Saturday, March 19, 2016

How Does Batman Solve a Problem Like Superman?

Next week is the much anticipated release of Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice featuring the debut of Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne, aka Batman going up against Henry Cavill returning as Clark Kent, aka Superman.  A couple of years back in the film Man of Steel, Superman made his big debut on Earth via a super slugfest with General Zod and other evil Kryptonians. It was a slugfest that resulted in a LOT of collateral damage and a disturbingly high death toll. Among the damages and the death was an office building full of Bruce Wayne's employees. So Bruce is pissed at Superman and, as Batman, thinks he can do something about that.

The idea of Batman going up against Superman is something that has sparked the imaginations of comic book readers and creators for nearly 7 decades. Yes, Superman is, well, super. He has super strength, super speed, he can fly, he has heat vision, he’s in invulnerable, he can see through walls, he can hear a heartbeat on the other side of the planet, he has minty fresh super cold breath.  

Meanwhile, Batman is just this dude, you know. Yeah but he’s one of the world’s richest dudes who has trained himself mentally and physically to peak human condition. Batman is the ultimate fighter, detective, scientist, tactician, strategist, inventor, engineer and he knows how to work that whole Bat motif to scare the bejeebers outta bad guys and not so bad guys.

Super-human vs. ultimate human. It is a tantalizing match up.

Still, for all of the Batman’s advantages, we’re still talking about going up against a guy who can break every bone in your body with a flick of his fingers. How then does Batman have a chance against Superman?

  1. Kryptonite. The element from Superman’s own home planet that can hurt him and ultimately kill him. Batman is certainly smart enough to get hold of a chunk of the green stuff unless it’s one of those continuities where Batman and Superman are friends (for at least awhile) and Superman actually hands over a piece of Kryptonite to Batman to use against Superman just in case Supes ever went batshit (excuse the pun) crazy.
  2. Mind control. Not that Batman has mind control powers but Batman has gone up against Superman when Supes has been mind controlled by others. Typically, a mind controlled Superman is generally portrayed as not being completely working at peak efficiency which gives Batman an edge.
  3. Planning. This is the most important key to Batman having a chance against Superman. Batman’s smart and given time to plan in advance, he can stack the odds in his favor with gimmicks, tricks and traps that can give Superman a run for his money. In Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, it’s a high level of meticulous planning that puts Batman in contention with Superman.

It is to be noted that in most circumstances where Batman goes up against Superman, Batman doesn’t necessarily win. Even with a combination of Kryptonite, mind control and planning (as seen in the Bats/Supes battle in the Jeph Loeb/Jim Lee storyline, Hush), if he’s lucky, Batman can hold Superman to a draw.

There was one time when Batman went after Superman with none of the aforementioned advantages. It was in the aftermath of the Death in the Family storyline where the 2nd Robin, Jason Todd, was killed. (He got better.) Batman, in a moment of anger, straight up punches Superman. Batman breaks several bones in his hand which could’ve been worse if Superman hadn’t rolled with the punch.

Years after that event, Batman had reason to be mad at Superman but was smart enough not to punch him. No, he blasted Superman with a barrage of rockets from his Batplane. It didn’t hurt Superman and I supposed Batman may have felt better until he remembered how much those Bat-rockets cost.

Anyway, next week is the chance to see Batman and Superman go mano e mano up on the big screen. I’m holding my expectations to “please don’t completely suck”.

Thanks for reading. I’ll be back with a new Doctor Who post tomorrow. Until then, remember to be good to one another.


I’m So Glad My Suffering Amuses You

For more classic blog-time fun, click here for last year's Batman vs. Superman post.  

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