Batman is a bad ass. Even in his hokiest outings or silliest outfits, he’s been dedicated to the cause of justice from day one. Now, with today being Batman Day, let us take a moment to remember five times The Dark Knight was the world’s baddest wildcard.
5. When he single-handedly defeated the Hyperclan. When a mysterious “superhero” collective known as The Hyperclan show up to Earth, it’s Batman who saves the day all by his lonesome, since the other JLA members all get themselves captured. Once he figures out that the Hyperclan is really a villainous crew of White Martians with a serious weakness for fire—something he deduces following their refusal to investigate the burning remains of his downed Batplane—Batman goes old-school fury and shows up with matches and gasoline.
4. When he climbed out of his own grave, still sane. Forcing Batman to acknowledge his backup personality called “Batman of Zur-En-Arrh” and evaluate if Bat-Mite is a figment of his imagination and sign of his departing sense of reason, Doctor Hurt and his Black Glove crew put Batman through the ringer, to say the least. It also turns out Bat’s lady friend is a pretty treacherous villain and there’s a plot to expose his deceased parents as perverted drug addicts. If that wasn’t enough—and it apparently wasn’t—Batman wakes up buried alive in a coffin wearing a straightjacket. The idea is to deprive him of oxygen and then release him upon the world totally mad/devoid of anything resembling a conscious or decision-making process, all of which is part of a wild game that Hurt has organized to allow wealthy folk to wager on Batman’s outcome. But Gotham’s greatest detective focuses his mind, sharpens his resolve, and escapes the straightjacket and coffin to return and stop their nefarious plan.
3. When he traveled through time and stopped reality from collapsing. After being hit by Omega Beams by Darkseid and sent back to the Neanderthal era, Batman barrels/jumps forward in time, evolving from caveman to puritan to pirate to cowboy to noirish detective. Before he arrives modern-day Gotham, though, to once again take up the cape and cowl, he visits the Vanishing Point fortress that contains all history of existence. When he discovers that Darkseid wanted the Dark Knight to pretty much destroy reality upon his 21st Century return, having built up an absurd amount of ruinuous Omega Energy in his time travels, Batman springs into insane action by letting a hyper-dimensional monster possess his body and then have his heart stop beating.
2. When he infamously laughed. While Bruce Wayne cackles up a storm like a handsome goon, in what is often a charade, Batman is almost constantly pensive and stony. Dark narrations weave through his head daily, he fears Gotham and the world are continually falling into greater evil, and he’s always dwelling on what set him on his righteous loner path, his parents’ alleyway murder. So, for a man full of tropes, the fact that he laughs at The Joker’s joke, after the Clown Prince of Crime tortured Commissioner Gordon and shot his daughter, is bewildering and unsettling. Then, making the surreal moment even more mystifying, there’s now the debate that maybe Batman strangled The Joker to death shortly after that physically tiny, symbolically gigantic, smirk, breaking his iron-clad no-killing policy. Even with a simple code of what makes him Batman, it proved he could surprise you (and that he’s definitely kind of unstable).
1. Whenever we have the inevitable Batman vs. Superman debate. This debate should largely come down to if it’s scheduled or not, and nobody ever really establishes that. Everyone who believes Superman would win seems to be under the impression that Superman pretty much just dive-bombs Bruce Wayne right after a shareholder’s meeting or something (because Superman is obviously stronger than Batman), and everyone who believes Batman would win treats it like the real “Fight of the Century,” as if the two agree to show up to Madison Square Garden and brawl (because Batman is obviously smarter than Superman).
Here’s the thing, though: It doesn’t really matter if it’s scheduled or not, because Batman would never—well, in theory anyway—be unprepared. I mean, this is a man who has records of every Justice League member’s weaknesses, just in case. I suppose that’s what happens when you’re often the lone guy in a room full of aliens, demigods, and humans in other-worldly tech.
The naive boy scout meets all-powerful leader identity in Superman has often struck a chord of uneasy with Batman. It doesn’t help that Superman’s been brainwashed by Darkseid, infected into basically becoming Doomsday, and mind-controlled by Poison Ivy, among the many times the broad-shouldered alien’s mind or body has been easily warped.
However, naturally, Batman has not always come out victorious, but in this debate, for it to even be anything beyond two people yelling at each other, we have to assume that 1) it’s not an alternate universe, 2) Batman and Superman have long known each other. And if that’s the case, Batman will be prepared, and he will win.
Happy Batman Day!