Before DC’s two biggest heroes duke it out on the big screen, here are some of the most memorable battles between The Man of Steel and the Dark Knight!
A perfect intro to the Batman comic mythos, this storyline has everything: a new villain, a mystery, a love story, and of course Batman punching Superman in the face!
This epic fight is initiated when Poison Ivy takes control of Superman, ordering him to kill Batman. With a number of tricks up his sleeve (just for such a circumstance), Bruce miraculously manages to hold him off just long enough to get to Lois and snap Clark out of his trance.
Written by Jeph Loeb, ‘HUSH’ showcases the Dark Knight’s classic rogues gallery, captured in stunning detail by the amazing Jim Lee!
Frank Miller’s THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS
The Dark Knight Returns (not to be confused with Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy) by Frank Miller, is often considered one of the best graphic novels of all time and one of the darkest Batman stories ever told.
In this version of DC mythology, Superman is actually a government-sponsored weapon deployed to apprehend Batman by any means necessary following the death of the Joker…
Batman, prepping for this fight for a long time, makes his last stand against the Man of Steel… in an armored suit!
*Worth noting: the Animated Adaptation is extremely faithful to the source material and even has Peter Weller as Batman! Click here for my review!
JUSTICE LEAGUE: Secret Origin (New 52)
In Issue #2 of the New 52 Justice League reboot (by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee), Batman and Green Lantern team-up on an investigation in Metropolis where they run into a young, brash and distrusting Superman.
Matt Wagner’s “Trinity” graphic novel features Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, who all have to overcome their philosophical differences in order to stop Ra’s Al Ghul!
BATMAN / SUPERMAN: WORLD’S FINEST
In this 90’s Animated Movie, Batman comes to Metropolis when Lex Luthor hires The Joker to take out Superman. There’s so much to love about this movie: Bruce Wayne flirting with Lois Lane, Superman vs Joker, Mercy Graves vs Harley Quinn and of course Batman vs Superman! Not to mention all the amazing voice talents: Kevin Conroy, Tim Daly, Clancy Brown, Dana Delany, Arleen Sorkin, Bob Hastings and of course Mark Hamill as The Joker! Loosely based on the classic ‘World’s Finest’ comic series.
SUPERMAN / BATMAN #78
Superman / Batman was actually a really solid series! One of my favorite ongoing comics growing up. The first couple story-arcs were particularly strong with the two heroes facing off against foes like President Luthor and Darkseid!
One of the great things about the series was that there were two narrations throughout each story from each character, so on every situation you got Batman’s blunt perspective and Superman’s much more optimistic point of view. The contrast has never been done better in any medium. What’s more is, the book made me actually question which hero I agreed with more at times!
Issue #78 delves into various hypothetical scenarios as two fan boys attempt to figure out who would come out on top!
LEX LUTHOR: Man of Steel
Brian Azzarello’s graphic novel from Lex Luthor’s point of view, features a scene where Lex tricks Bruce into confronting Superman (as Batman), with a chunk of Kryptonite.
SUPERMAN: RED SON
This was an Elseworld’s Tale by Mark Millar that proposed what would have happened if baby Kal-El’s space ship had crash landed in Soviet Russia rather than Smallville, Kansas. Superman grows up to become Stalin’s pawn, fighting for the Communist way…
But that’s not all, we also got a badass Russian-version of Batman!
In Kingdom Come (by Mark Waid and Alex Ross) Bruce and Clark nearly came to blows once again during this futuristic storyline where Superman comes out of exile to save the world from itself, years after the Joker murdered Lois Lane. Despite their differences, Batman and Superman once again learn to work together in the end. The story ends with Clark and Diana (Wonder Woman) getting together and having a baby – and Bruce is chosen as the godfather!
Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s run on Batman has been legendary. From ‘The Court of Owls’ to ‘A Death in the Family’. Endgame is no exception. Without giving too much away, The Joker seemingly returns from the dead, for one final showdown with the Dark Knight and this time, it’s personal.
In the opening chapter, shit hits the fan when Wonder Woman smashing through a bullet-proof window in an attempt to decapitate Bruce Wayne (out of costume)! It soon becomes apparent that the entire Justice League has been compromised as he dons a huge battle-armor mech suit while trying to survive the onslaught, barely managing to subdue the rest of his team mates through a series of contingency plans. And that’s when Superman shows up… laughing maniacally and Batman realizes that The Joker has somehow hijacked Superman!
The fight that follows is truly epic: without holding back, The Man of Steel destroys Bruce’s suit of armor with ease and then rockets him into the atmosphere.
Seriously, it’s worth the read.
Honorable Mention: FOR THE MAN WHO HAS EVERYTHING
Ok, so this one isn’t so much a Batman vs Superman story, but it’s a great freaking story by Alan Moore that also does a really good job of contrasting the two heroes. It’s a very emotional and personal story that shows Clark and Bruce struggling with giving up the thing they desire the most. It also just so happens to be one of the best episodes of Justice League Unlimited.
What are your favorite Batman / Superman tales? Let us know in the comments below!