In the world of comics, you have a bunch of small companies and two big players. We all know who they are. Everybody is familiar with the characters. Of course, I am talking about DC and Marvel. DC is the driving force behind Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman.
Marvel has their share of heavy-hitters with Spider-Man, the (Incredible) Hulk, and the Fantastic Four. Both companies are riding high on massive waves of successful franchises. Each company’s characters have a counterpoint within the other company, excluding Spider-Man and the Green Lantern(s).One of my favorite comparisons between DC and Marvel is Batman and Daredevil.
Now before I start getting comments and emails pointing out that there is “NO” comparison between the two, hang with me. In order to truly understand the similarities, it’s important to have a firm grasp of who each character is. I’ll start with Batman.
Batman, a.k.a. The Caped Crusader, the Dark Knight, and the World’s Greatest Detective, is the alter ego of Bruce Wayne. Bruce Wayne witnessed the murder of his parents at the age of 8. He became the sole heir to the massive Wayne Family fortune.
Young Bruce was raised by the family’s butler Alfred. Wayne dedicated his life to developing his body, mind, and skills to bring himself to the peak of human limits. Donning a grey costume with a black cape and cowl, Bruce Wayne took to the streets of Gotham City to seek vengeance and revenge on the criminal element of the city that was responsible for his parents’ deaths.
Batman has no “superpowers” and must rely on his strength, skills, and gadgets to accomplish his crime-fighting objectives. By day, Bruce Wayne is a billionaire playboy and the CEO of Wayne Industries.
Daredevil, a.k.a. The Man Without Fear, is the alter ego of Matt(hew) Murdock. Matt Murdock was born a regular healthy kid in the New York City neighborhood Hell’s Kitchen. An accident involving toxic materials left young Matt Murdock blind, but his other four senses (touch, smell, taste, and hearing) grew to super-powered levels. He hid his heightened senses from his father, a boxer, turned mob enforcer, turned boxer again. Shortly after his accident, Matt’s father was killed for not throwing a fight.
Matt promised his father that he’d get out of Hell’s Kitchen and make something of himself. After his father’s death, Murdock began training and learning to use his senses to their fullest from a blind sensei. At the same time, he worked his way through law school. Upon graduation, Matt Murdock partnered up with his classmate, Foggy Nelson to open a law firm in Hell’s Kitchen.
He wears a red costume with a horned mask and relies on his heightened senses and a gadgety billy club to patrol Hell’s Kitchen.
Both Batman and Daredevil serve a similar purpose in their cities. They are both vigilantes that spend the bulk of their time (presumably) patrolling the streets and prevent small time criminals from doing their thing.
Both of them use their detective skills to make fairly solid deductions. And my personal favorite, neither of them is above dishing out a solid beating or mildly (tongue firmly in cheek) torturing someone to get the answers or information that they want.
Occasionally, both of these heroes end up facing villains whose powers far exceed theirs and it is in those moments that we are given a glimpse into just how smart and improvisational they can be. It is for that very reason that neither of them function at their best when they are teamed up with one or more other heroes.
I know that some of you are screaming, “What about ROBIN?!?!?!”, and you probably have good reason. But keep in mind that the Robin of today is more of an extension of Batman. According to the widely accepted mythos of Batman and Robin, when not out fighting crime, they basically spend their life training and preparing for situations. For them, fighting criminals is like a football team running a play.
So….excluding Robin, Batman isn’t as effective when fighting alongside others. Both Batman and Daredevil team up with various heroes from time to time. Usually, it’s to sell more comics, but occasionally it is to really deliver an a$$kicking that sends their message with a big huge exclamation point at the end.
Obviously, the debate rages on concerning which of these two would win in a fight between them. Usually, that argument is set within certain parameters, such as “Who would win in a fight between Batman and Daredevil if they were both naked and underwater…”, that are not likely to happen within the Marvel or DC universes. I think the better argument would be “How would Batman handle himself if he were in Daredevil’s situation” and vice versa.
Currently, both Daredevil and Batman are in the middle of very interesting story lines.
Daredevil is locked in a battle of wits with an old nemesis, Mr. Fear (who operates a lot like The Scarecrow, from the Batman titles, does. Coincidence??) who has proven that he can get to Daredevil through his wife. This is a great story that tells us what lengths Daredevil is willing to go to save his wife from the consequences of Mr. Fear’s actions.
This current story arc began with issue #100 and concludes in issue #105, but this is really a continuation of everything that has been happening since issue #94. Keep in mind that DAREDEVIL is a title that is more for those that like crime mysteries that feature superheroes rather than superhero stories that have mysteries within them.
Batman on the other hand is in the middle of a short story arc that is sure to change the Batman universe immensely. Having seemingly been killed, Batman awakens to find himself being confronted in a torture chair by one of the Batman replacements. This current arc began with issue #672 and runs straight into the “Batman R.I.P” story arc that begins with issue #676. BATMAN is the Batman title for those of us that don’t always have to see the hero win.
It is also the title where most of the mythos changing stories happen. Almost all of the other titles fall into line after the dust settles in this cornerstone title.
As with all comics, you have to take yourself out of the “How can they be here in one title and there in another” mindset and just enjoy the stories for what they are. Both titles have great creative teams working on them right now that really understand the characters strengths, weaknesses, and legends.
And here’s my $.02 on the Batman vs. Daredevil fight: Batman would win simply because he would deduce that Daredevil’s other senses are heightened (Daredevil’s tell is when he cocks his head to the side to focus his hearing) and eventually use that against him.
I suspect it would be some sort of high-pitched sound emitting device, similar to the one in BATMAN: YEAR ONE (and BATMAN BEGINS) that he uses to summon the bats, to throw the rest of his abilities off. Batman has done this on occasion to other adversaries, including Superman, with similar results.
Now, if they were both in complete darkness, naked, and underwater….all bets are off.