Superheroes have been a prevalent part of my life, leaving me begging for sequels and fostering my brother’s love for the comics. Superheroes have also been a huge part of our society as each blockbuster progressively makes more money at the box office. Two heroes who have always been in the spotlight are Superman and Batman. Both in comics and in real life, there has been a debate about which is the better hero.
Category One: Powers and Abilities
It’s hard for Superman not to have this in the bag. He is so powerful. Although he did not have powers on his birth planet Krypton, a planet with a red sun verse our yellow sun, once he arrived on Earth, he found himself with his God-like powers. With flight, super-strength, x-ray vision, heat vision, freezing-y breath, super tough skin, super hearing, and super speed, he is a powerhouse, even compared to other people with powers. His powers make it hard for comic book writers to put him up against any mortal enemy when the paring would be brute force vs. brute force because there is little way for him not to win.
Batman is powerless, but his lack of superhuman abilities does not define his heroism. He is a martial artist, acrobat and the World’s Greatest Detective, allegedly. He is an underdog story as he mostly taught himself how to be a hero by using heroism as a way to cope with the loss of his parents. He developed his gear, in the beginning at least, and focused on what he needed to learn in order to be the best crime fighter that he could.
Point: Superman—Batman can’t compare when it comes to Superman’s powers.
Category Two: Relatability
Superman is a heroic symbol. He uses his powers for good, but that’s also what singles him out and makes him not relatable. He was born with his God-like powers, so using them is just like using a body part. Little to no change was needed for him to make the transition from civilian to hero. Even though he holds innate powers, Superman often gets new powers to defeat his problem at hand. His powers might give him a leg up in the crime-fighting business, but they don’t help make him relatable.
Batman is entirely mortal. When tragedy struck, he overcame odds and became a hero. He was scared of bats as a kid, but he knew he had to overcome his fear to become a hero. He overcame his fear. As a result, he became someone who selflessly fought crime to help people rather than for personal gain such as money. He shows that anyone can overcome fear and, against all odds, become a hero. As Batman deals with issues without anything besides his wit and training, he comes up with solutions by using his intelligence and instincts to solve problems. Since he comes from a human background, people can relate to his struggles. Batman is a role model showing that regular people can achieve their goals if they put their mind to it.
Point: Batman—Superman is too far from the norm to match up with Batman’s humanity.
Category Three: Character
Superman is such a goody-two-shoes and lacks real character development. He solves most of his issues with the positive attitude that Ma Kent instilled in him. His many powers allow him not to worry too much about how to deal with problems because he already would know of a solution. Superman never dealt with darker issues that Batman faced, so superman doesn’t have deep character. In fact, if you take powers away from Superman, he’s just Mild-Mannered Clark Kent. He’s adorable and kind of dull, but he has no character. He wouldn’t be someone to write about without his abilities. Superman may seem perfect, but sometimes perfect isn’t what people want.
Batman has flaws. That might seem negative, but it shows character. As he doesn’t share Superman’s unwavering morals, Batman struggles with choices with which crime fighters would deal. He has to stop himself from killing the Joker, his worst enemy who killed those he loved and tortured him in countless ways. He deals with the darkness inside of him on a daily basis. His personality and his internal issues keep him interesting. The problems he grapples with show his personality and development. People are able to see how he changes and learns over time.
Point: Batman— Batman has much more character than Superman.
Category Four: Reputation
Superman is an angel, both as Superman and his alter-ego Clark Kent. Clark Kent is a true sweetheart. While he might be a little corny at times, he is polite and caring and a true gentleman. Ma Kent made sure that he was respectful and kind and he’s a genuinely good person. He symbolizes hope and justice and serves as an icon, both as Superman and Clark Kent.
Batman fights to rid crime from Gotham, but he’s a vigilante. He not only fights against evil but also makes choices against the law. His tactics are brutal, and he has more of a personal vendetta than Superman. He fights crime to help the people of Gotham, but he is a symbol of fear. Since he is going against the law, uses brutal methods, and does not share a reputation of goodness with Superman, he does not have a great reputation.
Point: Superman—Superman’s outstanding morals beat out Batman’s use of fear.
Category Five: Story Arc/interest
It’s pretty obvious why one would think that Superman could win any fight, but even when he loses, he can turn back time and do it again. In the original “Superman” movies, Lex Luthor successfully fires several bombs, which kill Superman’s love interest, Lois Lane. Rather than just learning how to live without the girl whom he only knew for a few weeks, he turned back time and didn’t face any consequences because of it. No matter what villains Superman is put up against, he can just use one of his many powers to defeat them. He may face challenges, but his capacity to win triumphs.
Some people feel as though they must root for Batman. Batman doesn’t hold certainty that he will win any fight. In fact, on numerous occasions, he doesn’t win. His story began in loss as he couldn’t save his parents. On his missions, there is always a shadow of doubt that he won’t win that gives the story mystery and dimension because people are left wondering if he will win.
Point: Batman—Batman has much more suspense as he doesn’t have a set outcome.
BONUS ROUND: Weakness
Superman’s one main weakness is Kryptonite, a rock which both takes away his powers and injures him when he’s near it. He also can’t see through lead with his x-ray vision, a point that doesn’t seem like much of a weakness given how most people can’t see through any material, but his inability to see through lead makes it easy to hide kryptonite or use it as a sneak attack. In the original Superman movie, he tells Lois Lane, a reporter, about his inability to see through lead, a fact that she publishes and leads to Superman’s defeat. He may only have one weakness, but it’s a weakness takes him out completely.
Batman doesn’t have any extraneous weakness because he has human weaknesses. Bullets, blades and punches damage him as much as they damage the next person. While he has trained himself to have a higher pain tolerance and he has many suits to protect him from various attacks, the more armored outfits make it harder for him to move and fight, so he usually wears a less padded outfit. Therefore, he can be injured like any human. He might not have one thing that would take him out entirely, but there are many different ways in which he could be neutralized due to his humanity.
Final Point: You decide as well! What’s your take on Superman vs. Batman? Comment down below!