Comic Book / Superman/Batman

Superman/Batman was a monthly series published by DC Comics featuring team-ups of the so-called "World's Finest Duo". The series explored the relationship between the two heroes, featuring a unique dual-narrator approach where both Superman and Batman simultaneously narrated the story with their thoughts. The series is also notable for restoring Superman and Batman to being good friends (though not to pre-Crisis levels), since John Byrne's The Man of Steel series initially rebooted the two as not getting along due to their contrasting ideals, although they still respected each other.

Notable Stories in this series:
  • The World's Finest (compiled as Public Enemies): Lex Luthor, as the President of the United States, declares the titular heroes as enemies of the state, and the duo go to depose him. This arc received an Animated Adaptation: Superman/Batman: Public Enemies.
  • The Supergirl from Krypton (compiled as Supergirl): A Kryptonite meteor that lands in Gotham is revealed to have contained Superman's cousin, Kara Zor-El, and the evil New God Darkseid targets her as a potential powerful minion. This arc introduced Kara Zor-El to Post-Crisis continuity, as she had been previously kept out of use due to a strict "Superman is the last Kryptonian" editorial mandate. The arc also received an Animated Adaptation: Superman/Batman: Apocalypse.
  • Absolute Power: Three members of The Legion of Super-Villains go back in time and raise Superman and Batman to be world dictators, but their actions cause the timeline to collapse and cause the two to restore the timeline to normal.
  • With a Vengeance (compiled simply as Vengeance): A team of superheroes called the Maximums come into the DC Universe, looking for Superman and Batman, claiming that they killed one of their own, just as Bizarro meets a Batman-inspired Bizarro called Batzarro. It serves as a wrap-up to Jeph Loeb's run, which included this and the first three arcs, as Luthor, Supergirl, and Darkseid appear. It's also a sequel to Emperor Joker as The Joker and Mister Mxyzptlk are ultimately the villains of the arc and introduces Bat-Mite into the post-Crisis DCU.
  • Nevermind: A story set on the Earth-Two of pre-Crisis (thus, The Golden Age of Comic Books), the Superman and Batman of that reality have their minds transferred into, respectively, Power Girl and Huntress.
  • Enemies Among Us: The various alien superheroes of Earth are being turned against humanity, and Superman and Batman must stop it.
  • Torment: Desaad and Scarecrow team up to capture, psychologically torment, and mind-control Superman. Batman and Orion's wife Bekka team up to rescue him, but are sidetracked by their mutual attraction to each other.
  • Nanopolis: The Prankster zaps Superman with a Shrink Ray and reduces him to microscopic size. Batman tries to find him and restore him to normal size. Meanwhile, Superman finds and rescues a microscopic civilization.
  • K (compiled as The Search for Kryptonite): After coming to the realization that Kryptonite Is Everywhere, Superman enlists Batman's help in cleaning the world of Kryptonite. However, their quest brings them into trouble with the government.
  • Super/Bat: Superman's powers accidentally get transferred to Batman, and the two heroes do not respond positively to this occurring.
  • Mash-Up: Superman and Batman find themselves in a strange world. The Justice Titans, who are all merged versions of a Teen Titans and Justice League member, defend Gothamopolis from a series of villains who are merged versions of Superman and Batman's Rogues Gallery. Superman and Batman help the Justice Titans while trying to find out how they got here and how to get home.
  • Sweet Dreams: The innermost fears of Superman, Batman, Lex Luthor, and The Joker are revealed, due to Scarecrow capturing them and putting Fear Toxin in them.

Tropes in this series:

  • Adaptation Origin Connection: A heroic example, At least one comic (of unknown canonicity), Superman/Batman #50, had Jor-El befriending a Human he pulled from Earth while studying it before sending him back, cementing his decision to send Kal-El there. That Human? Thomas Wayne. One gets the feeling that either the criminal population of Gotham City or the entire planet just dodged a particularly big bullet there.
  • Alternate Timeline: In Absolute Powers the Legion of Super-Villains go back in time and raise Superman and Batman to be world dictators in a new timeline. After, Bruce create a new timeline when he save his parents and erase himself as Batman.
  • Asian and Nerdy: Toyman II, Hiro Okamura.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Superman Batman show us how it's done in Public Enemies. Completed with Casual Danger Dialogue!
  • Bash Brothers: Superman and Batman, duh.
  • Berserk Button: Superman is overprotective of his cousin in The Supergirl from Kryton.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: In Superman/Batman #77, Scarecrow's fear toxin makes Supergirl believe that Robin is her parents' killer Reactron and attack him.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • In an early issue, Superman asks Batman if he's seen anything of the villain Magpie lately. Magpie was the villain they fought in The Man of Steel #3, their first meeting in Post-Crisis continuity.
    • Public Enemies opens right after the events of Batman Hush, which Loeb had just finished writing at the time. As such, events in that storyline are mentioned in passing both here and throughout his other arcs.
    • There are also additional nods back to Loeb's two-year stint on Superman, culminating in With a Vengeance which as noted earlier, is ultimately a sequel to Emperor Joker.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Batman as usual.
  • Deal with the Devil: Supes and Bats are forced to make one with an alternate timeline's Darkseid in Absolute Power. The warlord provides the necessary technology to travel through time in exchange for a unnamed price. Supes is forced to honor the deal in With a Vengeance by freeing Darkseid — who retains his memories of the alternate timeline — from the Source Wall.
  • Demonic Possession: The Black Rock does this to several heroes in Enemies Among Us.
  • Disaster Dominoes: Kara's introduction involved crashing the Batboat, having a dock worker come onto her, her breaking his fingers, one of his co-workers get smacked when he tried to defend to the man, Kara disrupting traffic, having the GCPD fire at her, and accidentally trashing a blimp.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: In the issue 26 Superman and Batman send Superboy and Robin (Tim Drake) to visit the Toyman in Japan because he has not been heard from in a while. In Toyman's secret base, Conner is really happy when he find a hot tub with Raven, Starfire and Wonder Girl fembots. And very pissed when Tim destroy all the robots!.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Maximum's Monster and Axis of Evil's Godiva (she's also naked).
  • Dumb Muscle: Batzarro, who kills other couples to solve the murder of Batman's parents, and then has trouble finding out who murdered them (Bizarro can't help him either.)
  • Evil Costume Switch: Skin-tight red and black pants with a black bra and Combat Stilettos? Is it supposed to be a surprise that Kara ends up temporarily evil?
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Played with in "The Supergirl from Kryton" arc. Batman, who is distrustful of the newly discovered Kara Zor-El, tries to point out to Superman that his dog Krypto doesn't like Kara. Superman retorts that the dog doesn't like anyone.
  • Evil Makeover: Kara's costume becomes more revealing and metallic post-brainwashing in "The Supergirl from Kryton".
  • Evil Mentor: Darkseid to Supergirl in "The Supergirl from Kryton".
  • Eye Scream: In the "K" arc, Superman gets some Kryptonite lodged in his eye.
  • Faking the Dead: In The Supergirl of Krypton, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman stage Supergirl's death so Darkseid -who had previously kidnapped her and brainwashed- leaves her alone.
  • Fanservice: To absolutely ridiculous levels with Kara in the Supergirl arc.
  • Foil: The two heroes to each other: Superman as the light one, Batman as the dark one.
  • Fusion Dance: The Joker merged the Maximums into one being, Maximum Maximum.
  • Gallows Humor: Batman once chastised Superman for this while trying to remove a kryptonite bullet from his heart.
    Batman: The Kryptonite's near your heart. I don't know if I'll be fast enough to get it before the wound closes.
    Superman: Where's The Flash when you need him?
    Batman: Do me a favor, and lose the sense of humor.
    Superman: Do us both a favor and buy one.
  • Gender Flip: Issue 24 has Batman appears on Earth-11, a gender reversed Earth, and encounters Batwoman, Superwoman, and Superlad.
  • Government Conspiracy: The government had an arsenal of Kryptonite weapons hidden away in case Superman went rogue, which was overseen by Amanda Waller.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: The duo in The World's Finest.
  • Humongous Mecha: All through Toyman's base.
  • I Broke a Nail: When a small team of different Supergirl incarnations break Superman out of the Source Wall in Superman/Batman #25, Power Girl mutters this, then quickly adds she was kidding.
  • I Have Boobs, You Must Obey!: Made accidentally by Superman in Nevermind, while he is trapped in Power Girl body, when he get information by an hotel manager. Lampshaded:
    Superman: I whish all my interrogations went so easily.
    Batman: Appears there are effective techniques than a rubber hose..
  • I'm Standing Right Here: In Superman Batman #10 Superman and Wonder Woman argue because Clark wants to take his cousin back home whereas Diana argues that she must remain in Themyscira. Kara breaks in to remind them that she is standing there.
    Supergirl: Hey. Can I say something? Not that I mind you two talking about me like I'm not here... Well, actually, I do...
  • Is the Answer to This Question "Yes"?: In Public Enemies when Superman question about the Toyman's Humongous Mecha.
    Superman: Are you sure this thing can do the job?
    Batman: Just input the codes!
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: Discussed In-Universe. In With a Vengeance Joker demands to know why Superman and Batman don't remember the events of the Emperor Joker crossover from several years earlier. Mxyzptlk explains that he's blocking everyone's memories — then also adds that the issues haven't been collected yet. Ironically — and probably because of fan demand — that arc was collected shortly afterwards.
  • Kick the Dog: In "The Supergirl from Krypton", Superman blames Batman and Wonder Woman for Kara getting kidnapped by Darkseid when she should have remained in Metropolis with him. Wonder Woman reminds them her sisters nearly sacrificed herself to protect her. Then Superman said if it was Jason Todd or Donna Troy, they wouldn't even be arguing about this. Batman tells him Kara isn't dead. The three of them got quiet. Superman realized he crossed the line mentioning Jason and Donna. Near the end of the story arc, he apologizes for it.
    • Ironically, a year later both Jason and Donna came back.
  • Kryptonite Is Everywhere: Deconstructed in K, where Superman decides to clean up the world of Kryptonite and enlists Batman's help, but their efforts bring them into conflict with the government and Lana Lang, who provided the government with Kryptonite weapons.
  • Kryptonite Ring: After collecting and destroying all the kryptonite on Earth, Superman saves one piece for Batman. Batman is seen bringing it to a lead-lined room which is already filled with multiple kinds of kryptonite.
  • Mind-Control Eyes: In Superman/Batman #77, Kara gets glowing red eyes when she is under the influence of Scarecrow's fear toxin.
  • The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: In the Nevermind arc, The Earth-2 Batman and Superman are in danger of falling to this when their minds are respectively transferred to Huntress and Power Girl.
  • Motif Merger: The page illustration is the logo for DC's current series, Superman's shield logo inside Batman's bat logo. For example, the cover of issue 8. The first arc of the series was adapted into the direct-to-video Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, mentioned below.
  • Mugging the Monster: In Superman Batman #8, a naked Kara Zor-El wanders confused into an alley, having just woken up from her rocket, and is spotted by three workers. One of them mistakes her for a prostitute and decides to play Lothario only to have his hand crushed and be slammed through a wall. The second tries to help his friend. The third wisely proclaims he's not with the other two and offers her his coat.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Darkseid gives this to Batman when he reveals that he has rigged Apokolips ready to explode.
  • No Indoor Voice: Batzarro speaks all his thought bubbles out loud.
  • Oddball Doppelganger: In Superman/Batman Annual #1, a crazy Earth-3 version of Deathstroke appears—who is very similar to be Marvel Comics' Deadpool.
  • Out of Character:
    • During a fight against Mongul and Solomon Grundy in Public Enemies, Supes and Bats realize both villains are acting differently. The normally boastful Mongul is silent and as an interstellar conqueror, Luthor's bounty should mean nothing to him. Likewise, the normally bestial Grundy has become almost refined and articulate. Our heroes deduce that a telepath is controlling the pair and the other attacking villains.
    • Happens again in The Supergirl from Krypton. During the fight against the Doomsday clones, Batman notes that something's wrong. Before Luthor handed the beastie over to Darkseid, Doomsday had finally displayed some degree of sentience — yet the clones are almost mindless and bestial. He realizes that the cloned army is imperfect and easily destroyable. This in turn gives way to the realization that the clones were merely a distraction while Darkseid's agents nabbed Kara.
    • Loeb goes for the hat trick in With a Vengeance when the Atomic Skull breaks into Wayne Enterprises. Bats knows that such brazen snatch and grab is not the Skull's MO. Combined with the Skull's improved armor, he correctly deduces that the Skull is working for Lex Luthor and that Luthor survived the events of Public Enemies.
  • Patrick Stewart Speech: Superman is able to convince a group of The Social Darwinist alien invaders to call off an invasion through one of these. Notably, he actually gave it mentally, by convincing the invaders to read his mind and see his thoughts on the matter.
  • Poorly Disguised Pilot: Issue #19 picks up on Kara Zor-El's story after the events of The Supergirl from Krypton. It mainly, however, serves a staging ground for the Supergirl spin-off series. It was even republished as Supergirl #0.
  • Power Creep, Power Seep: Happens sometimes as the two contribute equally to battles. In one case, they were attacked by Hawkman and Captain Marvel. Hawkman and Batman start fighting, as do Marvel and Supes. Then Batman and Superman do a move they call "castling," in which they throw their opponents off balance by rapidly switching who they're fighting. This mean it was actually part of their plan for Batman to fight Captain Marvel, who is roughly as powerful as Superman without a Kryptonite-like weakness. (And the move starts with Superman throwing Marvel at Batman, who then kicks Marvel into a mountain. How this impact with a Flying Brick did not shatter every bone in Batman's body is never explained.)
  • President Evil: Lex Luthor, who ascended to the presidency shortly after Batman: No Man's Land. In fact, the first arc of the book (and its Animated Adaptation) end on his removal from office.
  • Sexbot: Issue 26 shows us sexbots of the female Teen Titans, belonging to the teenage Toyman. And Superboy clearly enjoys them.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Show Some Leg: In Public Enemies, Power Girl (Most Common Superpower incarnate) is told to distract the new Toyman, a thirteen-year-old boy. She asks how on earth she is supposed to do that before saying "Oh", with a slight glance downward.
  • Spiritual Successor: To the pre-Crisis World's Finest Comics series.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Superman intentionally does this to Batman on occasion, usually to Batman's annoyance, simply because he loves to surprise Batman like that, as well as mocking Batman's own tendency to do it.
    Superman: (thinking) I have to admit, I love being able to do that to him.
  • Stealth Sequel: Again, as noted, With a Vengeance in addition to being a cap on Loeb's run ob the book is also a sequel to Emperor Joker.
  • Superhero Sobriquets: The duo is nicknamed as "The World's Finest Duo".
  • Teen Genius: Hiro Okamura, the young Japanese Toyman.
  • "What Do They Fear?" Episode: The Sweet Dreams one-shot.
  • What You Are in the Dark: With Batman as the tempter. Superman was pushed to his limit after Luthor as the president placed a bounty on his head and trashed his and Batman's proteges. He was even ready to fry Luthor for what he has done. Batman told Superman that he won't stop him and would even help make it look like an accident or "better yet, as if he'd vanished without a trace." Needless to say, Superman didn't go through with it.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Happen to Batman when he get Superman's power during a battle with the Silver Banshee. Batman revels in his new powers and uses them to bring complete fear and order to Gotham's criminal underworld and eventually sets his sight to the world, but he became increasingly aggressive. With the aid of the Justice League, Superman is able to bring himself and The Dark Knight back to normal.
  • Worthy Opponent: Darkseid considers Batman as one, after learning he's rigged Apokolips to explode unless he frees Kara. Darkseid comments Superman and Wonder Woman wouldn't be bold enough to do it.
  • You Didn't Ask: In Superman Batman #9, when Superman tells his cousin he didn't know she could already use her X-Ray Vision, Kara answers: "You didn't ask".
    Superman: You noticed the lead, hmm? I didn't know your X-Ray vision had kicked in.
    Supergirl: You didn't ask.