In the 1930s two characters appeared in comic literature that became icons of pop culture. Batman and Superman are the golden boys of DC comics and are considered the most popular of all superheroes. Being around for over seventy years these two have acquired a near endless fan base of all ages. The two kings of comics have often been portrayed as allies, though they have different views on situations. The argument of who is truly the better hero has been around since their creation. To compare these two juggernauts we must look at their defining traits; origin of the hero, their alter egos, and of course their strengths and weaknesses.
First let us look at the man of steel, Superman was born on the planet krypton. Krypton was a planet that was destined for destruction, knowing this Superman’s birth parents sent the infant superman on a space ship bound for earth moments before the planets destruction. Crash landing near Smallville, Kansas, Superman was found by Jonathan and Martha Kent. Jonathan and Martha Kent gave the boy the name Clark Kent and raised him as a normal Earth child. Much of Supermans origin is based around him controlling his godlike powers.
Being raised by a farming family shaped Superman with the idea that if he had these powers than it was his responsibility to stop the evil in the world. The Caped Crusader has a much darker twist on his origin than the Man of Steel. Batman was born in Gotham City, a bleak crime infested city that seems to attract the worst criminals. Bruce was born into a wealthy family and lived a normal life until his parents were murdered in a back alley mugging. Having witnessed the crime this shaped and twisted the young boy with hate and revenge.
Having an endless fortune Bruce was able to train and develop skills to rid Gotham City of crime. With help from the family butler, Alfred, Bruce developed the persona of The Batman. Unlike Superman’s idea of responsibility Batman seems more driven by revenge. Although Superman’s virtue of responsibility takes precedence he seems to long for an average life. After superman left Smallville he kept the persona of Clark Kent and moved to Metropolis. In Metropolis Clark takes the role of a mild mannered reporter for the daily planet. Clark appears to play the role of a clumsy fool to hide his superhero identity.
The biggest reason for superman to have the identity of Clark Kent is for his love interest, Louis Lane. Louis who also works for the daily planet is hidden from superman’s identity in most cases. To hide his identity superman wears glasses and removes his spit curl when he assumes the identity of Clark Kent. Although this doesn’t seem like much Clark plays a goofy clumsy role that is far from Superman’s proud immovable stature. While Clark Kent plays the role of average reporter, Bruce Wayne continues his family’s business and looks the part of a typically billionaire playboy philanthropist.
While the Batman persona is dark and twisted, Bruce seems to have a lighter side and is often seen donating to charities. Bruce often uses his wealth and power for political gain that he uses to see crime lords put behind bars. Although Bruce often does charities and political events a large piece of his fortune is used to fund the Batman’s expensive work. Bruce resides in Wayne Manor where he spends the majority of his time with his trusted family butler Alfred that often guides Bruce in the right direction. Alfred not only assist Bruce but The Batman as well.
Bruce’s wealth directly contributes to The Batman’s abilities While Clark Kent lives on a reporter’s salary his strength comes from being from an alien race. His Kryptonian biology allows him to absorb yellow sunlight, this fuels his abilities. Earth also has less gravity than that of krypton giving The Man of Steel much greater strength and speed. Superman’s powers are near endless giving him a tremendous advantage on those he faces. Superman’s natural powers include: flight, super strength, super speed, heat vision, x-ray vision, and near invulnerability to most physical attacks.
Now while superman has been portrayed as a brute this is not the case, he also has a genius level IQ and a photographic memory that have helped him in many situations. There is no argument that his powers are great but being Kryptonian leaves him vulnerable to many things. Superman’s most popular weakness is Kryptonite, a green glowing rock that gives off radiation that makes the crime fighter more vulnerable than that of normal human. Superman also is weak to radiation given off by a red sun. This radiation has often been artificially created to weaken Superman by his arch enemy Lex Luthor.
While these two weakness can physically harm Superman his biggest weakness is in the love and compassion he has for all life but especially that of Louis Lane. Superman has shown affection for Louis Lane that has put her in great danger and he will do nothing that will endanger her further. Superman will not take the life of anyone under any circumstance which is also considered a weakness to many of his enemies. Superman considers this a strength that if he were to kill he would be no better than those he faces. Like His Counterpart, Batman will also not kill.
Batman has been forced to kill under circumstances where more lives have been saved in some text. Having this attitude already gives batman an advantage on Superman. While Batman has no superhuman abilities, through hard work he has trained himself to be a master of martial arts. Due to his limitless wealth Batman has an array of gadgets that assist him in crime fighting. Batman often buys military grade technology such as his Batmobile that make him a force to be reckoned with. As Dark and solitary as Batman seems he travels outside of this cliche and recruits help from invaluable allies such as Robin and Bat Girl.
Out of his Allies Alfred seems to be his most trusted and is skilled with great knowledge including technology and medical assistance. Like Superman, Batman has a love life. Unlike Superman Batman falls in love with criminals like Catwoman and although he loves her Batman has put her behind bars for her crimes. Batman’s dedication to justice seems to be pure and will not break from his path. Batman is an ordinary human, this leaves him vulnerable to almost anything, and fortunately he counters this with his greatest strength.
Batman great detective and strategist skills make him have a plan for every situation including fighting the Man of Steel himself. Both of these titans of the superhero world stand alone at the top of their food chains, and we may never know who is truly better. They provide a balance between each other, while the Dark Knight is cold and calculated The Man of Steel is caring and protective. These two icons are near incomparable they have different styles that are fit specifically to them. On Certain points Superman leads while others Batman. In the end both heroes share the pedestal as the best the comic world has to offer.