Batman and Superman are arguably the two most iconic superheroes of all time. So naturally the question of who the victor of a fight would be is a hotly contested one to put it mildly. Drop the question of “Superman or Batman” on almost any internet forum and you’re immediately met with angry fan-boys trading arguments as to why their favourite would win. But the fact of the matter is that, as the comics have shown us, it’s a fight that can (and does) go either way. So here are, in no particular order, 5 times the two titans have clashed in comics.
1) Superman: Red Son
In case you don’t know, Superman: Red Son is an alternate universe story about a Kal-El who landed in Soviet Russia. So technically, this isn’t Bruce Wayne here (because he would never wear a hat like that) but it is Batman, or Batmankoff, with all the same skills and abilities. Just Russian. In this case, Superman is slightly more of an evil dictator than you’re used to, and so Batman decides that he needs to be taken down. His way of doing this is to lure Supes to a place where he has set up red solar lamps that emit the same radiation as Krypton’s red sun, causing Superman to lose his powers and allowing Batman to simply punch him into submission. In fact, if not for the intervention of Wonder Woman, Batman would have put the last son of Krypton down for good. What makes this fight so memorable is that Batman holds all the cards, Superman doesn’t even know that red solar radiation is a weakness of his, meaning that his come-down is brutal and crushing. Both physically and metaphorically.
2) Lex Luthor: Man of Steel
It’s surprisingly hard to find a fight in canon where Superman wins. Do you want to know why? Because they’re so brief that they barely count as fights. In this case, Batman decides to try out some new kryptonite on the Man of Steel only to have Supes fly up into the clouds, use super-breath to disarm Bats of the stuff, come back down, fly Batman above the clouds and just drop him. Sure, Batman survives the fall, but Superman throws a punch at his face, pulling up just short of killing him simply in order to prove that Bruce has nothing on him. Which, you know, he doesn’t. What this encounter (“fight” is too generous to Batman) brings to the table is that it shows just how powerful Superman is compared to Batman and how this fight only goes one way unless the Caped Crusader has a perfectly laid out plan that accounts for all possibilities.
3) Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
This is easily the most iconic and well known clash between the two titans. But while it’s a given that this fight is awesome in a dramatic as well as badass sense, it’s still a hotly contested topic among fans. Because no-one can agree on whether or not you can really chalk this down as a win for Batman. There are three main points brought up to state that he doesn’t: Supes is holding back; Green Arrow helps him by firing a kryptonite arrow at Clark; and he fakes a heart attack to get away. However, there are (debatably convincing, I’m not here to give a verdict, just to inform) counter points to all three: holding back is part of Superman’s character and used against him by Batman; Arrow asks to help Bats, he could have fired the kryptonite himself or had a turret do it; and he fakes the heart attack so he doesn’t have to kill Superman. However, all of that aside, it is an undeniable fact that the man of steel is not at full strength, having been hit by a nuclear missile before the fight. Still, it’s an incredible face-off that ends with the coolest speech. Ever. In the history of comics. As well as everything else.
4) Justice League: Origin
This particular fight sees a completely unprepared Batman go up against a Superman who is new to the Superhero world and is thus very much an unknown to Batman. Leading Clark to win this encounter fairly convincingly, with virtually nothing the Dark Knight throws at him having much effect. In fact, Kal-El manages to put Batman in the dust even with Green Lantern backing him up. It really shows that sure, maybe Batman can take down Superman under very meticulously planned and crafted circumstances, but put them in the situation of a fair fight between the two and really, is it even a question anymore?
5) Batman: Hush
In this (excellent) storyline, Superman is under the control of Poison Ivy’s mind-spores, and Batman has to try and take him down with no prep time. What is special about the encounter we get to see here is that it successfully showcases both characters as great. Superman’s strength of will is such that it is constantly fighting against the spores, Batman calls in help from Catwoman and then uses Clark’s psychological weaknesses to make him snap out of it, rather than attempting to subdue Supes physically, as he accepts that this is futile. It’s also an incredible action piece and one that you’ll often see misrepresented as a win under Batman’s name when he even says at the end that had Superman’s mind been mostly concentrating on him and not expending all its strength fending off Ivy, he’d be a bloody mush on the floor.
So thanks for reading guys, I hope you enjoyed it. If so, I have a youtube channel over at Eneition where i do similar things, so feel free to check that out, I like to think we do good stuff. But what are you guys’ thoughts? Batman or Superman, who would you rather have watching over your city? Let us know below and until next time, enjoy your lives.