Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice finally hits theaters this week, marking the first time moviegoers will watch these heroes fight on the big screen. But it’s nothing new for comics – Batman and Superman clash all the time, for reasons you wouldn’t always suspect. Here are eight cases of Superfriend battles that helped inspire what you’re seeing on the big screen.
Can you think of any other battles between these heroes? Share them in the comments!
Not all Batman/Superman fights occur with both heroes in their right mind. Such was the case when Poison Ivy got her mind-controlling green thumb onto Superman, forcing him to kill Gotham’s caped crusader. Batman impressively managed to hold his own for some time, until he realized he could break the spell by threatening Lois Lane’s life to jump-start Superman’s actual mental processes.
What’s worse than a Poison Ivy controlled Superman? How about a hero infected with Joker serum? In the New 52 story Endgame, Joker tested a new formula on the entire Justice League, which culminated in a throwdown between the two greatest heroes. While he eventually won, Batman had to burn through a lot of superhero countermeasures and still barely scraped by.
The Elseworld story of a Soviet Superman is a popular fan favorite, but one of its best moments was his fight with the Russian Batman. By taking advantage of a Red Sun weakness even Superman wasn’t aware of, the vigilante/anarchist was able to defeat the Kremlin’s demagogue and imprison him. And he would’ve gotten away with it too, if not for Wonder Woman’s intervention.
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Justice League Origin
The New 52’s first meeting between Batman and Superman took a similar direction to the new movie: A rip-roaring fight between heroes. The unexpected element here is that Superman was the aggressor, believing Batman was responsible for a series of terrorist attacks. The only way Batman could stop him was letting “Clark’s” identity slip, catching him off-guard long enough to explain the confusion.
The cover is ridiculous, but World’s Finest #143 had an interesting premise: When a bullet that bounced off Superman’s chest wounds Batman, it raises tensions between the two heroes which both ultimately agree to settle in a non-powered duel. Thankfully, the fight was broken up, they became best friends, and never fought again.
Injustice: Gods Among Us
Batman and Superman fight all the time in the Injustice universe, where Superman has become the world’s greatest dictator. After opposing his plans at every turn, Superman took the fight to the Batcave and broke Batman’s back. Which might have been the Dark Knight’s end, if Alfred didn’t consume a super soldier drug and proceed to completely wreck Superman’s day.
Lex Luthor: Man of Steel
This battle was actually pretty close to what Batman v Superman is going for – Lex Luthor convinces Bruce Wayne that Superman is a danger to society, prompting Batman to collect some Kryptonite. The difference is Superman wasn’t having any of that, destroying Batman’s supply from a distance before engaging the Dark Knight in combat. Superman was the clear victor, with a wounded Batman escaping to brood another day.
The Dark Knight Returns
And finally, the Batman/Superman battle that defined all Batman/Superman battles: The Dark Knight Returns. After embarrassing the American government for the last time, the President orders Superman to arrest Batman. But ever the gentleman, Supermer gave Batman a chance to prepare. The resulting fight in Crime Alley proved that the Man of Steel wasn’t as all-powerful as the DC Universe long believed, and inspired most rematches mentioned on this list.