Two iconic characters in capes rocketed the comic-book industry into the American mainstream: Superman and Batman, twin pop-culture monuments who, though born in the late ’30s, still reign ageless. And Friday (March 25), these Spandex heavyweights will go (Super-)mano a (Bat-)mano for the first time on the big screen, in director Zack Snyder’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”
So who has the edge in this epic showdown of DC Comics’ most popular warriors? Sure, Superman is the stronger combatant, but don’t think Batman doesn’t have something in his utility belt to counter him. To weigh their pros and cons, here’s our tale of the tape:
Batman: Bruce Wayne.
Advantage: Superman, with a name so distinctive, fan Nicolas Cage even tagged his son with it.
OFFICIAL CHARACTER HEIGHT
OFFICIAL CHARACTER WEIGHT
Superman: 235 pounds.
Batman: 210 pounds.
Advantage: Depends of weight of Batman’s gadget-laced utility belt.
Superman: Signature S-curl.
Batman: Potential “helmet hair” from the cowl.
Superman: Chest-spanning “S.”
Batman: Fear-inducing black bat.
Advantage: Batman. The “Bat-Signal” looks impressive projected into the midnight skies over Gotham.
Superman: Bumbling, stumbling newspaper reporter Clark Kent.
Batman: Billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne.
Advantage: Superman — those media connections pay off in times of trouble.
ICONIC CRASH PAD
Superman: Icy “Fortress of Solitude.”
Batman: Dank, subterranean “Batcave.”
Advantage: Batman — better manservants.
Superman: Earnest do-gooder (aka “The Big Blue Boy Scout”).
Batman: Dark, moody, tortured vigilante.
Advantage: Superman. Batman’s a real downer as a plus-one.
Superman: The infant Kal-El’s parents rocketed him away in a capsule like a cosmos-Moses (“cos-Moses”?) before they died in the explosion of home planet Krypton.
Batman: Young Bruce Wayne saw his parents murdered before his eyes, while old enough to remember the psyche-scarring event.
Advantage for lifelong mental torture as compelling narrative: Batman.
Superman: Super-flight, super-speed, super-hearing, super-intelligence, super-near-invulnerability, super-heat vision.
Batman: Hand-to-hand combat, a street fighter’s hard-won guile.
Superman: Kryptonite radiation, love of humanity.
Batman: No actual superpower, Catwoman’s feline allure.
Superman: Usually works alone.
Batman: Most often with Robin, the Boy Wonder.
Advantage: Superman. Poor, ever-grieving Batman has had to endure too many sidekick deaths by nefarious means.
Superman: Lex Luthor, Brainiac, Bizarro, Zod.
Batman: Joker, Riddler, Penguin, Bane, Ra’s al Ghul.
Advantage: Batman — arguably the greatest rogues’ gallery in comics history.
Superman: Nerdy, outsidery Canadian/Cleveland boys in the ’30s (Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster).
Batman: Streetwise, outsidery New York lads in the ’30s (Bob Kane and Bill Finger).
Advantage: You pick.
OSCAR NOMINATIONS AMONG BIG-SCREEN ACTORS
Superman: Reeve, Routh, Cavill et al.= zero.
Batman: Keaton, Clooney, Bale, Affleck = 14.
Superman: John Williams’ triumphant horns in the original films.
Batman: Hans Zimmer’s Dolby-splitting bass synthesizers in the Christopher Nolan films.
Advantage: Depends on the darkness of your mortal soul.
Superman: Flying a charmed Lois through the gentle evening sky.
Batman: Getting face-licked by a villainous, leather-loving Catwoman.
Advantage: You pick — this one says more about you.
Superman: Memorably slain by a monster named Doomsday (before inevitable resurrection).
Batman: Flatlined by Darkseid (before inevitably cheating death via time travel).
Advantage: Superman — he “revived” much more quickly.
Superman: “Truth, justice and the American way.”
Batman: “And I swear by the spirits of my parents to avenge their deaths by spending the rest of my life warring on all criminals.”
Advantage: Superman’s for bumper sticker; Batman’s for eight-decade narrative.