Probably one of the most fought over questions in comic book history is who would win in a fight between Batman and Superman. There is one really well known comic book adaptation that supposedly answers the question…The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller… but this is only one opinion out of many. Some great arguments have been made for both parties…so here I will write my thoughts on this topic.
First off, I will say that I am a huge Superman fan….he is easily my favorite comic book character. I will also say that Batman is my second favorite comic book character….these two lay far above the rest. So though I am very much biased, I do try to take into consideration the different factors that are at play.
The first scenario that I would put both superman and batman in together is one where they are fighting with no powers. No super strength, speed or flight from Superman, lets even take away the utility belt from Batman. Hands down, Batman wins. Having extensive training in many forms of combat and also having reached the peak strength and fitness that a human can reach, he is the heavy favorite. Superman is strong and has great endurance, but he hasn’t had the need to really rely on combat skills the way Batman needs to.
Lets do another scenario…one where powers are permitted, but there is no way to exploit any obvious weakness, such as kryptonite. The heavy favorite here would be Superman. Batman could hit Superman all he wanted to with no avail. He would most likely hurt himself in the process. Superman could fly Batman to a point where he couldn’t breath, run so fast that Batman would only see a blur, hit so fast that Batman would have no way to defend it, or even hit hard enough to shatter bones. There would honestly be no contest there.
Alright…onto the favorite method of bringing Superman down…using the oh so deadly kryptonite. I want to simply state…many people seem to have a strong misconception of the effects of kryptonite on Superman. For anybody who watched the show Smallville, they showed Clark Kent being incapacitated whenever he was exposed to kryptonite. He would get sick when he was in relatively close proximity to it, and when it was right next to him, he basically fell over and couldn’t do much. I love Smallville…but wow…that kryptonite is either extremely potent or Clark Kent is kind of a pansy.
Now dont get me wrong…kryptonite is deadly to superman. But he would either have to be exposed to it for an extended period of time, ingest kryptonite into his system, or get shot by a kryptonite bullet directly to the heart for it to have a truly deadly affect.
This is an example of the “getting shot in the heart” scenario. Now in the following pages of the very same comic, we will see some interesting things. The first thing we learn about the effects of kryptonite is that it slowed down Superman’s cells and their regenerating speed. His wound heals significantly slower than normal, but they still heal faster than a normal human. Next, as seen in the following page, he still has a huge degree of invulnerability and superhuman strength.
The picture on the left shows the still rather significant amount of invulnerability as Batman had just placed an explosive on Superman’s back to escape being buried alive. The picture on the right is shortly after they escaped the grave they were buried in. They were on their way to the Bat Cave in order to remove the kryptonite bullet from Superman. Batman has placed many safeguards to keep unwanted guests away from the Bat Cave. One of those is the electrified metal gate. As shown, Superman not only has the strength to rip it off, but he is able to withstand the intense electric shocks coming from it, although I can imagine he felt it more so than normal. Now this is just one instance in where Superman was strongly affected by kryptonite….still very powerful.
Another time where he was strongly affected by kryptonite is in the movie, Superman Returns. Though filled with huge plot holes and a so-so story, (in my opinion) the movie still does a rather good portrayal of Superman. Close to the end of the movie, Lex Luthor stabs Superman with a makeshift kryptonite dagger in the back and breaks off a chunk inside him. He then kicks him off a huge cliff, where Superman falls into the water and seems to be unconscious. Now I believe Superman became unconscious not simply because of the kryptonite chunk in his back, but in large part due to the beating he had just taken at the hands of Lex Luthor and his henchmen. With the excessive amounts of kryptonite around him (the island was laced with kryptonite) and the chunk in his back, he was severely weakened. What is cool to see after he falls off the cliff and is saved by Lois, who also removes the majority of the kryptonite from his back, is that he regains a huge amount of his strength and speed and invulnerability. He is able to dive beneath the surface of the giant kryptonite laced island, and while still weakened some by the kryptonite, he is able to lift the entire island out of the atmosphere of the earth and send it floating away in space. To top it off, he survives a ridiculous fall and is able to make a full recovery, though it did take a few days.
So lets say Batman comes to a fight with a kryptonite ring, or even something like makeshift kryptonite gloves. Is he going to be able to hit Superman and cause some damage…absolutely. Is he going to be able to slow Superman down some when he gets close…obviously, yes. Will we see some blood flying from Superman…most likely yes. But based on the real effects of kryptonite on Superman, will Batman be able to beat Superman? I think not. Does Superman even have to get close to be able to hit Batman….technically no. If it’s a versus match to the death, Superman will use the intelligance he has to fly far enough away from Batman where he doesn’t feel the effects of the kryptonite and simply shoot him with his laser eye move. An example of this is pictured below:
Metallo has regenerative abilities, so he wasnt killed due to this barrage, but Batman would be done with one blast like this. So in my opinion, even when Batman pulls out the oh so deadly kryptonite, Superman still has the advantage. Even Batman knows it:
The end of the that quote brings me to my final thought. Would Superman and Batman ever willingly fight each other to the death…I think not. I will show several comic book pages that show why I think like this:
Deep down, Superman and Batman are like brothers. I am willing to bet that Batman trusts two people in the universe…Alfred, his butler, and Superman. Superman cares about Batman and can always see the good in him even if sometimes he doesn’t see it himself. Would Superman and Batman every willingly fight each other to the death…no. It wouldn’t happen. Even in The Dark Knight Returns, neither of them are in that fight looking to kill the other. Nor will they ever be. They would defend each other to the death before they would ever consider fighting each other.
Now I know that there will be plenty of people who whole-heartedly disagree with almost everything I have said (I think the paragraph where I said Batman would win hands down is where people would be most likely to agree). People will say that I only used a couple of references to prove points, and that kryptonite does way more damage to Superman that I think. There will always be someone who will disagree with this…and that’s fine. I love Superman. I love Batman. I have never wanted to see who would win in a fight between the two cause to me, there is no real winner…I want to see the two pair up to take on any challenge thrown at them. Why put two of the most powerful and intense characters in the comic book universe against each other when you can have them team up and take dome some equally powerful enemies. I love this comic book page and included meme about confidence:
Superman and Batman are brothers and will always be portrayed as such. Even with the upcoming film Batman v Superman, there is no doubt in my mind that they will not only end up as allies, but that they will end up being the strongest of friends in the DC Cinematic Universe. No doubt at all.