David vs. Goliath, Coke vs. Pepsi and Fortnite vs. Player Unknown's Battlegrounds – all paltry slap fights between shrieking jabronies wearing water wings when compared to the greatest rivalry of all time, Batman vs. Superman. For eons, grade school children and Omega-Class nerds have pondered upon the greatest philosophical debate of all time: "Who would win in a fight: Batman or Superman?" In one corner, you have the standard for what a superhero should be, standing for truth, justice and the American Way since 1938. In the other corner you have Batman – a trillionaire who secretly spends his nights dressing up as a flying rodent to throw bat-shaped knives at the criminally insane – who is DC's best superhero.
In the name of bettering mankind, we've scoured pop culture for nearly every instance of Batman and Superman going Worldstar on one another. To mix things up, we're qualifying every single incarnation and instance of Batman and Superman throwing hands for this piece, whether they hail from comics, movies, video games or alternate "Mirror, Mirror" style evil alternate dimensions. Entries are primarily ranked based on the abject dopeness of the fight in question!
20 SUPERMAN: SACRIFICE
"Superman: Sacrifice" by Greg Rucka, Gail Simone, Mark Verheiden, et al. is the absolute worst Batman vs. Superman fight of all time. So, Maxwell Lord uses his mind domination powers to manipulate Superman into doing his bidding. We witness these hallucinations from Superman's perspective, where he's railroaded into fighting Brainiac and/or Darkseid in scenarios that just scream "you are in a dream sequence, you big dummy." When Superman exits these hallucinations he has blood on his hands, specifically Batman-blood. Yep, Superman almost fatally punched Batman's face in during these hallucinations.
Wait. Who thought that we'd rather watch Superman fight Brainiac for the umpteenth time instead of ruthless beating Batman? Show us that sweet action.
19 THE FUED BETWEEN BATMAN AND SUPERMAN
When a bullet ricochets off of Superman and strikes Batman, the caped crusader quits crimefighting forever in 1964's World's Finest Comics #143. To help Batman get his groove back, Superman arranges a fake menace for Batman to fight in the bottle city of Kandor.
Uncovering Superman's ruse, an emasculated Batman strikes Superman in the face, prompting the traditional Kryptonian trial by combat...with nerf swords. Yeah, despite being the focus of this comic's cover, the actual fight lasts for three panels, with Batman winning with a single strike of a stun sword. If we had a listicle for "15 Comic Covers That Double As False Advertising," this issue would be up there.
An encounter with a magic amulet causes Batman and Superman to swap powers in "Super/Bat" from Superman/Batman #53-56 by Michael Green, Mike Johnson and Rags Morales. Bearing Superman's powers, Batman finally fights all of the crime in Gotham, culminating with punching a hole through Bane before fighting crime on a global scale – all in one night! Meanwhile, a de-powered Superman hooks up with Lois Lane.
Batman immediately gets drunk on power, slamming Catwoman and beating Nightwing within an inch of his life. Superman throws on an ugly customized Bat-suit to goad Bruce into a fight using visions of his departed parents. Batman justifiably whoops Clark for that pretty messed up trap, right as Zatanna breaks the amulet's spell.
17 THE INFINITE EVOLUTIONS OF BATMAN AND SUPERMAN
Hit by the Evolution-Accelerator, Batman evolves into the form of man from 800,000 AD in World's Finest Comics #151. Now a big brained jerk, Batman hits Superman with a devolution ray, turning Superman into a caveman with an inexplicable beard.
Brainy Bat tricks Superman into exiling himself to the Pleistocene Era, wherein Superman immediately begins altering the timeline by punching giant sloths. Remembering that Batman made him stupid, Superman goes back to the future of 800,000 AD – where Batman is chilling with some nerds – to pull him back in time. Batman builds a catapult to fight some mastodons, freaks out, then rebuilds the evolution machine to turn everyone back to normal without caring about any lasting ramifications to the timeline.
16 INJUSTICE 2
After putting aside their differences to defeat Brainiac, Batman and Superman think back to simpler times before the start of the final fight in Injustice 2. What's interesting is that your choices determine who wins this fight. If you choose Batman – wearing a dope kryptonite-laced suit – you get the good ending: Superman is imprisoned in the Phantom Zone and an impressed Batman invites Supergirl into his circle of trust.
If you control Superman however, you get the super-bad ending: Superman tries to convince Supergirl into joining his regime. Otherwise, Superman would have to "convince" her utilizing retrofitted Brainiac tech to turn her into a mindless robot, demonstrated by a Brainiac-Batman shuffling onscreen.
15 THE COMPOSITE SUPERMAN
Batman and Superman must team up to prevent The Composite Superman from revealing their secret identities in World's Finest Comics #142. Technically, this is Batman and Superman fighting Batman and Superman, so it counts. Even though fighting a Batman/Superman mash-up is compelling enough on its own, Composite Superman has all of the powers of the Legion of Superheroes, because whatever. Incidentally, why "Composite Superman" and not like, "Super-Batman?"
Anyway, Composite Man gets close to beating our heroes, however he fails to recharge with the Legion statuettes that initially gave him his powers. As his powers fade, so does his memories of being Composite Superman along with Superman and Batman's secret identities. To recap: Superman and Batman won by basically doing nothing.
14 THE DARK KNIGHT STRIKES AGAIN
Superman races to the Batcave to have himself a talk with Batman, only to find his formerly imprisoned JLA teammates laying in wait in The Dark Knight Strikes Again by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley. As Batman explains, Superman has never had to be tactical due to his reliance on his powers. So, Batman hits Superman with all the tactics, including a robo-dino with Bizarro, Flash sprinkling in some sticky bombs, an arrow filled with kryptonite napalm fired by Green Arrow and a breakdancing routing held within Superman's skull courtesy of The Atom.
With a solemn "He's ready," Batman delivers the final beatdown with some kryptonite-tipped gauntlets. With Superman crumpled, Batman finishes him off: "I'm done talking. Get out of my cave."
13 SUPERMAN/BATMAN ANNUAL
Superman and Batman must fight their evil Earth-3 counterparts Ultraman and Owlman in 2006's Superman/Batman Annual #1 by Joe Kelly, Ed McGuinness, Ryan Ottley, Sean Murphy and Carlo Barberi. Oh, there's also a good version of Deathstroke who is totally Deadpool. Anyway, when Ultraman punches Superman, Ultra asks "Is it just me, or is there something really hot about this?"
Ultraman is right, as the actual fight between the two duos is told to us via exposition because "no offense, your all too human minds would just melt and drip out through your nasal cavities, turned to jelly by the power of sheer, undiluted awesomeness." Also, Superman undresses Batman at Mach 4. This is kinda the best comic, ever.
12 LEX LUTHOR: MAN OF STEEL
While having dinner with Bruce Wayne, Lex Luthor tries to convince him that Superman is an uncontrollable disaster waiting to happen in 2005's Lex Luthor: Man of Steel #3 by Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo.
As a sign of good faith, Lex gifts Bruce a piece of kryptonite, which Superman promptly blows out of Batman's hand during their first encounter. Superman humiliates Batman by using a gust of super-breath to knock him off a building, a touch of hit vision to preent Batman from grappling away and a final, solitary punch that ends the fight instantly. This crippling loss is all according to plan however, as a bruised Bruce Wayne immediately agrees to go into business with Lex.
11 JUSTICE LEAGUE: ORIGINS
The New 52 incarnations of Batman and Superman meet for the first time in 2007's Justice League Origins #1-6 by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee. Noticing that Batman has a Motherbox on him, Superman super-leaps to the conclusion that Batman must be colluding with the Motherbox-wielding Parademons. Word? Superman thinks the regular guy is working with the eldritch undead metal spider monsters? Frankly, it's a weak setup for fulfilling that trope of "Superheroes meet, superheroes fight, superheroes team up."
Batman literally throws everything in his utility belt at Superman, who is completely unaffected. If it weren't for Green Lantern's hamster-bubble protecting himself and Batman, Superman would've finished this fight in moments.
10 SUPERMAN BREAKS THE BAT
When the totalitarian Superman tracks him to the Batcave, Batman must run out the clock in order for the Bat-Computer to finish uploading the schematics for a superpower-granting pill in Injustice: Gods Among Us #36 by Tom Taylor and Mike S. Miller. While we're denied the fight that had been built up throughout Injustice, what we instead get is Batman trying to convince Superman that it's not too late to stop his regime. In response, Superman breaks Batman's spine.
Though Superman wins the fight, Batman successfully stalled long enough to complete his mission. With the pill's schematics uploaded, Alfred treats himself to the super-pill, leading to one of the most cathartic and one-sided beatdowns in comics.
9 SUPERMAN: RED SON
After his parents are "purged" for their anti-Superman sentiments, the Russian equivalent of Batman turns himself into a bat-themed symbol of anarchy to oppose the totalitarian rule of the Communist Superman in Superman: Red Son by Mark Millar, Dave Johnson and Andrew Robinson.
Tasked by Lex Luthor and the CIA to take down the Man of Soviet Steel, Batman leads Superman to some red sun lamps, delivering a haymaker that leaves the heretofore untouched despot shocked. Still trying to be humane, Batman throws Superman into a cellar, only to be freed when Wonder Woman breaks her quote-unquote unbreakable lasso. Rather than endure impromptu brain surgery to become one of Superman's "robots," Batman detonates a bomb in his lower intestines, vaporizing himself instantly.
8 BATMAN: HUSH
Catwoman and Batman have tracked Poison Ivy to Metropolis, only to discover Ivy's newfound champion in the form of Superman in Batman: Hush by Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee. Charmed by Poison Ivy, Superman tries to fight Ivy's commands to take another life, and yet Ivy's pheromones are strong enough to make Superman start the fight by literally tipping over the battlefield. Batman equips a kryptonite ring, trying as he might to keep Superman stunned with everything in his utility built.
See, Batman was just stalling for time so that Catwoman could take Lois Lane hostage. Lois slips out of Catwoman's grip, plummeting off the side of the building and snapping Superman out of Poison Ivy's control.
7 BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE
Say what you will about Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, but the titular fight itself is fire emoji. While the fight is loaded with a beautifully gratuitous amount of face-punching, it's the subtleties that make this fight special. Take the look of shock on Superman's face when Batman blocks a hit, or the fear on Batman's face when he realizes that his kryptonite grenade has worn off as Superman begins floating. Even when reloading another kryptonite grenade, Batman's hands are trembling.
Only when Batman has a boot on his neck and is winding up with his kryptonite-spear does Superman utter "Save...Martha." This gets Batman stuck in a loop, scream-asking "Why did you say that name?!" until Lois Lane intervenes.
6 BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN: PART II
Lightning cracks. Rain buffets the battlefield as Batman and Superman grapple over the fate of humanity. Screaming like a bat out of heck, Batman asks "What's your mother's name?!" to which Superman responds "Martha." Putting down his dukes Batman realizes "My mommy's name is Martha, too." Hostilities are washed away as Batman and Superman hug, cheek to cheek. This halcyon moment is fleeting however, as Batman double checks: "Wait. What's your father's name?" With a meek "Jonathan?" Superman forever shatters the bond with his former super friend.
Oh, yeah this was a scene from Batman vs. Superman: Part II, a movie within a movie seen by the Teen Titans when they go to the movies in Teen Titans Go! To The Movies. It's pretty great.
5 THE DEVASTATOR
In the alternate Earth -1, Superman runs an onslaught on humanity out of sheer boredom in Dark Nights: Batman – The Devastator by Frank Tieri and Tony S. Daniel. Wielding a kryptonite spear, Batman stands as humanity's last hope – right as his best spear-throwing arm is heat-visioned off by Superman. Nonplussed, Superman explains that he doesn't understand why people obsess over him fighting the severely underpowered Batman.
Of course, Batman knew he wouldn't be able to win this fight. After all, what's the one thing that can take down Superman? Doomsday. So, Batman triggers a specialized form of the Doomsday virus, turning himself into The Devastator. Pulling his former bff close, Devastator exhales, causing a bony spine to chest-burst out of Superman.
4 THE GALACTIC GAMBLERS
Superman and Batman must compete in "a fantastic fight to the fatal finish" for the amusement of The Galactic Gamblers in 1969's World's Finest Comics #185. Under the red sun of the planet, the two heroes are on equal footing. The competition starts out with single shot rifles, advancing to grenades before the two are given axes and shields and told to just go for it for one million dollars worth of space cash. It's honestly pretty hilarious.
As it turns out though, Superman never lost his powers. Superman had been rigging the entire competition by using his heat vision at a low intensity to beam Morse code messages directly into Batman's brain. No, we didn't know Superman could do that either.
3 THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS (ANIMATED)
Future Ronald Reagan has tasked Superman with stopping Batman's return in Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns. Since Superman agreed to meet Batman on his terms, a heavily-armored Batman has prepared to throw everything at Big Blue: an airborne missile barrage, a sonic gun and even wiring himself into Gotham's electrical grid just to get his hands on Superman.
At the most crucial moment, Batman gets a kryptonite arrow assist from Green Arrow. With Superman as his mercy, Batman delivers the biggest blow: "I want you to remember, Clark... In all the years to come... in your most private moments. I want you to remember my hand at your throat... I want you to remember the one man who beat you."
2 WORLD'S FINEST
Tracking a mobster to a Metropolis nightclub, Batman meets Superman for the first time in "World's Finest" from Superman: The Animated Series. Instead of a handshake, Batman judo throws an astonished Superman across the club. In retaliation, Superman uses his x-ray vision to peek through Batman's cowl. Batman curbs Superman however with a dime-bag of kryptonite.
Superman returns to his apartment just in time to get a call from Lois Lane, who informs Clark that they can't meet tomorrow as she will be having breakfast with Bruce Wayne. Cuckolded, Superman notices a bat-tracer stuck to his cape. Using his telescopic vision, Clark realizes that Batman has been watching him. Having now discovered Superman's secret identity, Batman executes the "Batman Thumbs Up" gif.
1 BATMAN: ENDGAME
The Joker has infected the Justice League with specialized Joker Venom, resulting in Batman in a Bat-Mech fighting for his life in "Batman: Endgame" by Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo and Danny Miki. While Batman's "Justice Buster" was designed to fight the entire League at once, Bats spared no expense for Superman, outfitting the suit with microscopic red sun knuckle-dusters, heat-vision deflecting plasma shields and thrust/thermal to counter freeze breath. Regardless, Superman still tears Bruce out of the suit in midair.
Even with Superman's hands around his throat Batman fights on, spitting a wad of kryptonite gum into Superman's eye. Plummeting, Batman determines who won this brawl: "Who wins in a fight? The answer is always the same. Neither of us."