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A Pragmatic Look at why Batman is superior to Superman

April 10, 2013

I am a giant fan of the Dark Knight. Let me just get that out there in the open. This post is going to avoid all opinions and strictly stay with the facts. Empirically, many think that Superman is the superior hero. At first glance it would make sense, he is the last son of Krypton and he kind of has any power that he needs whenever he wants them (looking at you DC, why in the hell would he be able to throw the logo on his suit?! but I’m off topic). While Batman is a human with no powers, nada.

My first assertion as to why Batman is the superior hero should be enough to settle the whole damn thing, but I’ll provide more anyway. This is because the other members of the Justice League fear him. Literally piss themselves when he is around. Why is this? Why are god-like heroes afraid of someone who is not as strong as them? As long lived as them? As fast as them? Its because Batman could take out the JLA in one swift motion, and the other members just have to live with that. Think I’m being biased? In JL: Doom, the enemies of the JLA get into Batman’s hard drive and find his files on the other members of the league. Using this information and the plans that the Bat created, they take them out. And I mean all of them. This means that Batman could have at any point done this himself. And once the situation is settled and peace is restored, they tell Batman that he has promise to never have contingenicies for them again. And what does he do? He quits the JLA, saying that he would not be a part of a group that felt they were above the laws they enforce. 

Second, when Batman and Superman have fought hand to hand, the Great Detective won. He looked Superman in the face and told him that he will remember the only human to defeat him. This happened in Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. Yea, Frank Miller, the same guy who wrote 300 and Sin City. The man kind of has weight in the world of comics. The best part about Superman losing? Batman was well into his golden years and had just come out of retirement two weeks earlier. Impressive right?

Third, costumes. And I’m not talking about looks and color schemes and that bullshit. I’m talking utility. Every part of Batman’s costume is designed to help him fight crime in one way or another. Ears on the cowl? Supersonic hearing. Cape? To help him glide across Gotham. Bullet-resistant Kevlar suit. And lets not even discuss the shit in his belt. Superman does not need the cape to fly, he’s a damn alien. And the tights? No reason besides to make everyone else around him uncomfortable. 

Forth. Rogue Galleries. Quick how many villains can you name of Superman? Did you even get Lex Luther? Now, try the same with the Bat. Still naming them off? According to IGN, Batman has five of his rogues in the top fifteen, with Joker coming in at number two, and Superman has two. And most people couldn’t even tell you who the hell he is. Its the reason why Batman games and movies sell so well and Superman is always touch and go. I’m sure half of the audience for the premiere of The Dark Knight were there not only to see the Dark Knight, but to see the Oscar winning performance of Heath Ledger. 

And my last point, alter-egos. Bruce Wayne vs Clark Kent. Which would you rather be? A struggling reporter living in a shitty apartment in Metropolis or a billionaire playboy who is also a master at martial arts and engineering. You want to come home to Lois Lane every night or have Alfred arrange a date with one of the many models who call you constantly? Yeah, tough choices.


Some will argue that IGN is a better judge than I and the fact that Superman received the number slot ahead of Batman as enough to settle the argument. And the reason why they placed him ahead of the Bat makes sense, Clark Kent is the reason all other heroes exist. They were modeled after him. But Batman has become the antithesis of Superman, using logic and wit over brawn and dumb luck. I love both of these characters, and there are few as excited to as I to see the Man of Steel this summer. But at the end of the day, my dreams are not of flying across the sky as fast as a bullet. They are of sitting in a dark cave thinking about how I defeated a god, and now he fears me.

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