A large part of Batman’s persona is the fear it strikes into enemies’ hearts. For example, a costume resembling a bat was chosen so that criminals would be afraid of him. There have been times when Batman really uses his “scare tactics” to get information from criminals. I’m wondering, what is his code of moral conduct? Has Batman ever tortured someone for information? Would any of his scare tactics be considered torture (or illegal by a developed nation’s standards)?

In Batman wikia it lists an ability:

Intimidation: It is widely known that Batman has the ability to instill fear in others, even the people that know him best are intimidated by him. Even those who aren't afraid of the likes of Superman fear Batman.

Expert Inquisitor: Batman is adept in the use of interrogation techniques, employing anything from law enforcement methods to outright torture.

In the Batman Year One film he interrogates the pimp and says "I know pain and sometimes I share it," or something like that. In The Dark Night he interrogates the Joker with physical abuse.

  • 2
    IANAL. But "illegal by a developed nations standards" -- for Germany that would be § 136a StPO, which states: "The freedom of [...] the suspect must not be impaired by abuse, fatigue, physical interference, application of substances, cruelty, deception, or hypnosis. Constraint may only be applied within the limits allowed by criminal proceedings law. Threats involving unlawful procedures or promises of unlawful benefits are prohibited." The line between being scary and threatening the suspect is a fine one, "I might inflict pain" is beyond it.
    – DevSolar
    Apr 23, 2015 at 11:35

2 Answers 2


I can't speak much for the comics, having only read a couple of Batman stories (Killing Joke and Knightfall), but as you have mentioned in your question, we have at least one definite example of Batman torturing someone - The Joker in The Dark Knight.

In the scene you are referring to, The Joker is a prisoner and Batman is attempting to get information from him. He does this by;

  • Slamming his head into the table
  • Punching his hand against the table
  • Throwing him across the room
  • Hitting him repeatedly

There isn't a way in which to look at this where Batman isn't willfully torturing The Joker.

And that isn't the only time we see Batman willing to resort to torture to obtain information in The Dark Knight. He also drops mob boss Sal Maroni off a roof, breaking his leg.

So, yes. Batman's scare tactics, at least in the continuity of Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy, have certainly crossed the line into torture.

  • Even in the comics, pretty much anything short of killing or outright torture is fair game. Which is ok.
    – Omegacron
    Apr 23, 2015 at 15:08
  • 1
    Has he ever tortured a criminal who has not had information or has he always been sure?
    – Celeritas
    Apr 23, 2015 at 22:58

If you're willing to count the video game Batman: Arkham Knight, there's a scene where Batman "interrogates" one of the Arkham Knight's henchmen by remotely driving the Batmobile right up to him so the wheel is right up against his head, and then revving the engine. The very clear implication is that if the mook doesn't talk, Batman will crush his head, and the mook is understandably very terrified. If that's not torture, I don't know what is.

Worth noting, however, that

Batman is under the influence of the Joker's virus, and it's implied at a few other points that the virus is corrupting him and making him more violent than usual.

  • There's a similar scene in the Batman: The Telltale Series video game where he has a henchman suspended from the ceiling and (optionally) breaks the guy's arm as part of the interrogation. Mar 12, 2018 at 14:30

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.