Do you believe Batman defeated Superman in single hand-to-hand combat? (Spoilers!)

It’s pretty much common knowledge that Batman defeated Superman in single, melee combat in Alan Moore’s The Dark Knight Returns comic series.

However, looking back, I don’t know if I would qualify it as a “real” victory anymore. Batman had the upper hand for a few seconds, and then had a heart attack. Without the heart attack, I think Superman would have easily won a slightly longer fight. Also, Superman was holding back. He could have easily fried Batman within the suit using his heat vision. If Superman wasn’t trying to protect Batman, he could have ended the fight without even bothering to let Batman get close enough to touch him.

Nowadays, however, that one “win” crops up in every single discussion about Batman’s badassery, as though that one victory (with a ton of cheating) somehow legitimized Batman’s strength.

So, my question is: do you think the “win” was temporary or absolute? Looking back, it’s like somebody snuck up behind you, pulled down your pants, then ran into the girl’s bathroom so you couldn’t follow.

Frank Miller

He was skilled at one point in his life.

Oops, shoulda checked that.

Yes he cheated, so what? Superman’s a near invincible alien. If you can find any kind edge against him, use it.

Batman won. He achieved his objective by providing Superman the opportunity to tell the government that Batman was no longer a threat.

Is it “cheating” to use your opponent’s strengths against him?

At that point, Supes had taken a recent hit from a nuke, was battered by Batman’s weaponry, and been weakened by Oliver’s kryptonite arrow. All fair uses, and within the “rules.”

Batman wins.

Also, what is Batman’s essential power? He is Prepared. If learning exactly what the exploitable point of your opponent is is cheating, then he has cheated in every encounter he has every had.

I said that it wasn’t a real win because he lets Superman go. His fight wasn’t against Supes, but in being able to do what he wanted. The Superman battle was just a diversion.

Let me get this straight.
A superhero **who can survive a nuclear blast **is attacked by a chap using his fists.
Somehow this doesn’t count as a ‘win’ for me!

Why is “Yes, there was no cheating” not a choice?

I disagree; if Batman plus Oliver is a fair use within the “rules”, then Superman plus the US Army is a fair use within the “rules” likewise – and the only reason Batman keels over from that heart attack is because the sniper has a peach of a head shot lined up once Superman has ripped off Batman’s helmet.

Batman is only in a position to throw the fight because of the chap with a bow. Batman only throws the fight because of the chap with a rifle. Take away both and Batman loses. Take away neither and Batman loses. If Superman shows up alone and Batman brings a buddy, then, sure, Batman wins – but that’s not how it played out.

I’m not saying the suit, kryptonite, getting Oliver to help, the missiles, or the nukes was unfair.

I’m saying if he didn’t have the heart attack, Superman would have won eventually.

It’s like quitting the game the second your score is 1 point higher than your opponent.

The problem isn’t Dark Knight Returns. The problem is that every other time Superman has faced off against Batman in one on one combat Batman has taken it. The reason for that is obvious; it’s more interesting if the underdog wins. Unfortunately the underdog has won so many times now that it makes Superman look like a push over.

IIRC, Batman has his “heart attack” because of a drug he ingested, and doesn’t have precise control of when it kicks in. His internal dialogue says something like not yet, not yet. So I don’t think he triggers the heart attack because of any particular turns in the fight. He planned (of course) that heart attack drug would be his exit strategy – remember it wears off too quickly at his fake funeral.

My real vote is for “Batman wins, and there’s no such thing as cheating in a street fight”. In my book, this was Batman’s finest hour. He puts Supes on the ropes, makes him hurt, makes him realize a man has put him on the edge of death, and ultimately opens his eyes to his lackey-ism. Prior to this, just hearing “Batman fights Superman” was absurd, like, ‘yeah, that’ll last half a second’, but it was so well-written and plausible for the universe and characters of the story that it made total sense in that time and place.

Before The Dark Knight Returns, that wasn’t the case, though. In the few prior conflicts they had were full of “Super-dickery”. Supes punks Batman just like he should on paper.

Every fight after DK of course had way too many shades of the DK fight for the reasons you mention. That’s one reason why, for me, this one is special.

Is there a synopsis online? Haven’t read comic books since I was a kid, but never got the Batman = badass thing. Maybe blame it on Adam West.

So Superman, a dude who can grab Batman by the scrotum and fly into space to hang out for an hour, loses a round of fisticuffs and that’s history-making? From the way the character is written (as I remember them, I’m no expert) there are a thousand ways a sufficiently pissed off (or bored) Superman could off Batman without a major effort. That’s why I’m wondering about the synopsis, sounds way to contrived.

Is there an adventure where Aqua-man beats up Superman?

Can I get a piece of that action? Would really impress the babes.

Here’s the action

20+ years later, that book is still some kind of awesome.

Is this battle the beginning of the “PREPARED” meme, I wonder? What better exemplifies prepared than attacking Superman with a self-made battletank, missiles, and other powerful weapons, recruiting a one-armed Green Arrow to deliver an arrow loaded with kryptonite that took years to synthesize, arguably besting Superman in fisticuffs using a self-made power-suit, all so you can fake your own death, escape the clutches of the government, and live on to train your own army?

Is it “single” combat if your buddy shoots Supes with a Kryptonite arrow? :slight_smile:

No vote here – and I think the bad-ass award goes to Oliver for the shot, one armed, pulling the string with his teeth, while hanging upside down from a fire escape.

(But then Green Arrow is my all-time favourite DC superhero). :smiley:

I think that it clearly shows that Batman can defeat Superman in a situation in which Superman doesn’t want to win but isn’t actually throwing the fight.

That, by itself, is an incredible accomplishment. However, it doesn’t say much about Batman’s ability to handle Superman if Superman decides to take the fight to low Earth orbit.