Since DC Comics first started publishing Superman and Batman stories, the two figureheads of their company have constantly been compared. They can be seen as mirror images, moral opposites, yin and yang. Superman as the golden boy, the celebrated hero, the moral do-gooder. Superman prides himself on his image and the people that idolize and love him, he takes pride in ‘doing the right thing’. Batman however doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty, doing what has to be done.
In their functionality as a hero, they also operate completely differently. Being an alien from Krypton, Superman has several genetic traits, including practical indestructibility, heat vision, super strength, agility, among many others. This paints him primarily as a warrior, who solves his problems using his genetic skill-set with little after-thought. Batman, is ultimately just a determined man. He relies on his expert knowledge of martial arts, and close quarter combat skills in addition to a wealth of stealth tactics. He typically plays more as the detective, than a combatant.
For many the argument is clear, Superman has a vast array of powers and physical strength that Batman can’t compete with. Or so you’d think. Join me, as we decipher 8 key reasons while the heightened human tactician would be able to defeat the Kryptonian wonder-boy.
Throughout the years, Batman has rarely traveled or fought alone. Often he has one of his many iterations of Robin, the boy wonder accompanying him. Be it Nightwing, Catwoman, Huntress or otherwise, the bat has taken a lot of people under his wing, as his protege or partner. While obviously Batman couldn’t rely on such a figure to beat Superman, his allies are a valuable resource he could use against the Man of Steel.
After all, the idea of Batman being this heightened human character is that he’ll use every possible resource in order to execute a plan, to dissect a threat. His highly trained team of wards, and allies are certainly a tool to be used. An agile ally like Robin for example could distract, and evade Superman deftly with feats of agility, while Batman sets a trap. Nightwing could probably face the Man of Steel head on with his martial arts expertise. In summary, bats rarely come alone.
We all know Batman is a mastermind badass genius, so you’d have to think a victory for Batman would involve some kind of gadget, or trick right? Kryptonite Cannon? Bat-Suit? Anti-Super-Personnel Batmobile? Who knows. But Batman’s sheer adaptability to adapt, is powered by his technology. It’s in the very makeup of Batman, in his formula that he takes advantage of technology to adapt to any situation, threat, or problem.
What resistance could Superman offer against technology designed to dampened his abilities? none. Sure, Superman knows Batman’s skill set, and technique but as a fighter Superman isn’t at all adaptive. He simply has what he has at his disposal, he wins with brute force, and bravado. Thus he’s in no real position to react to anything Batman can through at him, he doesn’t exactly have a plan B when it comes to combat. Punch, fly, heat ray, charge. If master Bruce Wayne can alter his technology to withstand the brunt of Kal-El’s attacks, he should be the favourite to win.
6.The People's Support!
This is somewhat of a meta-answer, playing on the audience and reactions as opposed to the characters themselves, but give it some thought. If Superman, and Batman were to brawl on the big screen, who would we want to win? and in the same vain, how would the fight reflect that result.
If Superman were to win, one has to think, would there be any real fight, or exchange of blows? In any ordinary encounter, Batman literally can’t hurt Superman without the help of outside tools, and he certainly doesn’t have anyway of taking advantage of Superman’s weakness to the arcane. So how would this fight go? Superman punches Batman once, and breaks his rib-cage? Abruptly melts his face with heat vision, or throws him into space? Sounds pretty anti-climatic, and fatal to me.
But for an entertaining spectacle, Batman would probably have to claim victory. Via the use of his surroundings, tools, outside factors and strategy. He’s always the underdog if the fight goes to blows, he’s just a man. For the sake of the audience, we’d want Batman to win, we’d want to the underdog to overcome the odds and take down the super-powered gloryhog, because the alternative sounds pretty dull and unfeasible. Not to mention the fact Batman is generally more popular among fans, primarily because of the incredibly successful Dark Knight Trilogy.
Batman is an orphan, who saw his parents die in front of him. Naturally, he’s cut a lot of his emotional heartstrings, and is quite the distant and focused individual. This means, Batman has no real emotional weakness, or susceptibility. However Superman is a lot more gentle, a lot more loving and kind. The question is, could he bring himself to come to blows with the caped crusader? Would he ever want to hurt his long time friend, ally, partner. It’d certainly be a tough ask, for the man of steel.
For Batman it’d be an easy task, it’d just be the matter of justifying Superman as the uncontrollable threat he could become. Superman has a heart, a love life, has a gentle touch. He saves little boys from traffic, cats from trees, damsels in distress. Superman has become far too ‘human’ for his own good, and his resolve is weak. Batman is a broken individual, who’s lost near to everything dear to him. Batman has only the task at hand, because nothing else matters. Would either of the two pull punches? Likely, Kent.
Batman always has a contingency plan. Batman has been known to plan for the unlikely, hence why he carries around Kryptonite on his utility belt. An encounter between the world’s finest wouldn’t be a brawl, or a spontaneous fight, it’d be calculated to a tee. To think Batman hasn’t already thought about how he’d tackle Superman, or how the fight would go is just naive. If Superman were to go rogue, corrupt or evil, Batman would be the first line of defense, and he’d certainly be prepared.
Being his friend and companion for all these years only bears advantage for Bruce. He watched and observed Superman’s fighting style down to the very movements, with his intelligence, psychological knowledge, and deep understanding of Superman’s arsenal he’ll be able to predict, dissect, and evade Clark’s blows with ease.
Superhuman brawn is only ideal if you can strike the foe which would be hard, considering in close quarters, Batman most likely has access to Kryptonite. With Superman’s ideals, and optimistic nature he’d never expect the fight, or be prepared. With a powerful but limited skillset, Superman falls perfectly into a category of foe Batman should be able to dispatch.
3.He fought with him once
Is there any other reason better than, because they’ve already fought? Maybe not in the ‘standard canon’ if you want to nitpick about the context, but in Mark Millar’s highly acclaimed The Dark Knight Returns originally published in the 80’s, with a 2-part animated feature in 2012, Batman defeats Kal-El. The two are driven to fists as Batman becomes the head of the mutant gang after defeating their leader. The city rejects him, leaving now shamed political lapdog Superman to deal with him. He suffers a fairly crushing defeat.
How? With the use of a hardened combat battle suit, and a weakening dose of Kryptonite gas Batman had Superman on the ropes. In many ways this ties together many of the other reasons on the list, preparation, technology, the existence of Kryptonite. Admittedly this happens in a rather ‘altered’ universe and isn’t to be taken strictly as history. Through his triumph we must ask ourselves, would Batman conquer Superman in the same way? Or would outside factors, intervene?
Fear. What a potent tool. Is Superman scared of Batman? Most likely. Almost everyone is. At the Justice League watchtower most of the heroes are talkative, colourful, and friendly. Batman has a constant persona to withhold, that everyone should be afraid of him, good or bad. Clark actively knows Batman is watching him, and is generally aware of his immense power, and the consequences if they ever fell into the wrong hands, or turned to evil.
If Superman flying through the skies, as he surveys Metropolis is a sign of hope, Batman is certainly a sign of fear as he patrols the dark lofty streets of Gotham. Seeing Batman deal with thugs is one thing, but when the batarang is pointed at you, that’s generally a scary thought. Is Batman scared of Superman? Not really. Scared for the fate of the world, but not himself. He has nothing to lose.
Kryptonite did serve a purpose on Krypton, it weakened the race’s natural powers so they couldn’t be used for evil, and society was in balance.
There’s no real way to ignore Kryptonite on this list. The substance causes Superman to temporarily lose his strength, and have that of an average human. In that case, Batman would just cleanly beat him in his weakened state using his martial arts and combat skills. Not to mention Batman has a stockpile of the stuff, just in case Superman becomes the world’s greatest menace. It’s not exactly exciting, and is the basis for at least of 50 percent of Superman’s storylines just to actually present some real danger, to the otherwise immortal hero. Not much more to it than that, really.
Blue jumpsuits are just not my thing. Bats in black are where it’s at. Gotta say Batman all the way here for [Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice](movie:711870)!!