In Shadow of the Bat #76, a group of wealthy birthday party attendees find themselves trapped in a mansion after the earthquake. The food runs out, and the discussion turns to cannibalism. Rather than wait for someone to die they decide to draw straws to pick the victim. Long-time readers of the blog will remember that this is probably not a legally sound approach.
At first the guy with the short straw is resigned to his fate, but after downing most of a bottle of brandy he decides to “embrace life.” In other words, he breaks the brandy bottle and threatens the rest of the group with the makeshift weapon. The six other survivors confront him, first by trying to talk him into following the agreed-upon rules, but he threatens to kill another survivor instead of going quietly. In the end, a man steps forward from the mob and gets his throat slashed for his trouble. Finally, Batman arrives and the survivors are rescued.
The interesting thing about this situation is that arguably the would-be victim acted in self-defense because the mob was threatening to kill him. Except for the rare (and still mostly illegal in the US) situation of physician-assisted suicide, one cannot consent to be killed. See, e.g., People v. Jovanovic, 263 A.D.2d 182, 198 n. 5 (1999). As a result, the man was arguably justified in using deadly force to repel the attack. It’s true that the members of the mob were unarmed, but their superior numbers (and the explicit threat of deadly harm) probably justified the deadly force.
The problem for the man is that he threatened two other survivors both verbally and by pointing the broken bottle at them. Generally an aggressor cannot claim self-defense, and if the case went to trial the main issue would likely be whether the man was the aggressor or not. Evidence for it: the group didn’t approach him until after he broke the bottle and waved it at them; by participating in the lot drawing he was arguably threatening each other member of the group since they each had a chance of losing; and it could also be argued that he was expected to kill himself rather than be killed (the comic is not clear on how the victim was meant to die). Evidence against it: the group had arguably made its intention to kill him clear from the moment he lost the draw.
In the end there’s probably not enough detail in the comic to say how the case would turn out, but it’s a nice twist on the typical desperation cannibalism trope.