Every week, we take some time to reflect on all of the awesome fights in the latest round of new comics. Why limit our praise to just the brand new brawls, though? Why not highlight some of the epic fights in comic book history? Well, ladies and gentlemen, that's exactly what we're going to do with this all-new monthly segment. And, when it comes to kicking-off a segment about iconic book fights, the first pick was blatantly obvious: Batman vs. Superman in THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS.
In 1986, Frank Miller hit the world with the four-issue mini-series, THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS. Written and illustrated by Miller, the story revealed a bleak future for Batman and Superman. Wayne, who's now in his fifties, has hung up the cowl and Superman's essentially become a weapon for the U.S. President to utilize. When Wayne decides to finally step back into the cowl (and even accept a new Robin), the powers that be aren't too pleased with the development. Ultimately, the President orders Clark to put the Dark Knight down and what follows is without question one of the most classic battles to ever take place within the pages of a comic. Who would have thought the signature Batman/Superman fight would take place in a non-canon book?
Upon being ordered by the President to take down his former ally, Superman reaches out to Wayne instead of getting the job done right away. Considering their decades of history, it's the respectful and right thing to do. Using his heat vision, he writes one simple word in the ground near Bruce: "where?" The Caped Crusader looks up and replies, "Crime Alley." The area's evacuated by the military so the two can battle without any collateral damage, but Superman made one critical mistake: he gave Bruce prep time. Now, we all know who's going to take this fight in a random encounter, but Kal isn't about to face your ordinary version of Batman. Instead, Bruce shows up to the fight sporting one heck of an armor and a whole lot of new toys. Utilizing his weapons and even the environment, he's able to give Clark all kinds of trouble when the fight kicks-off. It's worth noting this future version of Superman isn't quite up to par with what we're used to -- one nuclear warhead nearly killed him.
Sure, a slugfest between these two under Frank Miller is all kinds of good stuff, but what makes this battle particularly great is the fact it shows off Batman's tactical mind and resourceful nature. Even with all of his tech, Wayne knows he's not winning a Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots style encounter with Kal-El. Because of that, this fight relies purely on Bruce's wit and the plan he crafted. Naturally, the details weren't revealed before the big showdown, so it's a glorious experience to watch it all play out.
Bruce uses every tool possible and it softens the alien just enough to the point where a regular strike (from a super-strong armor, of course) can faze Supes. Sonics, acid, electric -- Bruce unleashes it all against Clark. The offensive is definitely felt by the Kryptonian, yet it still pales compared to the damage the powerhouse sends back his way. With only a couple of hits, the Caped Crusader suffers three broken ribs and a crushed wrist. Bruce is giving it his all, but there's just no standing up to a hit from Superman, no matter how advanced your armor may be.
All good things must come to an end and the fight's conclusion is quite legendary. Seeing as it's such a fantastic and memorable read, we don't want to spoil it for you in case you haven't checked it out yet. That said, if you haven't already read Miller's story, we strongly recommend you jump into it as soon as possible. Seriously, it's often considered one of the top must read Batman stories for a reason, people. Plus, it's pretty much the least you can do to prepare for 2015's Batman vs. Superman, right?