Imma go complete fanfiction here, but Hero induced trauma is something I’m always thinking about.
I think about the heroes that I love and how cool is to see them fight but how morally reprehensible it would be in real life.
You guys discussed how part of why we accept these behaviors is because the writer’s create this world in which superhero violence is the only answer. Gotham is a place filled with evil people, where mental illness = dangerous, where mental hospitals are breeding grounds for “insanity” and crime. Where every-time Batman does something to improve community housing there is a villain that ruins it and thus the only answer is violence. It’s not as much that Batman is reprehensible, but its the writers who create the world that carry the burden of ethical representation. We don’t actually see many of the thugs in the hospital with irreversible brain injuries because for the intents and purposes of this story, they don’t exist. The writers can’t imagine a Batman story where people have the potential for change without a violent struggle in between so that’s what they write. Stories about beating crime to a pulp sell more, or at least that’s the narrative.
Which is why I always come back to Steven Universe, Avatar and Dr. Who as a respite from this narrative. The MC’s and writers in these series dare to believe in a world where problems can be solved through empathy and diplomacy. And there are characters which are permanently reprehensible in both series, they don’t change everyone and they don’t always succeed through empathy, but these writer’s dare to dream in a hero who chooses the pen over the sword, while still being action packed.
I have this head fanfiction which I will never write because I suck at writing fanfiction. But it revolves around Batman villains dealing with the consequences of superheroism and forming a team that tries to address the issues that bring crime to Gotham from a systemic level.
It stars a post-Joker Harley coming to terms with what brought her to becoming a psychiatrist in the first place, and recognizing that she still wants to believe better of people and try to reform them after she sees a hospital ward filled with victims of superheroism who have permanent life altering injuries. She forms a support group amongst these victims and starts a coalition of characters that try to change the system. The Riddler tries his hand at being good for once much like in (Gotham City Sirens) but this time instead of becoming a detective he becomes the mastermind of the operation, devising a complex plan to figure out the complex puzzle of social services, politics and crime in Gotham. Barbara Gordon actually joins in after a heart to heart with Harley and her group and retakes her role as oracle but uses her informational skills to form a background history of the villains they aim to reform. Harley goes back to being a psychiatrist on her spare time but hilarity ensues when the group tries to support their enterprise through illegal means. Catwoman joins in and tries to fight corruption at its source but find herself stealing fund for the project. The story can revolve around what happens when villains try to fix the system, when the system is too rigged to be save legally so they are villains for good. It can go on but I’m ranting and this is all for now…