The Dichotomy of Superman & Batman

I’ve been reading a lot of comics lately. There’s a large amount of crossover of Superman into Batman story lines and vice versa. So much so that series runs, crossovers, and movies have been produced featuring the two heros. The teaming up of these two caped personas isn’t a recent phenomenon. Batman was introduced to Superman in the Adventures of Superman radio program in 1945, however the two didn’t meet in the world of comics until 1952 in Superman #76.

I’ve always admired Superman’s abilities, his loyalty to the human race, and his superhero capabilities. That being said, he is a “super hero.” His powers, the ability to fly, superhuman strength, lightning speed, ice-cold breath, heat vision, etc., make him virtually invulnerable to the vast majority of villans; save those who manage to acquire a chunk of kryponite – the man of steel’s only weakness.

Batman, on the other hand, possesses no superhuman strength, heat vision, or any of the other abilities that Superman has, yet he still is a crime-fighting legend. The classic Batman (not the new-age, animated Batman Beyond Batman) relies on his detective abilities, peak physical condition, and his wits. Granted, the 1960s Adam West Batman was fueled with campy gadgetry (let’s take a moment to remember Bat-Shark Repellent), the majority of Batman’s utility belt-based devices are smoke bombs, grappling hooks, and throwing aids.

Beyond the physical differences, the real dynamic is the psyche of the two characters. Superman is the epitome of staunch justice, almost to a fault. Being that he is never above the law, there is no grey area for him to tread on. Batman follows suite with his stance on never using a gun and never killing an enemy, but his convoluted past and self-blame for the death of his parents sometimes taints his views, not to mention the fan-voted death of Jason Todd (Robin #2).

Overall, the two characters’ personalities play well off one another, as do their differences in style/abilities when up against a villain(s). As DC continues with its New 52 series, fans of the caped crusader and the man of steel will no doubt follow with interest how the two characters’ dynamic evolves.

Okay, enough comic book academia. I’m no expert on any of this, so I’ll stick to watching Batman: Year One on Netflix.

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