The most popular superheroes worldwide are DC’s Batman and Superman. Since the 1940s, these two superheroes have become part of popular culture and one of the most important characters in mainstream comics. Being so different from each other but similar simultaneously made these two characters an incredibly great duo but, at some point, rivals as well. Oldest friends sometimes “butt heads,” and frankly, these two do it most dramatically. In this article, we will see if Dark Knight ever killed Superman.
Batman killed Superman twice in the comics; however, it’s important to note that only in one instance did Superman actually stay dead. In Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man that Destroyed Everything?, featured in the Superman / Batman Annual #1, released in 2020, Bat-Mite throws Superman into the chaos of an almost destroyed Multiverse, where the Justice League starts to disintegrate after the arrival of the Son of Krypton. Batman eventually kills Superman using the artificial Red Sun, and while thousands of feet in the air, both superheroes die. Old World’s Finest comic book features Batman poisoning Superman, who dies but returns to life shortly.
We will discuss this topic further by mentioning the context of this particular murder-suicide orchestrated by Batman and mentioning Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice movie by Zach Snyder. If you are interested, stay with us until the end.
Officially, Batman killed Superman only twice in the DC Comics
Batman and Superman are iconic comic book characters, and both have amazing stories and adventures immortalized in DC Comics. Of course, both characters are unique in their own way, with Batman being a brooding but exceptional detective with strict ways of his superhero justice idea. Conversely, the Kryptonian is positive, determined, and likelier to follow his heart in tough situations.
The duality of these two superheroes made them so popular among the fans, propelling some great comic book stories over decades. Batman’s origin story heavily dictates his future, and his fight for justice in Gotham is what makes him fearful of criminals. However, even the stubborn Batman changed over the years, and his ideals became more “loose,”, especially with the expansion of the Bat Family.
Different DC writers made their stamp on the characters, but The Dark Knight is more than a known character among the fans – the best detective in the world, intending to save the world. Superman is the opposite of Batman when it comes to his personality. Combined with his Clark Kent civil identity, Kal-El mostly gives off “goofy” vibes, but when he wears a uniform and becomes Superman, Kal-El is a determined being who will do everything to protect the Earth.
Batman and Superman have vastly different ways of doing their “superhero” work, with Batman willing to get dirty to achieve the best outcome while Superman always wants to do the “right thing.” Of course, different outlooks on things made them rivals more times than a casual fan would expect.
Of course, some of the comic book stories were set in Elseworlds, meaning that these stories are alternate storylines that deviate from the main DC storylines’ main continuity. Superman and Batman fought a lot in the comics, but despite having the upper hand over Dark Knight and his strength, Batman killed Superman twice in the comics.
In the main continuity, World’s Finest comic issue #240, Batman kills Superman. How? Well, the special story of that issue is called “How Do You Kill a Superman?”, where Superman needs to save Kandor, a Kryptonian city. The city is on the verge of civil war, and Superman agrees to become its king and live in the bottle city.
In the comics, Kandor was shrunk by Brainiac and taken to the Fortress of Solitude by Superman to enlarge one day when the time is right. Superman becomes a king, but when he goes to the outer world, he acts irresponsibly and is dangerous to the population.
Batman notices something is wrong and visits Kandor to see what is happening. Superman’s negligence causes chaos worldwide, and the President of the United States hires Batman to kill the Man of Steel.
At first, Batman seeks help from the Kandorians, but they fail to capture Superman. However, after learning that Superman is vulnerable in Kandor, Batman uses his poisonous needle and kills the Man of Steel.
This is one of the rare instances where Batman succeeds in killing Superman, and the comic book issue from 1976 showcases this major event. However, in true comic book fashion, we see Superman’s body get bigger and bigger and break out of Kandor. It is revealed that a sentient zirconian cat from Superman’s zoo in Fortress of Solitude has been causing chaos in the outer world.
After escaping Kandor, Superman is revived and takes care of the strange cat. Everything goes back to normal. This story was strange, especially after Batman seemingly kills Superman, but the Man of Steel returns to life quickly.
Another “Batman kills Superman” event happened in the Elseworlds story, specifically, a comic book story featured in Batman/Superman Annual #1 from 2020, where Bat-Mite and Mister Mxyzptlk share their tails of who is stronger: Batman or Superman.
DC’s most popular imps share a tale of Superman suddenly appearing while Justice League deal with the destruction of the Multiverse.
Some of the population start disintegrating, and the first people to die are members of Bat-Family. Superman’s family survives, and after learning that Man of Steel is responsible for the ripple of the Multiverse, Batman is extremely mad.
He vows to kill Superman to avenge his family and save the universe. After a few times when Batman fails, the Dark Knight finally finds a way to kill Superman.
He installs solar satellites that turn the yellow sun into a red sun, which makes the Man of Steel vulnerable. However, when that happens, Superman and Batman are a thousand feet in the air, and when that happens, both superheroes die. Batman commits murder-suicide, avenges his family, and saves the universe.
After Bat-Mite declares Batman, a winner, Mister Mxyzptlk offers his story version. Of course, this is set in the Elseworlds, but reading and seeing the lengths “pissed off” Batman would go to reach his goals is still interesting.
Comics aren’t the only media where Superman dies at the hands of Dark Knight – Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice movie does offer a different story.
Zach Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice movie showed us on the big screen how Batman “killed” Superman
This example might be a stretch to some people, but no one can erase that Batman actively tried to kill Superman and was directly responsible for Man of Steel dying.
Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice movie was far from perfect, but it did offer us an original perspective on what it would look like if Batman actively tried to kill Superman. We know that in the movie, Batman sees Superman as an existential threat to humanity after Superman fought General Zod in Metropolis.
After slowly connecting the dots (wrongly), Batman actively weaponizes kryptonite to go to war with Superman. Of course, we all know that Lex Luthor manipulated Batman and the whole Martha moment, where Batman almost kills Superman himself. That doesn’t happen after the intervention of Lois Lane, but Batman’s change of heart is too little too late.
Luthor’s monster stabs Superman and kills him. Batman is responsible since his construction of kryptonite weapons was the ones enemy used to kill the Man of Steel.
Despite a great premise, the movie wasn’t that good, but it gave us a different perspective. There are many moments in the DC Comics and games where Batman defeats Superman but never outrightly kills him, which is why two instances in the comics and Snyder’s movie are interesting.