Batman and Superman switch powers, Pt. 3Posted: 10/04/2014
Before we begin, have you seen the cover for Superman/Batman #56? You should. It’s the issue we read today. Plus it includes Superman’s Batman-esque costume he received from Alfred last issue.
Right? Isn’t that awesome? For those who don’t know iconic pictures of American history, artists Rags Morales and Nei Ruffino recreated a super famous boxing photo of Muhammad Ali standing victorious over Sonny Liston back in 1965. Here’s the original:
I know, it’s great. Let’s get to the issue. Our big finale! It’s well worth the wait, to which you should go buy the arc as soon as you finish this article because your friends will be impressed and women will be attracted to you. Probably. Look, let’s not beat around the bush, you know what’s going to happen: lots of angry punching. But remember last time when Nightwing exposed a Superman-vulnerability to our Dark Knight of Steel? Mainly the dark part. Superman gets his powers from our yellow sun, much like Birdman. So constant exposure to sunlight keeps Superman at 100%, something to keep in mind coming up.
Batman brings up a good point. If Superman can take hits far beyond the ability of a normal man, our secret aggressor no longer has to hold back. Meaning in the 75 years of Batman history, you just witnessed Batman taking the most powerful, brutal, no-holds-barred punch ever in his entire history courtesy of Superman’s girlfriend (and feminist icon, strong solo character, and everything else associated with the most recognizable female superhero in comics — please don’t flame me).
Spoiler alert: Batman does it the hard way. So if the Dark Knight’s hard to beat in his normal squishy form, then the Justice League’s about to have their butt handed to them. As he mentions and as we know, Batman fights dirty and you’d have to be crazy to go up against him in a fair fight (like most of his rogues gallery). And for reference, yes, this is the mentally unstable Batman they’re facing — the one we’ve seen in the previous two parts consumed and pushed over the edge by the major superpower surge. Though it doesn’t make these next few pages any less satisfying.
So let’s talk about this scene. Let’s admire that the Justice League straight up stops the fight because they know three pages in they won’t be able to win. But those crazy voices? Besides being a scene I’m going to skip? It’s one of the most effective ways to stop Superman: mess with his mind. Use illusions, fight emotionally instead of physically, use truth bombs, etc. Superman may be a Man of Steel, but he has a paper-thin heart. We’ll skip Batman crying about his parents, but indulge in Batman’s final maniacal monologue (though on a small level, it is correct) before Clark Kent and Zatanna play their hand.
Don’t despair, you know this is what Batman really wanted. We saw how the venom made Batman into a similar monster. He simply doesn’t cope well with superpowers no matter how much he claims otherwise, much like me and a bottle of wine. Look, I adore Batman and we all knew the status quo would force the two’s switch to reverse itself. But as readers, writers, and Batman himself have pointed out constantly, the only real difference between him and his rogues gallery is that Batman’s obsession is justice as opposed to anything evil. And honestly, it’s my favorite thing about him. After batarangs.
Bittersweet endings still qualify as happy endings.