The time honoured tradition of debating the outcome of a fight between two superheroes is as old as the medium itself. Undoubtedly right now somewhere someone is in the middle of a debate over who wins between two of our four colour champions and it is really all part of the fun of loving comicbooks (unless it is online, there it seems to be a vile spittle filled all-caps-apalooza that eventually degrades into personal insults. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ) These Days if you casually glance at the comment section on the latest capes-and-tights movie trailer you’ll be washed over with a flood of bile and vitriol filled statements that are based more on brand loyalty and tribe mentality than anything actually related to the work itself.
Anyyyyyway. Will these duels ever have a definite and finite answer? Probably not, but if anyone can settle one of these conflicts and put the matter to rest it is Stan Lee. This past weekend at the ‘The Men, The Myths, The Legends‘ panel at this years Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2) Hostess Clare Kramer (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) asked for Stan’s insight on the eventual outcome of an all out mano-a-mano, drag-out, winner takes all, fist fest between Marvel’s star spangled man, Captain America, and DC Comics Dark Knight, Batman. And yes, he gave the perfect answer (via Heroic Hollywood.)
“Anytime anybody asks you who would win in a fight, the only correct answer is that it depends on who’s writing the story,”
Yes. It may not be the answer we need, but it is the answer we deserve. Maybe I am reading a bit too much into Stan’s wisdom but it is worth remembering that it is sort of a subjective topic where the fun (should) be in the discourse and not necessarily the outcome. Fandom shouldn’t be so decisive and flipping one of these fights into an actual real live fan-fight does it a disservice, don’t you think? (Note to self: don’t look at the Facebook comments)
Granted, if you really want to push for an ‘official‘ victor in the fight between Batman and Captain America… well the closest you are going to get is 1996’s 4 issue company cross-over event, DC vs. Marvel Comics (issues #2–3 titled Marvel Comics vs. DC for the sake of fairness.) However the end is a little inconclusive:
Both Cap and Bats trade blows for an inhumanly long amount of time, neither one giving an inch with both combatants being evenly matched. That is until a deus ex machina moment in the form of a gush of sewer water (ew) knocks the Avenger off his footing giving the caped crusader a chance to blind side Captain America with a well placed Batarang, sending him into the unmentionably murky waters. Technically you can say Steve lost since Bruce did have to fish him out of the poo fluid ’cause he was unconscious and about to drown, but both heroes came out of the duel with a deeper respect and a mutual admiration for each other (and then Batman fuses with Wolverine into Dark Claw, while Captain America mashes-up with Superman to become Super-Soldier but dear god let’s not go into the Amalgam universe.)
It’s a metaphor, people. We can have our debates and even let them get a little heated at times but at the end of the day we’re all rooting for the same thing here. Comicbooks and the love of the characters in them and the admiration of those wonderful masters of wonderment that make them. Yes, every time/ any time you are in a comic shop and have a chance to get into a discussion on who wins over what or could so and so beat whatshisface, DO IT! Pick sides, have favourites and just remember that at the end of the day DC Comics and Marvel Comics used to have an annual softball game together, and Stan Lee himself will tell you that the rivalry was started as a mutual push to be better and a friendly fracas that was really just part of the fun. So.. keep it fun?
If you want to know who wins in a fight between Batman and Captain America, or Superman vs Thor, or Hawkman vs Squirrel Girl, the answer is simple. Us, the reader, the watcher, the ones who are enjoying what these men and woman make for our enjoyment. And if you think Squirrel Girl would win (despite what ever nature video has ever said of raptor against rodent fights,) AWESOME. Let’ talk about it and have a little fun. Just don’t make it weird or get too angry, ok?
And, if that doesn’t work, well… maybe just heed Ben “He’s Batman and you really need to accept that” Affleck’s advice: