What's Your Superhero Code of Conduct?

Recent DC comics and TV shows have made me reflect on the code of conduct that characters hold themselves to. While many of them have similarities, I’ve spotted quite a few nuances between various superheroes. They all draw a unique line for themselves that they never (or rarely) cross.

Some heroes never kill. Some heroes do kill, but only for the greater good. Some heroes work alongside law enforcement and government agencies, while others work outside the law. Some heroes work in the shadows under a guise, and others have a more public presence.

If you were a superhero, what would be in your code of conduct? Where would you draw your line?


I’ll get this kicked off! Here’s mine:

  1. Do not kill.
    If I were a superhero, it’d be important to take the moral high ground. If this isn’t in the code of conduct, it can turn into a slippery slope.

  2. Keep secret identity a secret.
    For the privacy and safety of myself and others, I would prefer to be a costumed/masked superhero. Gotta keep crimefighting and personal life separate.

  3. Wield super powers responsibly!
    Super powers should only be used to do good in the world and not for personal gain.

  4. Independent crimefighting.
    As a superhero, I would want to work independently rather than in conjunction with other agencies or organizations. I think that would reduce corruptible influences and biases. I would do patrols rather than being on-call for anyone.

  5. Doing good as its own reward.
    This superhero can’t be bought! Crimefighting is tough, but I think doing good should be its own reward rather than seeking praise, admiration, gifts, or money from others.

  6. Defensive combat styles only.
    At first I wasn’t sure about this, but I feel strongly that it goes along with my number 1. My main goal in crimefighting as a superhero would be de-escalation tactics to protect people, so I would seek to disarm or disable combatants and then move the target to safety.


That’s easy: “Truth, Justice and the American Way.”


Love that, baseballmaniac! Classic :smile:


I don’t mind superheroes killing. The Silver Age restrictive moral code often led to nonsense situations where for example Superboy would kill Bizarro and then calmly explain that he was never alive in the first place the first time they mt, or that George Reeves episode where he leaves some crooks on top of a mountain only for them to die trying to get down. It’s not plausible that Superman didn’t know that would happen. Ironically, the no-killing code tends to create situations where heroes become self deluded murderers.

I’d much rather have heroes who will kill in intense situations where it cannot be avoided, and then fess up to it. In Action Comics v2 #23 or w4, Superman kills “Lexus Devourer of Life” and says Lexus wasn’t really alive. Dude, it’s not okay to kill him because he’s “not really alive”, Superman himself quoted “cogito ergo sum” at the Phantom Stranger about some zombies in Byrne’s run on Action. No, it’s okay to kill him because he’s LEXUS DEVOURER OF LIFE, and he will be neither contained nor stopped without lethal force. Superman killed two Zods, Doomsday more than once, Imperiex, arguably Mongul, and at least tried to kill Henshaw a few times. That’s not a moral failing. That’s just doing what has to be done. Superheroes should never be so kill happy that they’ll accidentally kill a civilian or other non villain, something like poor Bizarro. It should always be a last resort. But refusing to acknowledge those situations only creates ones where the heroes break their code and then refuse to admit it. They become hypocrites.

I mean, I’m okay with Batman being unable to kill, but after all that “all the people I’ve killed by letting Joker live” stuff in DKR, I’m almost willing to see that trait, normally a strength, as a flaw in those harsh situations where for example Wonder Woman might just kill the bad guy.


Love your thoughts on the code of conduct and how it’s been portrayed in comics over the years, hannahward! What would you have in your personal code of conduct if you were a superhero though? Or would you avoid a code of conduct altogether and make decisions on a case-by-case basis, maybe? It sounds like you would be very judicious and quick to adapt to different situations.

Shooooot injustice Superman. All would kneel before deBeero!

Vanilla Lawful Good!
Do: Save as many people as you can, Help those who need helping the most, Work with the police, Back down when they need you to
Don’t: Kill anyone on purpose, Hate yourself for your mistakes, Help people who don’t need help

I think Nightwing has it right. I’d try to keep the battles more away from public places if possible though. The people who get killed or lives turned upside down in the carnage… You know it’s bad… like in Batman vs Superman…

Batman shouldn’t kill, anyone else. Sure

I would be fine killing if it was someone absolutely terrible and I would be careful around all citizens…

That is if I would be a hero but honestly I’d rather be a villian but even then I would have a code of conduct DON’T KILL OTHER VILLIANS unless they threaten your power

For me, no killing unless the person did something terrible, like 99% of the stuff Joker does.

I go by the tone of the show. If it’s dark, anything goes. There’s barely, if anything, that upsets me outside of hurting kids or racial/hate crimes.

I think I’d go with Kill the bad guy is acceptable but only if its the only way to stop him. Jason Todd made an excellent point in Under The Red Hood. Batman’s code bout never… ever killing anyone has allowed The Joker to just keep escaping from Arkham and how many innocent civilians has wound up dead for Joker toxins over the year because of that? You spare the life of a hopelessly insane serial killer again and again it HOW man innocent lives does that cost? Hey we have not even mentioned the fact that Jason himself is a Joker Victim and the other big one… Barbara Gordon is left crippled for life because the Bat continued to spare that psychopath’s life?

Now in other cases… No you don’t run over a purse snatcher with the batmobile. I’d also TRY, as often as possible to steer the battle away for civilians. There would be times that would be impossible of course like when Darkseid or Doomsday attacked earth. I seriously doubt they’d listen when you asked “Could we move this battle outside the city so no one gets hurt?” LOL But when ever possible try to confront the bad guy in places like their lair or some place where less bystander would potentially get hurt. I would definitely work with Law Enforcement and the Military… Hey it never hurts to have a few hundred back ups with automatic weapons on YOUR side. As for the disguise … yeah protect your family from harm. You ARE fighting bad guys who would have no qualms about trying to get back at you through them.