Change is the proper way to adapt. Change is the proper way to stay fresh and in the spotlight. For nearly one hundred years, Superman has gone through many changes, adaptations and ways to stay fresh. Every writer who has been in control of him have put their own notes on the iconic character. He has been the boy scout, the beacon of hope, and the great leader of greats. But a trend has been going on with him. Superman has become something that goes against his symbol. Over the last few years, Superman has been seen as a warlord, a dictator and a villain. To bluntly put it; it needs to stop! He needs to go back to the boy scout beacon of hope…so Batman could take his turn as a dictator, a warlord and a villain.
Superman has been the enemy most notably in the Injustice universe and his continuation in the Synderverse. There has also been flashes where he has been the same enemy in the animated Justice League series, Justice League: Unlimited, Batman Beyond, and a handful of times in the books. And if the rules are stretched a bit, he was the antagonist in The Dark Knight Returns. Batman has only been the villain recently within the Dark Universe. Here, he has mutated or transformed into something much darker, eviler. But those were monstrosities. The scariest Batman is the one who is in control, who is simply himself.
Batman is a strategist, tactician, a man who demands order and control. A simple mortal that has seemingly killed off his public life to put everything he has into his secret, yet true, life to stop crime. This tenacity has even persuaded him to take note of all Justice League member’s weaknesses, put it in his database, ready to use in the event they lose control of themselves. Batman is a man who is always on the edge. Straddles that line of being in control of his action and on the verge of losing it all. The Dark Universe has shown that. But what if, a regular Batman, who doesn’t rely on mutation, really snapped? Finally took on the challenge, the mission to take full control. Weaponized the contingency plans against the Justice League, himself. Sent out the Bat Family such as Nightwing, Red Hood, Catwoman, the Batgirls, and Ace as foot soldiers to take out criminals, super criminals and former allies who he sees are out of line. Batman is already a paranoid man. It could easily be seen that he has grown exhausted of fighting and stopping crime with one hand behind his back. Tired of witnessing firsthand that the Justice League and their allies are the beacons that draw in evil. He has the knowledge, the plans, the resources, and the persistence to take over the world. Batman could be a classic overlord that insists his word is law. For a man that symbolically died at a young age, is being torn apart as an adult , and can’t have a normal life all because of crime, Batman could easily take that step to ensure crime does not occur, no matter the cost, consequences, or tarnished relationships.
A spotlight that Superman is rarely in, if ever, is the underdog. The resistance so to speak. Each fight he has gone in, he’s favored. His abilities alone makes it hard to doubt him in a fight. Yet, that changes when he goes up against Batman. The Dark Knight always has something to keep the Man of Steel off balance. Those fights have been seen. Yet they have been in the lens that Batman is the protagonist and Superman is the antagonist. It’s time for that to be switched! How will Superman think and plan against Batman who has cut loose of all his morals, his friendships, his humanity to ensure safety for all? Sure, this has been played out before in his rivalry with Lex Luthor but those fights weren’t as personal as fighting someone he calls a friend. What will be Superman’s plans? How will Superman think strategically to avoid Batman’s tactics to keep him weaken? How will Superman act knowing, and perhaps accepting, his strengths are now liabilities? In the fights with Batman, where Superman is in control, Superman has held back against his friend. His nature of being a good soul has done that. Fighting for a resistance that has their backs against the wall, morality is low, and hope is vanishing, Superman may have to deliberately turn that side of him off. Something that has been done but this time around, his turn comes from a much more positive reason. Something that could refresh his character.
Batman has the perfect template to be a good Superman villain yet up until now, it’s been quite the opposite. Whenever there is a story or subplot that has Superman evil, Batman is always the first on the front line to combat him. He uses what he has and what he has learned to take down Superman and reclaim peace. But that story has been said and said enough. Batman needs to be what he has been set up to be; a threat to the world. And Superman needs to become more of what he is; a beacon of hope against the dark.