With the newest trailer for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice hitting the interwebs, anticipation for the 2016 film is reaching a fever pitch. For real, watch the trailer below.
See? Pretty awesome, despite the fact that Doomsday kinda looks like a Goomba from the live-action Super Mario Bros. film. As the movie edges closer to assaulting our eyeballs with awesomeness, DC Comics has released a collection of some of the biggest brouhahas between the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel in Batman vs. Superman: The Greatest Battles. Below are just a smattering of the scuffles from Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent’s shared complicated history that DC included in the paperback.
Batman #612, “The Battle” from the storyline “Hush”
While fans might argue back and forth as to whether Batman could truly whip Superman’s ass or vice versa, creators Jim Lee and Jeph Loeb tackled what would happen if a Man of Steel, unrestrained by moral limits, unleashed the full force of his might on the Masked Manhunter. Sorta. In the middle of Lee and Loeb’s “Hush” storyline, Batman foe Poison Ivy uses a chemical cocktail to make Superman under her thrall and control his mind, then siccing him on the Caped Crusader. The only thing keeping Bruce Wayne alive is throwing every trick he has at the unstoppable force that is the last Kryptonian, as well as the knowledge that “deep down, Clark’s essentially a good person.” Batman realizes that Superman is doing all can to fight Ivy and restrain himself from murdering Bruce; as such, he employs a captive Lois Lane to try to shake the effects of the chemical mind control. While the battle does not truly show two warriors on equal footing, the episode showcases some of the best qualities of both men in the process.
Man of Steel #3, “One Night in Gotham City”
Back in the mid-1980s when DC Comics rebooted its series line and stories in its Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover event, writer/artist John Byrne took the helm of the title Man of Steel, detailing the all-new stories of a revamped Last Son of Krypton. In “One Night in Gotham City,” Byrne tells the tale of Clark’s first meeting with Batman post-Crisis, which shows the duo going after the villain Magpie. While that battle was a bit lackluster, the real meat of the story is how Supes and Bats constantly size up one another during that first encounter. While in the pre-Crisis yarns, Superman and Batman were best buds, Byrne sets up a status quo of two heroes who don’t necessarily like one another, but have a respect for one another’s work, a framework that would last for decades to come.
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Book IV: “The Dark Knight Falls”
This book probably has had the most lasting impact on the Batman/Superman dynamic of any comic published following its publication 30 years ago. Creator Frank Miller sets up a relationship between the World’s Finest heroes in which their respective personal paradigms of justice are diametrically opposed to one another, with Superman acting as a government flunky for the greater good, while the Dark Knight operates outside the law, refusing to compromise his ethics. This difference comes to a head in this alternate future tale when the Man of Steel is charged by the President of the United States to bring in the Caped Crusader, freshly out of superhero retirement, for what the POTUS sees as Batman’s flagrant breaking of the law. During their climactic battle, Bruce Wayne’s internal monologue suggests that he has little respect for Clark Kent’s heroics for using powers that are genetic and not earned. While the two have since been shown to have a respectful, although sometimes tentative, friendship, this issue, more than nearly any since released, has sparked debate among fans of the heroes, both on which hero could defeat the other and which do-gooder deserves the most respect.
Batman vs. Superman: The Greatest Battles, by enough creators to fill a Batcave, is in stores now. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice hits theaters on March 25, 2016.