DC Comics recently announced new series Batman/Superman, which features the return of the long-running partnership between the Dark Knight and the Man of Tomorrow. Batman/Superman will investigate the mystery behind the Batman Who Laughs' sleeper agents, characters who are being referred to as the new Secret Six that have been unknowingly tainted by BWL.
The new series is just the latest in many team-ups between two of DC's biggest characters, dating back to their first encounter in the pages of Superman #76. While their relationship hasn't always been friendly, they have had some amazing team-ups over the years, which we are going to take a closer look at today.
10 Superman/Batman Annual #1
As mentioned before, the first official comic book team-up between Batman and Superman happened in the pages of Superman #76, a quick story that featured the two characters meeting on a cruise ship. That premise doesn't sound like the best story for a first meeting between comic book legends, so it got a little revamping for the modern era.
Joe Kelly and Ed McGuinness, who were known previously for a lauded run on Marvel's first ongoing Deadpool series, told an updated version of the two heroes first meeting on a cruise ship in Superman/Batman Annual #1. The issue featured some hilarious moments between Bruce and Clark, as well as the first (retconned) time their superhero alter egos were revealed to each other.
9 World's Finest #71
World's Finest first launched in 1941, as a way to capitalize on DC Comics' two most popular heroes. The series had wonderful covers that depicted the super best friends working together on every issue, yet they never actually appeared in the same story together until World's Finest #71.
While the reason for their team-up is unremarkable in the issue (they are dealing with random diamond thieves), things are complicated when Lois sees Clark Kent changing into Superman. This leads to the first of many times the two heroes have switched costumes to keep their secret identities safe.
8 Man Of Steel #3
Crisis on Infinite Earths rebooted the entire DC Universe in 1985, also updatingand modernizing some of DC's longer-running heroes like Batman and Superman. John Byrne was responsible for bringing Superman into this new age with the Man of Steel mini-series, which included another first meeting between the World's Finest.
"One Night in Gotham City" featured Superman heading to Gotham to investigate the Dark Knight, who himself is investigating Magpie. Batman and Superman's friendly days were over in this new rebooted universe, and while the two eventually work together to solve the case, it would take years for the two to really trust each other.
7 World's Finest (1990)
In 1990, Dave Gibbon and Steve Rude released the three-issue miniseries World's Finest, which is often confused and lost among the other similarly named series and storylines. The miniseries saw the heroes forced to switch cities after their biggest villains, Joker and Lex Luthor, do the same.
Gibbon's dialogue between Bruce and Clark is full of in-jokes that perfectly capture their uneasy yet rapidly developing friendship. Plus, Steve Rude's art is a fresh and vibrant love letter to the classic heroes, which invokes nostalgia over something as simple as Clark Kent changing into Superman in the broom closet.
6 Secret Files And Origins
Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale had worked together on a few critically-acclaimed projects that individually featured both Batman and Superman. Superman For All Seasons expanded on the origin story from John Byrne's Man of Steel miniseries, while Batman: The Long Halloween and Batman: Dark Victory each explored early years in the Dark Knight's life.
The two teamed up again to visit the past of these two heroes in a 2003 Superman/Batman: Secret Files and Origins one-shot. It explored a chance encounter, as a young, grieving Bruce Wayne travels through Smallville with his butler Alfred. The short story doesn't really include a team-up, per se, but it is a touching moment between the two heroes that was later expanded on.
5 Public Enemies
Jeph Loeb spent quite a lot of time with Clark and Bruce. He teamed with a number of great artists for 2003's Superman/Batman ongoing series, which explored the two heroes' relationship as friends and superheroes (and their importance to the DC Universe as a whole).
The opening storyline featured art by Ed McGuinness and dealt with the ramifications of Lex Luthor becoming president, which almost immediately turned rotten for Superman and Batman. While the series features some great battles between the two heroes and the rest of the DC Universe, it also explores their friendship from their unique perspectives, showcasing the differences that also bring them together.
4 Batman #36-37
It's these moments of uncertainty between the two heroes that really drive home the importance of their friendship to each other, even when they don't realize it. As Batman prepared for his marriage to Catwoman in Tom King and Clay Mann's Batman series in the Rebirth era, the issue of the best man led to an interesting discussion.
The heroes each speak with their respective significant others about Bruce's hesitance to ask Superman (and Clark's refusal to bring up the subject on his end), but it's Lois Lane and Selina Kyle who are forced to make the first move as they are all brought together working a related case. This leads what may be the best modern team-up between DC's premiere heroes, Date Night.
3 Kingdom Come
Not all of the team-ups between Batman and Superman are friendly, as seen in Mark Waid and Alex Ross' iconic Kingdom Come mini-series. It takes place in the near-future of the DC Universe, following a huge shift in the status of the classic heroes and their children (who have become the next generation of beings with superpowers).
The storyline spends more time examining the fallout between Clark, Bruce, and the rest of the original heroes, but when the chips are down, Batman and Superman's ongoing respect for each other helps save the day. The series even features a touching moment between Clark, Diana, and Bruce that perfectly captures decades of love and respect between DC's Trinity.
2 Batman & Superman: World's Finest
Yet another easily confused series on this list is Batman & Superman: World's Finest, by Karl Kesel. Artists like Dave Taylor, Peter Doherty, Graham Nolan, Tom Morgan, Robert Campanella, and Sal Buscema all contributed to this 10-issue series.
The series covered the first 10 years of Batman and Superman's friendship, with each issue covering one year of that time period as the heroes meet annually to remember a fallen friend. It's an ambitious project that doesn't always deliver, but still showcases a number of important events in their respective mythology and the lengths these heroes will go to help each other.
1 Superman & Batman: Generations
Man of Steel writer John Byrne wasn't done with the Dark Knight or the Man of Tomorrow after he chronicled their first post-Crisis meeting. In 1999, Byrne released the Elseworlds tale Superman & Batman: Generations, which explored the two heroes' relationship without the sliding comic timeline, with each story taking place 10 years after the previous tale.
Over the course of the Elseworlds series (which received two sequels), the heroes' legacy was further explored, as their children carried on the eternal friendship between Superman and Batman that would so define the characters. While not in continuity, Generations features some of the most enjoyable team-ups between Batman and Superman that fans have ever seen.