It is ironic that the battles comic book aficionados want to see most are between friends. Batman hates the Joker: this is a given. Superman hates Nazis: duh. But what would happen if Batman fought Superman? What would be the outcome of this nerdy battle royale?
I’m not interested. What does interest me is how differently these superheroes approach their gigs. Although they have the same mission (fightin’ evil), that is where the similarity ends.
It is well known that Batman and Superman are, at best, frenemies. Batman thinks Superman is a lousy showoff (think: Kanye West), and Superman thinks of Batman as an outlaw (think: Jesse James). They also have the exact opposite taste in fashion. Superman prefers loud, bright colors while Batman steps out into the Gotham night in muted blues and grays. It’s perhaps inevitable, then, that when these titans meet, there will be blood.
Metropolis. This bright Los Angeles of comic book cities plays host to alien Kal-El. By day he pretends to be dorky Clark Kent, newspaper reporter. Also by day he is Superman, the Man of Steel, who saves the city from all manner of villainy.
Superman inflicts countless millions of dollars in property damage in his never-ending battle to rid the universe of evil. Metropolis cannot lure a single pro sports team due to the fear that a giant robot, searching for Superman, will destroy every player on the field. This is more frustrating to Metropolans than having the Cleveland Indians as your home team.
Gotham, a rat-infested hellhole (Phoenix? Detroit?), can’t really be hurt by a man dressing up as a giant bat. Any building Batman enters is condemned or abandoned, so he really can’t do anything to make the value go down. Also, Batman doesn’t attract the kind of world-domination villains Superman does. Batman attracts the psychopaths, the lunatics. Do you want to dress up as the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland and play out your weird sexual fantasies? Go to Gotham. Are you a 500-foot-tall squid monster who eats babies by the truckload? Go to Metropolis.
Batman is Bruce Wayne by day. The millionaire playboy has to be an easy part to play, since Batman runs on about 30 minutes of sleep per night. He literally couldn’t function as a character who required specialized skills or social graces. Bruce Wayne basically shows up at a board meeting, bottle of Jameson in hand, and proceeds to burp his way through the presentation. Then Alfred picks him up so he can make a fool of himself in public (a fancy hotel or a political fundraiser), then back to Wayne Manor. Then the real work can begin.
As a regular human being, Batman stretches himself to the limit. Superman, on the other hand, is an almost indestructible alien who gets his power from the sun. Batman needs to stop and eat at least twice a day.
Superman fights crime for the joy of it. He doesn’t really need to do it, he just feels the moral imperative. Batman, on the other hand, witnessed his parents murdered at gunpoint when he was a child. Batman hates guns and criminals; it’s personal.
Batman has had to learn how to fight so as not to get himself seriously injured. He also has to be a cop, a detective and a scientist to solve crimes. Superman just looks for the fire and flies over to put it out.
No matter what the villain, Superman uses the same tactic to defeat it. Cyborg? Punch it in the face. Squid monster? Punch it in the face. Woman who thinks The Shawshank Redemption is better than Citizen Kane? Punch her in the face. Yes, Superman will hit a girl.
This post will do nothing to put the Batman/Superman debate to rest. What I do hope is that it has shed some light onto why this blogger thinks Batman is, like, a billion times cooler than Superman. Batman, if you’re out there, Falling Rock has your back.