With Batman vs. Superman: Dawn Of Justice just around the corner (81 days at the time of writing this artice) and everyone has been asking me “Aaron, can Batman really beat Superman?” I thought I would share my list of top 5 times that Batman has kicked Superman’s ass, in no particular order.
Issues: Batman #612 (April 2003)
Creative Team: Jeph Loeb (writer), Jim Lee (pencils), Alex Sinclair (colors)
Let’s start off with the book that this website’s namesake is inspired by, and one of my favorite DC storyline’s which was written by Jeph Loeb and illustrated by Jim Lee. A mysterious stalker named Hush is sabotaging Batman, with help from some of his most notorious villains. One of which is Poison Ivy, who has taken control of Superman and commanded him to kill Batman. The Dark Knight realises that Supes is pulling his punches, so with the help of flashbang grenades, hypersonics, electroshock and a good old Kryptonite ring, Batman more than holds his own against the Man of Steel.
Issues: short story collected in Mythology (November 2005)
Creative Team: Chip Kidd (writer), Alex Ross (art)
Unfortunately I haven’t read this storyline and I’m finding it difficult to obtain enough information. But, lucky for you readers, what I do know is awesome. Superman is, yet again, being controlled by a super villain, Brainiac. Batman stops him by shooting him with a Kryptonite bullet, before beating the snot out of him. That’s one way to help a friend, I suppose.
Buy Mythology: The DC Comics Art of Alex Ross in print from Amazon.
Tower of Babel
Issues: JLA: Volume 4 – Tower of Babel (JLA #36-41) (November 1999)
Creative Team: Grant Morrison (writer), Howard Porter (art)
Ok, so Batman doesn’t technically beat Superman in this story, but it is from Batman’s intellect that it is achieved, so I’m counting it. Ra’s Al Ghul is attempting to reduce the globe’s population, so he must take out the Justice League so as to not be stopped. He has his daughter, Talia, steal files from Batman on how to stop each member. For Superman, it is red Kryptonite, which turns his skin transparent. This causes him to feel intense pain as well as overloading his natural solar absorption to the point his super senses become overwhelmed. 1-0, Batman.
The Dark Knight Returns
Issues: Dark Knight Returns #1-4 (February 1986)
Creative Team: Frank Miller (writer), Klaus Janson (art)
We all know this one. And if you don’t, shame on you! A 50 year old Batman comes out of retirement and wreaks havoc on Gotham’s criminal population. The government doesn’t like this, so The President enlists Superman to bring him in. What ensues is a true beat down on Clark by Bruce. An armoured bat suit with electrical charges to slow him down. A Kryptonite arrow, shot from the bow of Green Arrow, turns the tide further. After a few more kicks and punches, we get the ultimate line from Batman: “I want you to remember, Clark. In all the years to come, in your most prrivate moments, I want you to remember. My hand, at your throat. I want you to remember, the one man who beat you.”
Issues: Batman #36 (November 2014)
Creative Team: Scott Snyder (writer), Greg Capullo (art)
The Joker is back! He has taken control of the Justice League and they are trying to take Batman down. But Batman has his intelligence, armour and weaponry. He has miniature Red Suns on his knuckles, as well as features which protect him against Superman’s heat vision and freeze breath. Superman takes the advantage by breaking open the armour and sending Batman flying straight up. However, Bruce has a last resort, Kryptonite gum! He spit’s it into Superman’s eye which allows him to win the fight.
That’s my 5, but I’d like to give an honorable mention to the Batman and Superman cinematic releases. The combined worldwide gross of all Batman movies ($1.785B) is significantly higher than the Superman films ($518M). Chalk up another victory for Gotham’s saviour (Thanks to boxofficemojo for the stats!).