‘Batman V Superman’: How the Dark Knight Can Beat the Man of Steel
Throughout DC Comics history, Batman and Superman have gone toe-to-toe on multiple occasions. Whatever their reasons, the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel haven’t always been on the best of terms. On the surface, a god-like superhuman with the Man of Steel’s powers would make quick work of a billionaire in a cape and cowl; yet, Bruce Wayne is more than your usual costumed vigilante – with more than a few tricks up his sleeve. Here are 4 Ways Batman Can Beat The Man of Steel.
Weaken Superman with Kryptonite (‘Kryptonite’)
Although Superman is near-impervious to human weapons, he does have an Achilles heel: Kryptonite. Obviously, an invincible Superman wouldn’t be much fun in a fistfight, so Kryptonite is always the most likely way to even the odds. But viewers have seen Superman weakened by Kryptonite again and again – meaning Zack Snyder will need to find a new (and memorable) way for Batman to use the alien substance to his advantage.
Fortunately, Batmanís cunning has led to several delivery methods, including Kryptonite gas, a Kryptonite ring, or outright Kryptonite impalement ñ not to mention a Kryptonite-infused Arrow (courtesy of Green Arrow).
Control Superman with Threats Against Others (‘Collateral Damage’)
Superman’s vulnerability to Kryptonite is well-known – but it’s not his only weakness. Throughout comic history, Lex Luthor, Batman, and others have controlled the Man of Steel with a threat of violence against innocent lives – especially those closest to Clark Kent. In John Byrne’s “Man of Steel” origin story, Batman exploits the Kryptonian’s bleeding heart by promising that a bomb hidden somewhere in Gotham will detonate should Superman breach an invisible field around the Batsuit. He was bluffing – but Superman couldn’t take the risk.
Thatt might sound far-fetched for some versions of the superhero – Adam West’s Batman would never think of sacrificing innocents to hunt a villain or keep Superman at bay – but other versions have been less virtuous. A crueler Batman might not think twice about using Clark Kent’s love for Lois Lane, or the people of Metropolis against him. Most versions of the Batman have proven to be willing to do what their fellow heroes aren’t ñ and it could work ñ just as it did when threatening Darkseid himself (along with his entire planet) in “The Supergirl From Krypton.”
Fight Superman with Technology & Gadgets (‘Superior Technology’)
Brawn doesn’t always beat brains, and in Batman lore, brains come in two varieties: strategy and technology. Movie fans know most of Batman’s signature toys (Batarangs, Bat-vehicles, and Bat-grapple guns) but over several decades, Bruce Wayne has gone from a well-trained vigilante to a full-on tech genius – a man who out-maneuvers opponents in and out of his Batsuit, designing some of the most effective crime fighting weapons and vehicles in the entire DC Universe.
Batman employs both in Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns,” setting up Superman and Batmanís fight while utilizing a mechanized Batsuit to take on the Man of Steel. Since its introduction, the utility belt has housed laser cutters, smoke pellets, remote detonators, and even a collapsible sword – with Batmanís cowl sporting night vision, sonar detection, and instant environmental analysis via Bat Computer uplink.
An Ideological, Not Physical Victory
Achieving victory isn’t always the same as winning. And depending on the conflict, Bruce Wayne can still beat Kal-El – even if Batman loses the physical fight. In several Superman storylines, the Kryptonian refuses to be held accountable to anyone, helping or harming world governments as he sees fit. In those stories, Batman doesn’t need to crush Superman to beat him – only show the world that even a god can bleed. Comic fans saw a similar idea at play in Zack Snyder’s ‘300,’ (where a group of Spartans gave their lives to simply prove a ‘god-king’ was a mortal man), and “The Dark Knight Returns” in which Batman simply opposes a government that wields Superman like a superweapon.
The Dark Knight still ‘wins’ if he shows the people of Metropolis (and Gotham) that, together, they are not powerless against Superman – and that the Man of Steel doesn’t get to decide what’s right or wrong. If a single man can stand against a god – Kryptonite suit or not – it would make both Superman and humanity think twice.