There's no doubt about it, Batman and Superman are DC's two biggest heroes. In fact, they are probably the two biggest superheroes in the world (and that's saying a lot because Batman doesn't have super powers - he's just a badass hero). And this week, they will clash when Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice hits theatres!
So what better time to explore their relationship in some of the many other formats. By other formats, I mean explore their relationship and how they interacted in animation, tv, film and comics. I won't cover everything because quite frankly, there's just too many awesome interactions, but I will cover some of the most vital ones. If you haven't seen or read any of these Be Warned - there are some SPOILERS! So here it is - how Batman and Superman have interacted in various formats over the years.
The Dark Knight Returns
"I didn't have to go easy on you - a different binding agent, a stronger mix. I want you to remember that. I wanted to remind you to stay out of my way. In all the years to come, in your most private moments...I want you to remember the one man who beat you."
- Batman (The Dark Knight Returns)
Undoubtedly their most famous collision to this day, The Dark Knight Returns is Frank Miller's incredible 1986 graphic novel which focuses on Batman's return to crime-fighting after a decade of retirement. The world has changed and heroes must do the government's work. Fearing Batman's outlaw-ish actions, Superman is sent to try and take down his old friend peacefully. When that doesn't work - the clash of the century ensues. Two old friends collide in an epic and emotional battle that has undoubtedly inspired Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The animated film adaptation is simply magnificent and delivers every ounce of the power and awesomeness of the graphic novel. It's hard not to be emotional watching this scene as the sheer power with which Peter Weller delivers Frank Miller's Batman's words is just breathtaking.
"Deep Down, Clark's essentially a good person......and deep down, I'm not."
- Batman (Hush)
Arguably my favorite graphic novel of all-time, Batman: Hush is quite simply a masterpiece. I remember collecting it weekly before eventually reading the full story a couple of years later. Good times. Anyways, the story focuses on a new adversery who has risen to test the Dark Knight. However, with new villains, come old villains - Poison Ivy manages to mind-control Superman into doing her dirty work and sets him loose on Batman. A really thrilling sequence follows as the Man of Steel (under Ivy's spell) unexpectedly ambushes Batman, who is somehow fully prepared...what can I say? It's because he's Batman!
The Batman/Superman Movie
A Partnership?...You're Joking.
- Batman (The Batman/Superman Movie)
Probably the closest we've ever come to getting a Batman and Superman centric movie until now. What was really three separate episodes of Superman: The Animated Series (World's Finest Pars 1,2 and 3) was then released on Home Video as The Batman/Superman Movie. Set in the world of Batman:The Animated Series with the same creative team behind it, this was always going to be epic. Kevin Conroy is simply fantastic as always as Batman and the same goes for Tim Daly as Superman. Their adversaries the Joker and Lex Luthor are voiced by Mark Hamill and Clancy Brown...another dream team. When the Joker comes to Metropolis, it isn't long before Batman is on his trail. But Superman is unhappy with the way Batman operates and eventually, we have a stand-off between the two heroes who try to best each other. The result is a fun action packed classic that is definitely worth watching before you see Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice! This film itself basically lays the groundwork for the Justice League animated series.
Justice League/Justice League Unlimited
I have some things to say. I should have said them when you were here but...despite our differences, I have nothing but respect for you. I hope you knew...know that. You showed me that Justice doesn't always have to come from the darkness.
- Batman (Justice League)
Sequels and Spin-offs to both Batman and Superman's respective animated series' created by the same legendary team behind both, Justice League and Justice League Unlimited begins with Batman and Superman as friends - there to help each other in their times of need. They are basically the co-captains of the Justice League itself. They fight side by side, exchange insults from time-to-time and on a very rare occasion, they have an emotionally charged moment that could move even the most cynical fan. With more strong performances from Conroy and Daly, the two have a pretty great relationship here and it's something we hope to see replicated by Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck in the upcoming Justice League Part One and Justice League Part Two films in the coming years!
I loved The Batman. It is arguably the most under-rated DC animated series of all time. The main argument is that it can't live up to Batman: The ANimated Series. But that's okay - because it never tried to. The Batman was a highly enjoyable animated series that re-told Batman's career at crime-fighting in a different way - having many different storylines and changing many important aspects of the Batman mythos. However, I think they really rushed things in it's fifth and final season. Bringing in Superman was fine, but then they brought in the entire Justice League and it basically turned into episodes of Justice League in the style of The Batman. It just happened too quickly for thirteen episodes.
When Superman arrives in Gotham City, he and Batman help each other out in a battle against Metallo in a very Terminator-like sequence. Less conflict and more teamwork, the two work side by side throughout the entirety of Season Five. Very enjoyable series!
Superman/Batman: Public Enemies
"That was my best friend!"
- Superman (Superman/Batman: Public Enemies)
One of DC Universe's many Original Animated films, Superman and Batman (and all other heroes) are outlawed by Lex Luthor, thus, they must work together to take him down. It's fun and full of brilliant action sequences - I really enjoyed this film and it's clear that both Batman and Superman have a great relationship here. You can really really tell that they are friends. And the ending sequence got me all emotional on many occassions - quite simply, brilliant!
So there are just some of the many iterations of Superman and Batman's relationship. They have dominated animation, tv and graphic novels and now finally, we will get to see them dominate the big-screen when [Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice](tag:711870) hits theatres this week! Oh, the excitment!