The Dark Knight vs. The Man of Tomorrow. The Caped Crusader vs. the Last Son of Krypton. Bruce Wayne vs. Clark Kent. However it’s framed, Warner Brothers is releasing the sequel to the financially successful Man of Steel in the form of Batman vs. Superman on July 17, 2015. With the recent casting of Ben Affleck as Batman, it’s difficult to not speculate how the clash of these titans will take place.
Luckily, there is ample evidence to examine how these two heroes will come to blows. Hit the jump for Batman and Superman’s greatest brawls for a look into what scenes Zack Snyder may decide to use for his much anticipated sequel.
The Dark Knight Returns
Considered by many to be the pinnacle Batman/Superman fight, The Dark Knight Returns takes place in the distant future as an elderly Bruce Wayne returns to the cape and cowl, protecting Gotham City with a much harsher brand of justice. After a final fight with the Joker, the U.S. Government sends their number one weapon after the Dark Knight: Superman. During their city-flattening fight, with Clark seconds from defeat, Bruce self-induces a non-lethal heart attack to preserve both their lives, allowing him to return to fight crime in Gotham in secrecy.
This fight exemplifies the differing ideologies between these two heroes to a tee, with Batman using everything at his disposal to fight an unstoppable force, including Gotham’s electric grid, a Kryptonite arrow, a super powered battle suit, and, most importantly, his mind. Dark Knight Returns shows Batman as the vigilante he is, fighting outside of the law, shrouded in darkness. Conversely, Superman fights in the light as a government lackey who follows orders rather than thinks independently. While this battle does not portray Clark positively, it shows his unbreakable loyalty and his willingness to do what he believes to be the right thing, including coming to blows with his best friend.
Considering The Dark Knight Returns creator Frank Miller has been brought in as a consultant for the upcoming Man of Steel sequel, expect many aspects of TDKR’s story to seep into the movie’s screenplay.
Superman: Red Son
Written by Kick-Ass creator Mark Millar, Red Son shows us an alternate universe where Kal-El landed in the Soviet Union rather than in the U.S. under the care of Jonathan and Martha Kent. While Superman still finds himself a protector of the populace, his methods and character are vastly different from the American Way-preserving Clark Kent we know. Batman is essentially the good old Caped Crusader, only with a much more stylish hat at his disposal. This Dark Knight still loses his parents and remains a dark avenger, but his purpose is fighting crime and Superman’s regime. This fight also ends with Batman inducing a heart attack, except it is caused by a bomb surgically implanted in his chest.
Though the Superman and Batman of Red Son are worlds different from their current manifestations, there are some constants. Superman remains a powerhouse and a force to be reckoned with, his power illustrating how truly terrifying he can actually be. As was illustrated in this summer’s Man of Steel, Clark is “more powerful than a locomotive” and these powers will be put to the test when matched against Batman’s strategy. In this iteration of Batman, Bruce’s ruthlessness and strategies as a tactician are his notable attributes. Though he may not be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, give Bruce time to come up with a plan and he will find a way to do so. All of these abilities will hopefully come into play in 2015’s summer blockbuster.
This animated TV movie, released by Warner Brothers animation, finds Batman and Superman meeting for the first time with explosive results. In typical comic book fashion, the heroes come to blows at the beginning of the story due to a misunderstanding. Superman discovers Batman’s secret identity through the use of his X-ray vision, while Batman eventually does the same through sheer skill and detective work, a great way to point out the parallels and differences between these two characters. Eventually, the two join forces to fight the duo of Lex Luthor and the Joker, as the villains band together in an attempt to put an end to their respective foes.
What World’s Finest accomplishes is not only displaying the differences between these two heroes, but their respective worlds and supporting characters. Bruce Wayne is alone as head of Wayne Enterprises, globe trotting and avoiding hostile takeovers when not sprinting across rooftops in black attire, occasionally receiving a phone call from Alfred, his butler who acts as the closest thing he has to family. Clark Kent, on the other hand, is a journalist in a busy metropolitan newspaper, surrounded by coworkers who genuinely care about and respect him. At the end of Man of Steel, Clark joined the ranks of Lois Lane and Perry White at the Daily Planet, so expect them to play a significant role in Batman vs. Superman, as they had in World’s Finest.
Justice League: Tower of Babel
Written by comic creator Mark Waid, Tower of Babel finds Batman villain Ra’s Al Ghul defeating the Justice League one-by-one with plans Batman himself had created to take down his fellow superheroes in case they ever went rogue. While Superman and the rest of the Justice League do not face Batman directly, they face their own weaknesses as defined by the man they called their friend. While the Justice League comes out triumphant, they decide that Batman is no longer trustworthy enough to remain a part of the team and he is kicked out…for a few days at least.
This story best exemplifies the weakness of Batman and the strength of Superman. Batman’s trust issues forced him to create contingency plans to defeat his super-powerful cohorts without telling anyone because Bruce tends to think in worst case scenarios. Superman, on the other hand, is almost too trusting for his own good. He sees the best in people and does everything that he can to bring that out in them. Superman is an inspiration while Batman is someone to be feared. This story could also be used as a springboard for Warner Brothers’ upcoming Justice League movie, finding the team working against both external and internal threats. In fact, WB Animated used this premise for their animated direct-to-DVD feature, Justice League Doom, so the execs at WB certainly see its potential.