12 Ways That Batman Could Take Down Superman

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12 Ways That Batman Could Take Down Superman

Warner Bros.

In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Batman and Superman will be in conflict with each other. Batman, obviously, is at a disadvantage going up against someone as powerful as Superman. You practically could have an easier time listing the superpowers that Superman doesn't have, that's how powerful he is. However, Superman is not without his vulnerabilities, so there are things that Batman can use to exploit this particular match-up. Here, then, are a dozen ways that Batman could possibly defeat Superman.

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1. Green Kryptonite

Batman uses a Green Kryptonite ring to knock Superman for a loop when Superman was possessed by Poison Ivy during the Hush storyline. DC Comics

This is the big one, the easiest way that Batman could defeat Superman. Superman's biggest practical weakness is exposure to Green Kryptonite, which is a radioactive material that was once a piece of Superman's home planet of Krypton. Somehow, either through the explosion that destroyed Krypton or through some sort of exposure while traveling through the galaxy following the destruction of the planet, these pieces of Krypton took on radioactive properties that cause them to have special effects on Kryptonians that are exposed to the material. 

The most common form of Kryptonite is also one of the deadliest. Green Kryptonite weakens Kryptonians and prolonged exposure can actually kill them. Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel first intended to introduce it in 1940 (calling it "The K-Metal from Krypton") but the story was canceled by National Comics (the original name of DC Comics). A few years later, it debuted on The Adventures of Superman radio show (not, though, as a way to give Superman actor Bud Collyer a vacation from the role, as is widely reported). It finally showed up in the comics by the end of the 1940s (but didn't become green until 1951). For decades, it seemed like enough of this stuff landed on Earth that Superman would always have to watch out for it showing up.

After the Crisis on Infinite Earths storyline altered DC Comics' continuity in the mid-1980s, Kryptonite was now a good deal rarer. Unluckily for Superman, one of the few people with access to the material was the evil Lex Luthor, who fashioned a Kryptonite ring to let Superman know that push ever came to shove, Luthor could make trouble for Superman. Unluckily for Luthor, it turns out that prolonged exposure to Green Kryptonite for humans can prove fatal, so Luthor ditched the ring. Superman got a hold of it (placed it in a lead box, as lead blocks the deadly radiation) and entrusted the ring to Batman, as the only person Superman trusted with the ring, with the theory being that if Superman ever turned against humanity, he wanted Batman to have the ability to stop him. 

Many times over the years, the ring then played into storylines, like when Poison Ivy took control of Superman's mind during the "Hush" storyline, leading to Batman having to use the ring against his friend. Pretty much any time that Superman and Batman have fought over the years, Green Kryptonite has been involved. 

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2. Magic

Wonder Woman cut Superman with a magic blade in Superman #211 by Brian Azarello, Jim Lee and Scott Williams. DC Comics

This is the second-most common way of defeating Superman.. Superman has a complete vulnerability to magic. However, that vulnerability is often a bit misunderstood, as people sometimes think that Superman has a particular problem with magic. That is not the case. Superman is not more susceptible to magic than, say, Batman would be. The difference is that Batman is vulnerable to a whole lot of things, so it just stands out more when Superman is affected the same way that Batman is to something. 

The most typical way that this vulnerability is expressed is when someone with magical powers uses them on Superman. Like if a magician casts a spell that would turn someone into a chicken, it would also turn Superman into a chicken. 

In addition, Superman can be hurt by magical weapons. As shown above, during the "For Tomorrow" storyline, Wonder Woman cut Superman with a blade that was "tempered in magic." While it seems unlikely that Batman would become a magician himself (although I suppose we shouldn't put learning some spells past Batman), it seems quite possible that he could get a hold of a magical weapon like the one Wonder Woman used there. Such a weapon would be very effective against Superman. 

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3. Red Sun Radiation

DC Comics

Superman gets his powers from solar energy. He draws this energy from Earth's yellow sun. Krypton had a red sun, which cut off the super abilities of the Kryptonian race. Therefore, another way that you could attack Superman is by harnessing the power of a red sun.

In the alternate universe storyline, "Red Son," where baby Kal-El ends up in the Soviet Union under the rule of Joseph Stalin and grows up to become the greatest weapon in the U.S.A./U.S.S.R. arms race, that universe's Batman almost defeats Superman by trapping him underneath red sun generators, which bombarded the Russian of Steel with red sun radiation, causing him to become essentially powerless.

Obviously the generation red sun energy is not easy to do, but if Batman could pull it off, that would be a very effective tool in defeating Superman.  

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4. Sonic Attack

Vandal Savage uses a sonic attack on Superman in Action Comics #556 by Marv Wolfman, Curt Swan and Kurt Schaffenberger. DC Comics

One of the more intriguing ways to attack Superman is to use one of his own strengths against him. Superman has Super-Hearing, which means that he can hear things that other people cannot. The most famous example of this is how he can hear the audio frequency of Jimmy Olsen's Signal Watch while no other human can hear it. 

Therefore, if Superman's hearing is that sensitive, then you could theoretically overload it with hypersonic attacks. The villainous Vandal Savage has used it to great effect in the past. This is why the Superman villain, Silver Banshee, has done so well against Superman (it also helps that her powers are magical in nature). 

Batman used sonic attacks against Superman in the famous climactic fight in The Dark Knight Returns. The trick is finding the right frequency, and that could be a major drawback of this plan for Batman (as well as worrying about his own ears, of course).

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5. Red Kryptonite

Superman suffers the effects of Red Kryptonite in JLA #44 by Mark Waid, Howard Porter and Drew Geraci. DC Comics

Introduced in the late 1950s, the second most famous form of Kryptonite is Red Kryptonite. This material has unpredictable effects on Kryptonians. It can mutate them, it can make them lose their memory, it can change their personalities - it is highly unpredictable. 

During the Justice League "Tower of Babel" storyline, Batman's enemy, Ra's Al Ghul accesses Batman's protocols that he developed in case any of his Justice League teammates went rogue. Al Ghul then used those protocols to take down the Justice League (leading to one of the many times that Batman had to quit a superhero team). 

In that story, Batman's protocol for Superman was to manufacture an artificial form of Red Kryptonite that had much of the same effects as the actual material. It was quite painful for Superman. 

Red Kryptonite is rarer than Green Kryptonite, and since its effects are so unpredictable, it might not be the best weapon against Superman. 

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6. Mind control

During the "Sacrifice" storyline, Superman brutally attacked Batman while under the control of Maxwell Lord. DC Comics

Over the years, Batman has run afoul of Superman somewhat frequently due to Superman being under the mental control of a villain, like the aforementioned Poison Ivy during "Hush" but also the villainous Maxwell Lord during the "Sacrifice" storyline (where Wonder Woman was the only thing keeping Superman from killing Batman). 

While a brainwashed Superman has only tuned out poorly for Batman in the past, it does suggest a vulnerability that Batman could theoretically exploit, as it shows that Superman's mind is not as strong as his body is, so if Batman could figure out some way to hypnotize Superman or something like that (perhaps enlist the help of someone with telepathic abilities), that could be one way for him to successfully take down Superman. 

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7. Solar Energy Depletion

DC Comics

One of the ways that Superman can be defeated that is not listed on this list because there's no real way that Batman could ever achieve it is pure brute force. Superman is nearly invulnerable, but he is not literally invulnerable. There are beings that can successfully defeat Superman just using their strength. Other Kryptonians with Superman's powers, for instance. Doomsday also famously temporarily killed Superman in the 1992 storyline, "The Death of Superman."

While Batman cannot hurt Superman like those people can, it does suggest one avenue that Batman could pursue. The way that Doomsday killed Superman is that Superman essentially used up all of his storage of solar energy by exhausting that energy in physical battle. Therefore, if Superman's solar energy could be depleted in another manner, Superman would similarly be vulnerable. 

This is very difficult to do, of course, so it is not something that Batman could use easily, but theoretically if he cut Superman off from the sun long enough, he could make Superman fight enough to deplete his energy reserves. The most famous example of Superman being cut off from his solar energy was during The Dark Knight Returns when Superman stops a nuclear bomb, but the fallout blocks the sun long enough for Superman to nearly die from exhausting his solar energy reserve. 

Since Batman obviously doesn't want to cause a nuclear winter, he's unlikely to use this method, but it is theoretically possible. 

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8. Gold Kryptonite

Superman exposes himself to Gold Kryptonite in the finale of Alan Moore, Curt Swan and Kurt Schaffenberger's "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?". DC Comics

Gold Kryptonite is a very rare form of Kryptonite that strips Kryptonians of their superpowers. Obviously, outside of alternate realty stories (including the most famous example, Alan Moore's farewell to the Pre-Crisis Superman in "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?"), this could not be used on Superman in regular Superman comics or that would be the end of Superman, but it has been used on a number of other Kryptonians over the years

This is the rarest form of Kryptonite, but clearly, if Batman could get a hold of it, it would make short work of Superman. 

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9. Phantom Zone

Superman seems to be running away to the Phantom Zone to hide from a bad guy in Action Comics #472 by Cary Bates, Curt Swan and Tex Blaisdell. DC Comics

The Phantom Zone is a prison dimension that Krypton used in the past as a place to hold their greatest criminals, with General Zod being the most famous prisoner trapped in the Phantom Zone. In the film, Man of Steel, Superman successfully sends the escaped Kryptonian criminals back to the Phantom Zone at the end of the movie.  

Superman has in his Fortress of Solitude the projector that sends people to the Phantom Zone, so if Batman could get his hands on that projector, he could use it on Superman himself. 

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10. The Bottled City of Kandor

Superman is inspired by Batman to take on the identity of Nightwing when he lost his powers upon visiting the bottled city of Kandor in Superman #158 by Edmond Hamilton, Curt Swan and George Klein. DC Comics

 Years ago, the villainous Brainiac shrunk down an entire Kryptonian city and took it prisoner. Since Krypton was later destroyed, it was almost a stroke of good fortune for the Kandorians, as at least they survived. Superman ended up rescuing them from Brainiac and kept the shrunken bottled city in his Fortress of Solitude. 

When shrunken down and introdcued to the environemtn of Kandor, Superman loses his superpowers. In fact, in one story, he and Jimmy Olsen visit Kandor when some villains had turned the populace against Superman, forcing Superman and Jimmy to become vigilantes inside the city. Without their powers, they decided to follow in the footsteps of Batman and Robin and become Nightwing and Flamebird. Dick Grayson later took the idea to call himself Nightwing as a way to pay tribute to both of his mentors, Batman and Superman.

In any event, while it would be difficult for Batman to get a hold of a shrinking device, if he could pull it off, he could send a minaturized Superman into the bottled city of Kandor to nullify his powers. 

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11. Q-Energy

DC Comics

 By far the most obscure weakness of Superman's is Q-Energy, an energy source discovered by the mad scientist Lorraine Lewis in Superman #204 (by Cary Bates, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito), who used the mysterious energy to torment Superman. One interesting effect of Q-Energy is that it is even deadlier to humans than it is to Superman, and Lewis ends up accidentally disintegrating herself at the end of the story.

Q-Energy soon fell to the wayside, but it was brought back a few more times in the years since, most commonly in the pages of DC Comics Presents (the Superman team-up book) where editor E. Nelson Bridwell, the man with an encyclopedic knowledge of the DC Universe, brought it back in a few stories, including one involving the evil Weapons Master.

If the Weapons Master could get a gun that uses Q-Energy, I don't see why Batman couldn't. 

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12. Regard for Human Life

Superman is disgusted by Batman's methods in Man of Steel #3 by John Byrne and Dick Giordano. DC Comics

 During the aforementioned "Hush" storyline, writer Jeph Loeb has Batman express why he has a chance in a fight against Superman:

If Clark wanted, he could use his superspeed and squish me into the cement. But I know how he thinks. Even more than the Kryptonite, he's got one big weakness. Deep down, Clark's essentially a good person...and deep down, I'm not.

Similarly, when asked how Batman could defeat Superman, Superman actor Henry Cavill said:

[Superman] loves humanity, he loves human beings, and he doesn’t want to hurt them. And so, Batman has an immediate advantage with that, and you’ll see if he uses it.

In Man of Steel #3 by John Byrne and Dick Giordano, that's just how Byrne had Batman combat Superman. In the new telling of their first meeting, Superman intends to take Batman in but Batman surprise him by telling him to look at Batman using his special vision powers. Superman sees an aura around Batman. Batman lets him know that if Superman penetrates that aura, a bomb will go off that will kill an innocent person. Superman is disgusted, but agrees to work with Batman for the sake of the potential bomb victim. They stop the bad guy and in the end, when Superman asks for Batman to now get rid of the bomb, Batman gives him the bomb...which was in Batman's own utility belt. Yes, the "innocent person" was Batman himself. 

While Batman was not trying to actively take Superman down, you can see how that lays the groundwork for how he could manipulate Superman to defeat him in the future.