Welcome to the second edition of "Does Batman Always win?" The debut of this segment placed The Caped Crusader against Captain America. I called it a stalemate, but Comic Vine's Editor-in-Chief, Tony Guerrero, gave Captain America the nod. Now The Dark Knight comes face to face with one of Marvel's most famous and violent characters. Can Batman overcome the X-Man's advantages... or will a set of adamantium claws turn him into sushi?
Let's be clear, the segment's title is simply a joke playing off of the commonly used phrase "Batman always wins because he's Batman!" Batman doesn't always win. However, Batman has the resources and tactical mind to often overcome odds that a regular human hero usually wouldn't be able to. While he technically has no powers, he brings a unique skill set to the table that can often allow him to compete well above his weight class. So, do I think he has what it takes to bring down the adamantium laced A-lister from Marvel? Read on to find out.
These fights will always take place in a neutral setting -- an unpopulated city block at night. They'll begin visible at opposite ends of the street and they're both in character. This is speculating on who would take a majority of wins if this scenario took place 10 times.
In my opinion, Bruce Wayne is bringing 3 key advantages to this battle: a consistent display of superior skill, a brilliant and resourceful tactical mind, and a wide variety of offensive equipment. This of course isn't saying Logan is inadequate in these areas, but I do believe it's safe to say Bruce has the advantage in each one. While Wolverine is a master of countless forms of combat, they are in character, and that means he's not going to fully utilize his technique in every encounter.
After years of studying, Bruce Wayne is now a master of 127 forms of combat. He knows every pressure point, he can recognize the style his enemies are using and counter appropriately, and, it goes without saying that this knowledge makes him absurdly effective in close combat. Considering Wolverine is tossing around 6 claws that can tear Bruce apart, countering is absolutely critical. One clean hit from Logan can turn the tide here and, luckily for The Dark Knight, he's got the talent to compete with Wolverine in close proximity.
All of that skill would be useless without Batman's brain, though. Bruce's intellect is disputably his greatest asset. This has allowed him to overcome even the likes of Darkseid. His raw intelligence makes him incredibly resourceful in combat, even if it's just a random encounter (such as this one). He can study his opponents and detect potential weaknesses, then deploy the appropriate methods (thanks to a gazillion devices) to capitalize on said weakness. Even if the method for victory isn't packed comfortably into his belt, it's by no means above Batman to use the environment to his advantage.
Then there's the variety of weaponry Bruce has in his inventory. You name it, he's likely got it (okay, maybe not the Ultimate Nullifier or Infinity Gauntlet). When it's clear blunt force isn't working against his opponent (and that'll likely be a relatively quick realization against Wolverine), he has an abundant amount of equipment to deploy, including but not limited to sonics (used against Killer Croc in 'Hush'), magnets (used in Scott Snyder's BATMAN), explosives ('Under the Red Hood'), electricity (vs Bane in THE DARK KNIGHT) and much, much more. Once it's transparent his feet and fists won't do much against Wolverine, he'll begin to test these other options. It's unlikely any would defeat Logan right away, but many have the potential to faze him at the very least. The sooner Batman realizes he needs to use a magnet, the better. Seeing as he's a gifted detective and his cowl has different vision modes, it's certainly not a far-fetched possibility.
I firmly believe Wolverine has 3 critical advantages over Batman: his healing factor and durability, his adamantium claws and his enhanced level physicals. While Bruce brings an often unparalleled level of skill, resources and intellect to the table, it might not be enough to overcome Wolverine's advantages in a random encounter.
First and foremost, keeping Wolverine down for the count is a very difficult obstacle. Sure, he has low end showings like getting his lights quickly knocked out by Mr. X or even the infamous Daredevil throat chop (Garth Ennis is notorious for humiliating Logan), but for every low end feat, there's at least two on the opposite end of the spectrum (taking hits from Hulk and going unfazed by bullets, for example). Batman's more consistent display of superior skill means he'll likely get his licks in, but these really won't suffice. They'll annoy Wolverine, but the combination of his adamantium lacing and healing factor means they won't do much -- not even the nerve strikes (Lord Shingen had to poison Logan for them to impact him).
Bruce has plenty of recent experience against enemies with healing factors (Talons), however, the resurrected assassins didn't have the luxury of a virtually unbreakable metal laced around their bones. Additionally, we've seen a wide variety of Batman's equipment tested against the X-Man. He's withstood electric attacks, has been able to hold up to the Hulk's thunderclap, and navigated through smoke and gas. Long story short, incapacitating or knocking out a well written Howlett is often a herculean feat. Batman has the means to give Wolverine one hell of a fight, but making him count sheep will require a relentless effort.
Logan's a dude that suffers a rather inconsistent display of skill. He's consistently ranked a 7 out of 7 in handbooks for fighting ability, yet it's far too often we see the version of Wolverine that doesn't mind letting his healing factor get to work simply because he knows he can take it. Because of this, I believe it's fair to assume he won't always showcase his complete technical knowledge while in character. Many fights he'll prove far more than adequate in hand-to-hand (he's gotten the better of Captain America at least twice and easily detected flaws in Silver Samurai's form), but it's safe to say in some of the encounters he'll resort to letting his healing factor, durability, enhanced physicals and adamantium laced pointy claws of death do all of the work. Then there's his enhanced senses. The Caped Crusader is a master of stealth, but few have been able to get the jump on Logan thanks to his beyond human nose and ears. Not even a thick layer of smoke has prevented him from taking down his targets. Furthermore Wolverine is physically superior to Bruce Wayne. He's had the strength to briefly hold up an entire elevator by a cable, swung a tree at the Hulk and moves too fast for the human eye to follow. Just like Batman, Wolverine has had no issue vanishing right in from of his opponents.
Finally, not even Bruce's costume will hold up to Logan's six adamantium claws. As we saw in 'Court of Owls,' Batman has the determination and pain tolerance to take a stab or two and keep going, but one clean connect will absolutely take a toll on Wayne's endurance. The same definitely can't be said when Batman strikes Wolverine.
I'd say Wolverine wins. Batman has the skill, tactics and resources to give Wolverine an extremely tough time, but keeping Wolverine down in a random encounter doesn't seem likely to happen for a majority. Batman doesn't immediately know he needs to go all out against his enemy and not having that knowledge off the bat will benefit Wolverine. Otherwise, Batman would know to rely first and foremost on his more dire measures packed away in his belt.
Could he earn some wins in this scenario? Absolutely. But for the most part, I think the following will be the end result for most matches after Wolverine's claws deliver something fierce.
And in the few times out of 10 that Bruce does take down Wolverine, odds are he makes it out looking like this.
I think if Wolverine was stripped of his adamantium it could prove to be a closer match (the reason he has adamantium here is because this segment will always use standard versions). Yes, removing the unique metal boosts his healing factor and overall speed, but it makes his durability take a drop and that's something which would greatly benefit Batman.
But enough of my gibberish, who do you think wins and why? Remember, this is just talking about two fictional characters, so keep it friendly!
Gregg Katzman is a writer for Comic Vine & IGN Entertainment. Feel free to send him match suggestions for 'Does Batman Always Win?' on Twitter.