The Dark Knight and Man of Steel usually team up, but this week they go head to head in the motion picture, Batman v. Superman. There are numerous examples of Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent being adversaries in the comics, either by their own free will or while being controlled by something else. Here are some recommendations of instances of when these two did not meet eye to eye that you should check out after the movie.
The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller: A story set in an alternative future, a now 55-year old Batman returns to crime fighting after Gotham has fallen to the Mutants. Superman shows up, by request of Ronald Reagan, to stop the Dark Knight in the second half of this story. An excellent story that is iconic in Batman lore, Zach Snyder has stated this book had a lot of influence on Batman v. Superman.
Justice League Vol. 1: Origin by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee: The first arc in the Justice League’s New 52 run, tells the origin of the Justice League. Batman meets Superman for the first time and battles him and Green Lantern. One of the newest entries on this list, this arc of Justice League is a fantastic starting point for anyone curious about the Justice League.
Batman: Hush by Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee: Set between issues #608-619 of Batman, this story is the first appearance of the Batman Villain Hush. In this story, Superman is controlled by one of Batman’s rogues to fight against him for a while. Though the fight is short, Jim Lee drawing a fight between Superman and Batman should not be missed. Batman: Hush is also a great place to start reading Batman in pre-new 52 continuity.
Man of Steel by John Byrne: The Man of Steel is a 6 issues limited series that tried to retell Superman’s origin for the modern age after Crisis on Infinite Earths. Usually regarded as one of the greatest Superman stories, issue 3 tells of Batman and Superman’s first meeting. They have some disagreements on each other’s viewpoints which turns into a minor confrontation. Batman forces Superman to assist him in taking down Magpie or he’ll kill someone in the city. This issue is also regarded as one of the greatest Superman/Batman stories in (old) continuity.
Superman: Red Son by Mark Millar, Dave Johnson and Kilian Plunkett: A 3 issue Elseworld story asking the question, what would the world look like if Superman crash landed in the Soviet Union instead of Kansas? Batman and Superman face off after Batman’s greatest fear about the Man of Steel (now hammer and sickle) come true and he’s now ruling the world. A great story outside of continuity that shows how Superman would be like without growing up learning about truth, justice and the American way. You can read this story without having read any other DC book and it’s a great entry into the Superman mythos.
JLA: Tower of Babel by Mark Waid and Howard Porter with Steve Scott: Batman is known for being prepared in any circumstance, but what if his contingency plan for the Justice League of America fell into the wrong hands? And how would the Justice League react knowing Batman had this plotted out the whole time? A great Justice League story from one of comic’s greatest writers, Mark Waid.
Batman: Endgame by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo: The Justice League is attacking Batman! In issue #35 of the new 52 Batman series (the first in the Endgame arc) we see the Justice League attacking Batman for seemingly no reason. Are they in control and how does Batman take care of Justice League on his own? Part of the second half of Snyder and Capullo’s run on Batman, this could read fine on it’s own but I would recommend reading from the beginning of their run to gain the full effect of this storyline.
Injustice by Tom Taylor and a numerous artists: A tie-in comic with the video game of the same name, this comic tells the story of a Superman gone rogue. He’s taken over the world after a tragic event that turn him evil. Though this started as a video game tie-in book, it’s grown to be a great elseworld’s tale about a world with an evil overlord Superman versus Batman’s resistance.
Batman/Superman Vol. 1: Cross World by Greg Pak and Jae Lee: A New 52 retelling of the “actual” first time Batman and Superman met. Though Bruce and Clark would later be friends, the first time they meet, they clash. With beautiful art by Jae Lee, this arc is one of the great entry into the Wayne and Kent story.