Batman vs. Superman: The Background Story

An introduction to the battle between DC’s poster children

April has been a great month for nerds. We had the Vietnamese release for Avengers: Age of Ultron the Thursday before Spring Break (a whole week before the States!), an awesome new teaser trailer released for the new Star Wars movie, a full trailer released for the new Ant-Man movie, and a full trailer released for the new Fantastic Four movie. But perhaps one of the most exciting trailers released this month was the one for the upcoming Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice film, slated for a 2016 release date. It is only a teaser trailer, and while we only get any excitement for about the second half of the 2 minutes, it is just enough to keep comic enthusiasts like myself dying for next year to get here quicker. But since showing the trailer to virtually everyone I know, I’ve kept hearing the same question come up – why would Batman fight Superman? They are both good guys, aren’t they? Don’t they work together in the Justice League? After realizing I don’t completely know the answer myself, I figured it would be most appropriate to do some investigation on one of the most famous comic book storylines of DC.

Though the DC frontmen have had a variety of different conflicts and skirmishes in different storylines,Batman_-_Dark_Knight_Returns_1 the most famous Batman vs. Superman story takes place in the 1986 mini-series The Dark Knight Returns, written by Frank Miller. It tells the story of a dystopian Gotham where Batman has actually retired after the death of the second Robin, but as the title implies, puts the cape back on for a variety of reasons. Superman, who is acting more or less as an operative for the American government, is sent to shut down Batman, who the US deems a threat. The two have an epic battle, with Batman equipped with a robotic suit of armor, not unlike the Hulkbuster suit Iron Man dons in the new Avengers to battle Hulk, to bring the two to a level playing field. Green Lantern, who now only has one arm and is more of a revolutionary than an actual hero, is also featured in the battle, fighting on the side of the victor, who I won’t reveal…(spoiler alert: there is Kryptonite involved)

It is still too early to determine if this will be the storyline used for the upcoming Dawn of Justice movie, however it would not be too much of a stretch. After all, one of the few footage clips shown in the trailer was one of Batman suited up in his high-tech battle outfit, ready to “make Superman bleed”. And the idea of Superman being an agent for the US isn’t too far-fetched, given his relationship to the government in Man of Steel. Additionally, while it hasn’t been announced if Green Arrow will be featured in the film, it is known that quite a few other DC friends will indeed make an appearance – Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Cyborg have all been confirmed. This seems to show that DC is moving in a similar direction to Marvel, with the “shared universe” idea and overlapping characters.


One of the things I find most interesting is the fact that, at this rate, no one is really sure if this is going to be more of a Batman movie or a Superman movie. There has been a lot of speculation that claims it will be the sequel to 2013’s Man of Steel, but that theory has already been shot down by the Clark Kent actor Henry Cavill.  The Dark Knight Returns storyline is a Batman one, and relies heavily on other Batman characters such as Robin and the Joker – does this mean that it will be more of a Batman movie and feature these characters in addition to the other JLA characters? I would venture to guess that it is somewhere in th middle and will be used as a setup for the continuation of the DC Universe and the Justice League, once again following the footsteps of Marvel. Ironically, Batman V. Superman will be competing against Marvel’s very own civil war in Captain America: Civil War, where we will see all of the Marvel heroes forced to choose sides and turn on each other, which will be released just a couple months after BVS. 2016 will undoubtedly be a(nother) stellar year for superheroes, and we will simply have to wait and see how all the internal battles turn out.

The promo poster for Civil War, courtesy of Marvel

The current roster for DC’s films are as follow:

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice – March 25, 2016

Suicide Squad – August 5, 2016

Wonder Woman – July 23, 2017

Justice League Part 1 – November 17, 2017

Flash – March 23, 2018

Aquaman – July 27, 2018

Shazam – April 5, 2019

Justice League Part II – June 14, 2019

Cyborg – April 3, 2020

Green Lantern – June 19, 2020