It's an argument fought out on playgrounds and forum boards, at parties and in offices, with strangers and friends alike. In a fight between Batman and Superman, who would win?* Comics and essays alike have sought an answer for this, they have faced each other in almost all of the many universes of DC Comics. They have fought on television, in comics and animated films, but this Spring, they will face each other down in an live action big screen spectacle for the first time. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has been pushing out a media force of exciting trailers, and if nothing else it is sure to be an event worth seeing.
Dark Knight of Gotham City In one corner, we have Batman, guardian of Gotham City. Created in 1939 by Bob Kane and Bill Finger, Batman is a household name who has a appeared in television, movies, comics, video games, pretty much anything you can think of. His films have been nominated for awards, games have grown into their own franchises, and his influence has been felt through media since his first starring series in 1940.
In his 76 year run, many people have taken the moniker of Batman, but Bruce Wayne is the most frequent and well known secret identity. He takes into battle with him millions of dollars worth of technology, including the Batmobile, various weaponry, and, most crucially, brilliance. Batman is a master of intelligence and planning, often referred to as the 'great detective.' He is a more than capable fighter, and incredibly smart. Through his time in the Justice League, he has built a file on how to fight and defeat all his allies should they turn evil or become possessed.
Over the years he has picked up dozens of allies, even building organizations around the world to fight with the Batman name. And his compassion might be his downfall in battle. He brings in multiple allies, often children and teenagers, and cares for them sometimes to his own detriment. He has two rules in his fight to end crime and villainy: He will not use guns, and he will not kill. To this effect, his villain's gallery is expansive, and recurring.
Guardian of Earth In the other corner, we have Superman, defender of Earth and Man of Steel. Superman was first published in 1938 by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, one of the first iconic superheroes in America. Superman is one of the most recognizable figures across the world, his iconic S emblem needs no explanation. And he has had his own film franchises, video games, animated features and shows, television and radio dramas, portrayed consistently in popular media since his inception.
What hasn't been consistent is his power set. He has always been the alter ego of Kal-el, sent from the dying planet Krypton, adopted as Clark Kent, and a mild mannered Journalist. His most common power is super strength and resistance to bullets, but he has had everything from super speed to flight to laser vision, to the inexplicable ability to fly so quickly that he reverses time. In most of his appearances, though, he is invulnerable, possessing superior strength and speed, and the ability to fly. But even these abilities are expanded, or tempered, depending on the writer, or the film, in question.
Superman derives his power from Earth's yellow sun, so taking him away from his own universe can mitigate some of his God-like abilities. He is also weak to the element Kryptonite, a holdover from his destroyed former planet. While his villains are not as pervasive as Batman's, characters like Lex Luthor and Doomsday tend to be more persistent, and in other timelines, have succeeded in killing the Man of Steel. And Superman, too, has a rule against killing. Often, not only is Superman a fighter, defending his found home, but he is compassionate and kind.
Justice League Legends More often than not, Batman and Superman are allies. They share the same goals, stopping criminals and defending the Earth. They are both strong, capable heroes, inspiring generation after generation to do good and to be strong. They serve as leaders of DC's Justice League, and are some of the most recognizable figures in media.
But in an all out brawl, who do you think will win? Who do you think will reign supreme in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice? Are you excited about a DC Cinematic Universe?
*Batman. He has a plan for defeating literally everyone, even the Marvel cast of heroes, because of a crossover event. Should he know the fight is incoming, he would win. Should he be caught off guard, he probably still has a contingency plan. In most, if not all realities, Batman wins.