had been surreptitiously given some sort of drug by Jigsaw that warped his value system, causing him to shoot people over minor stuff. Once Frank had been imprisoned and the drug wore off, he returned to killing only bad guys after he'd been freed from prison in the Steven Grant/Mike Zeck miniseries.

    As for Dexter Morgan, I read the first novel, and he was psychologically damaged from childhood while Frank went over the edge after his wife and children had been killed. Speaking of other literary anti-heroes, what about Mack Bolan (whom the Punisher was directly patterned after) who declared war on the Mafia after his family had been killed but now kills terrorists, or James Bond whom, as a spy is as amoral and indifferent about killing enemy spies as they come? I guess it can be said that anti-heroes are all over the place.
    Last edited by WestPhillyPunisher; 08-02-2014 at 02:55 PM.
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  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pharozonk View Post
    The Punisher killing people doesn't make sense because he's just an average human being killing other people. He's just a petty murderer who justifies his killings as vengeance for his family.
    That's another thing that's often brought up, how the likes of the Punisher don't care about making the world a better place, that they kill scum purely for selfish reasons. Quite frankly, I don't see why it matters, when in the end, it's still scum he primarily goes after.

  9. #24
    Rookie Member Fenris's Avatar
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    It's not a competition.

    Yes, Dexter's enemies are pretty awful; but that doesn't justify him. He's still a horrible person, just because of who he is; comparing him to other horrible people doesn't change anything.


    Because there's always going to be somebody worse than the protagonist!

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by WestPhillyPunisher View Post
    Actually, if memory serves, Frank had been surreptitiously given some sort of drug by Jigsaw that warped his value system, causing him to shoot people over minor stuff. Once Frank had been imprisoned and the drug wore off, he returned to killing only bad guys after he'd been freed from prison in the Steven Grant/Mike Zeck miniseries.

    As for Dexter Morgan, I read the first novel, and he was psychologically damaged from childhood while Frank went over the edge after his wife and children had been killed. Speaking of other literary anti-heroes, what about Mack Bolan (whom the Punisher was directly patterned after) who declared war on the Mafia after his family had been killed but now kills terrorists, or James Bond whom, as a spy is as amoral and indifferent about killing enemy spies as they come? I guess it can be said that anti-heroes are all over the place.

    Ouch. I guess I remembered it wrong. There was a squad of Punisher dopplegangers in the Grant/Zeck story so I guess I confused the explanation.

  11. #26
    Rookie Member Fenris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WestPhillyPunisher View Post
    Actually, if memory serves, Frank had been surreptitiously given some sort of drug by Jigsaw that warped his value system, causing him to shoot people over minor stuff. Once Frank had been imprisoned and the drug wore off, he returned to killing only bad guys after he'd been freed from prison in the Steven Grant/Mike Zeck miniseries.

    As for Dexter Morgan, I read the first novel, and he was psychologically damaged from childhood while Frank went over the edge after his wife and children had been killed. Speaking of other literary anti-heroes, what about Mack Bolan (whom the Punisher was directly patterned after) who declared war on the Mafia after his family had been killed but now kills terrorists, or James Bond whom, as a spy is as amoral and indifferent about killing enemy spies as they come? I guess it can be said that anti-heroes are all over the place.
    I was thinking I'd seen this storyline somewhere here at CBR; and here it is!


    Well, some of it, anyway!

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fenris View Post
    It's not a competition.

    Yes, Dexter's enemies are pretty awful; but that doesn't justify him. He's still a horrible person, just because of who he is; comparing him to other horrible people doesn't change anything.


    Because there's always going to be somebody worse than the protagonist!
    Dexter's a mentally diseased individual who would kill anyways, regardless of if he focused his habits on murderers or not. So I'd give him a lot more leeway. He's a guy whose options were 1. be locked up forever, 2. commit suicide, 3. do what he does and be free, 4. kill without prejudice and be free until he gets caught.

    On another note I make a distinction between people who go out to kill and someone like Rambo, James Bond, or Jack Bauer who are put in situations where to complete their mission they have to kill.

  13. #28
    Horrific Experiment JCAll's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pharozonk View Post
    Most of the people that the Spectre passes judgement on are murderers and thieves who we know aren't going to ever change their ways.
    What the Spectre does is still pretty horrible. Isn't that why they bind him to humans? To force him to follow some sense of morality, rather than letting him off the leash to kill indiscriminately. Everyone's a sinner, no concept of collateral damage, etc. Not that the Punisher is any better. He has had to be repeatedly talked down from killing dudes whose only crime was some variation of "Let's dress up in colorful outfits and have a punch-up with Spider-Man".

    Personally, I like my anti-heroes to be way worse than the guys they're killing. That's why I always liked Lobo.

  14. #29
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    Are they just as bad. Nah, that's just something people say to argue against it. A bit of hyperbole. But it's still bad.

    And it only works when you apply comic book reality and logic to it that allows them to be right all the time. In real life The Punisher would kill scores of people who didn't deserve it, both directly through making mistakes or misreading situations and indirectly through collateral damage. So there's no way to reasonably debate the ethics of it as if it were a real world situation. The Punisher is right in the comic book because it tells you he lives in a universe where the Punisher is always right.

    Look at that Phoenix Jones guy for what might happen with a real-world example. He tried to be a real-life super-vigilante, but since he's a real guy without spider-sense or comic-book infallibility he often misread situations and charged in and pepper-sprayed the wrong people, like the time he jumped into an argument between some drunks leaving a night-club argument and they all attacked him. If Phoenix Jones modeled himself on The Punisher his innocent victim ratio would be very high.

  15. #30
    Rumbles Moderator Guy1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CSTowle View Post
    Does it make it somehow more morally acceptable if a guy uses supernatural powers granted by a magical being to kill (and in his case, send him to eternal torment) than it is if a guy uses firearms?
    Like in Death Note?
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