Could Batman Actually Kill Superman in a Fight?

2 minute read

Batman and Superman will face off this weekend in the aptly named Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. But while we know the super strong alien Superman could definitely beat mere mortal Batman in a fight, would it be physically possible for the Dark Knight to actually take down the Man of Steel? Is the god-like hero killable?

The answer based on Superman canon is: sort of. In theory, if Superman is weakened by Kryptonite, he could die like any human. He could also die of old age if he wasn’t exposed to earth’s yellow sun—though old for an alien means thousands of years.

But though Superman has “died” multiple times in the comics, he always comes back.

The most memorable of these incidents is the infamous “Death of Superman” storyline in which Superman perishes fighting a monster named Doomsday. The two duke it out in front of the Daily Planet. Though Superman manages to kill Doomsday (or at least he thinks he killed him), he succumbs to injuries sustained in the fight.

Notably, Doomsday appears in the Batman v Superman trailer as the monster that Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman must fight.

Meet All the Actors Who Have Played Batman and Robin

Lewis Wilson And Douglas Croft In 'Batman'
Lewis Wilson was the first actor to play Batman on screen, with Douglas Croft joining him as the first Robin in the 1943 film Batman.Columbia Pictures—Getty Images
Robert Lowery was the second to don the guise of Batman, playing the caped crusader in the 15 chapter serial, Batman and Robin in 1949.Everett
Johnny Duncan played Robin to Lowery's Batman in the 1949 Batman and Robin serial.Columbia
Adam West in Batman
Adam West played the role of masked crime fighter for three seasons on the 1960s television series Batman.Mondadori—Getty Images
Batman And Robin
Burt Ward joined Adam West as his Robin for the Batman television series.Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images
Michael Keaton played Batman in the 1992 film Batman Returns.Warner Bros.
Following Keaton three years later, Val Kilmer portrayed the billionaire playboy in 1995's Batman Forever.Warner Bros.
Chris O'Donnell played Robin for two different Batmen. He was Val Kilmer's Robin in 1995 (pictured above) and then joined George Clooney in 1997 for the widely panned Batman & Robin.Warner Bros.
Hard to remember, but George Clooney once took a turn as Batman, back in the 1997--before the Oscars knew his name so well.Warner Bros.
Christian Bale donned the mask for Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy.Ron Phillips—Warner Bros
Ben Affleck is the latest to join the ranks of actors who have portrayed the caped crusader, in the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Lego Batman
Will Arnett voices Bruce Wayne/Batman in The Lego Batman Movie, a 3D-animated take on the DC superhero and a spin-off of 2014's The Lego Movie.Warner Bros.

MORE: Review: Superheroes Duke It Out Superseriously in Batman v Superman

Back to the comics: Superman eventually returns from the dead. The method of resurrection is convoluted to say the least. Superman’s body is put in a regeneration machine in the Fortress of Solitude. In the meantime, his adopted father Jonathan Kent, has a heart attack. Kent briefly crosses over to the afterlife where he finds the spirit of his Superman and brings him back to the real world. Several issues later, Superman returns in both body and spirit. Many fans balked at the fake out, groaning that Superman basically took a nap and came back with a new hairstyle. Critics called the plot a “catastrophe.”

Perhaps the debate—fit for an episode of Seinfeld—about whether Superman could be throttled while weakened by Krypton or drowned or even die of hunger is besides the point. It’s hard to believe DC would kill off one of its most popular superheroes, not to mention ruin the opportunity for a lucrative film franchise.

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