Comic Book: 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 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.
- Asian and Nerdy: Toyman II, Hiro Okamura.
- Back-to-Back Badasses
- Bash Brothers: Superman and Batman, duh.
- 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 of course.
- 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.
- 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-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.
- Eye Scream: In the "K" arc, Superman gets some Kryptonite lodged in his eye.
- Fanservice: To absolutely ridiculous levels with Kara in the Supergirl arc, to the point that it disgusted many.
- Foil: The two heroes to each other: Superman as the light one, Batman as the dark one.
- 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.
: 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.
- Government Conspiracy: The government had an arsenal of Kryptonite weapons hidden away in case Superman went rogue, which was overseen by Amanda Waller.
- Heroes With Bad Publicity: The duo in The World's Finest.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.