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I Have Issues (16)

Top Ten Batman Fights

By, J. Ryan Buck (

The Dark Knight Rises comes out on Blu-Ray/DVD on December 4th and has a pretty good fight scene between Bane and Batman. The movie got me thinking, what are the best Batman fight scenes in comics? Well several questions came across my mind as to what makes a good fight scene.

1. Is the fight important to the story?
2. Is the opponent formidable?
3.Is it a cool well-choreographed fight?

Number three counts for a lot with me, so much so that a good fight that means nothing can overtake a fight that means something. A fight that has both, such as the number one choice on my list, is of course going to reign supreme. Agree with me, disagree, think I left a good one out? You’re probably not wrong, but you have to admit that the list has some awesome brawls on it!

Honorable mentions:

“One Hit Wonder”

Justice League #1
Guy challenges the goddamn Batman to a fist fight and goes down like a bitch. Great moment, not great enough to make the list however.

“World War 3”

JLA # 36-41
The first time Batman encountered Prometheus, the villain used his helmet that is connected to his nervous system to copy Batman’s moves and toppled Batman. In this rematch, Batman was prepared and interfered with Prometheus’s helmet by giving him a copy of the nervous system of Professor Stephen Hawking. Another great moment, but most of the fight is off page.

“The Martian Mash”

JLA #3
The White Martians in disguise take down the JLA, well everyone except Batman that is, he is only human after all. Batman uses his detective skill to figure out who the Martians are and then he knows the powerful aliens major weakness. Thinking he is just a super strong flick away from being turned into goo, the Aliens confront the Dark Knight who creates a fire circle around all of them and then cracking his knuckles, says, “Okay, I’m ready.”

10. Batman VS. Dracula
Batman: Red Rain

Gotham is being run by the Lord of Vampires and his minions. Batman does his best to control the blood sucking menace but in the end he just can’t do it without some help, and goes and gets himself turned. The final battle is pretty epic as VampBat uses silver batarang’s as well as his supernatural powers to put down the count, for the count. At the end Bruce notes that he may be dead, but Batman will go on fighting forever.

9. Batman VS. The Incredible Hulk

I covered this battle way back in IHI (5) and even though it’s a wacky pairing, it’s surprisingly well done. Batman doesn’t just swoop in and kick Hulks ass, he uses every item in his utility belt as well as his superior fighting prowess to fell the Hulk for a few seconds. It’s totally believable and it’s an awesome thing to read.

8. Batman VS. Nightwing
Batman # 600

Batman evades most of the fight and when Dick asks for Batman to fight him, Batman lays two face busting punches and then goes back to evading until he get his former sidekick to crash into the case where his old Robin costume is. The fight ends here with Nightwing a bundle of nerves and proving that Bruce taught Dick everything he knows, but not everything Bruce knows. Batman played with him and the only two punches he landed were the only ones he threw.

7. Batman VS. Grendel Prime

The only reason this fight is not in the top three is because it is essentially an Elseworlds tale with a character that not many are familiar with, including me. Grendel Prime is like a cross between the Terminator, Forge(X-Men) and Jason Voorhees and oh he has a lightsaber like weapon as well. Batman goes toe to toe with this monster from the future no less than three separate times and gets his ass handed to him each time. The last time he manages to take Grendel apart to study him, and Grendel just repairs himself back from a single hand and then travels back to the future. The whole story is almost a complete fight scene and it is a good one.

6. Batman VS. The Reaper
Detective Comics 575-578

This storyline takes place in year two where Batman encounters his predecessor as the protector of Gotham. The Reaper was a killer of criminals who didn't feel a hero that was not willing to kill would be successful as Gotham's guardian. The storyline ends on a rooftop where Batman uses the gun that murdered his parents in the battle. In the end the Reaper let’s himself fall to his death secure in the knowledge that Batman will kill if his back is against the wall. Even though Bruce won the fight and puts guns away for good after-wards, he knows that the Reaper nearly made him break his own vow to never kill.

5. Batman VS. Deathstroke The Terminator
Deathstroke 7

Batman is looking for answers and Deathstroke has them. Batman takes it easy on Deathstroke at first but then the kid gloves come off and he's out to bring the pain. Deathstroke reveals, he's also been holding back and states that Batman is just a man, while he is an enhanced killer. Slade and Batman go fist to foot at each other but the Terminator is just too much and beats Batman to within an inch of his life. Batman makes a horror movie comeback but is put down again at the end of the issue.

 4. Batman VS. Bane
Batman 500

Okay, now the list is getting tough. At the end of the Knightfall storyline, Bruce had to recapture a load of villains released by Bane from Arkham. He had not gotten any sleep or rest since the beginning and coming back to his mansion he finds Bane waiting for him. Batman gets his ass kicked and then his back broken, but Batman never gives up and takes the beating the whole way through until he can no longer stand. Story wise, this fight is probably number one, but it’s pretty one-sided and so I can’t place it any higher then number four.

3. Batman VS. Clayface/Jason Todd
Batman 618

During the Hush storyline Batman is sent jumping through all manner of hoops and thinks he has finally found the man behind it, Jason Todd otherwise known as the second Robin who was murdered by the Joker! Batman doesn’t want to fight his former ward and is beaten harshly with not only Todd’s physical attacks, but his verbal ones as well! The guilt Bruce has always felt about Jason’s death has haunted him for years and he figures maybe he deserves to be beaten. Using his detective skills and putting all the elements together he realizes that he is not fighting Jason at all but yet another red herring in the ongoing storyline as he beats the man’s ass revealing his opponent to be Clayface. (If you read and followed Judd Winick’s Batman run then he was actually fighting Jason Todd and during the battle Jason switched with Clayface before the finale… whatever.)

2. Batman VS. The Mutant Gang Leader.
The Dark Knight Returns: Book Two

It’s the future and the villain’s no longer play by the rules. Batman is old and rusty at the super hero game and while taking down mutants in the BatTank, he encounters the monster sized mutant gang leader who pulls him out of the tank and mops the floor with him. The mutant is younger stronger and just better then Batman. After realizing he can’t fight like a young man anymore, Batman goes for round two with the Mutant and uses every dirty trick in the book. The mutant just can’t handle a man as angry as Bruce with nothing to lose and is killed by him. This is a turning point in the story as Batman shows that if the bad guys are taking things down to the gutter, he will join them down there, he will stop at nothing to win!

1. Batman VS. Superman
The Dark Knight Returns: Book Four

Were you expecting anything else here? This is like the Rock versus Stone Cold at WM 17 magnitude. This fight is two men representing two different ideologies. Superman is still the ultimate good guy and Batman has crossed the line one too many times.  Batman fires missiles uses synthetic kryptonite a tank and everything else in his arsenal and still Superman keeps coming. In the end Batman wears Superman down enough to use his power suit and take him to within an inch of his life. Superman knows by the end, that Batman beat him.

This list was a month in the making as I nearly flipped through every comic with Batman that I have. I found some great fights with others that have taken the Batman mantle, but in the end I decided to keep to just Bruce Wayne. I did go into it with an open mind as to what was the best but the number one fight has been placed on every top fight list for Batman and Superman I have read. I read it again and knew that yes, it was still the best! 

Previous installments here


  1. Nice list but Batman doesn't kill the mutant leader. He breaks him but I believe there's a panel explaining how the leader will spend months in traction or something along those lines.

  2. Good list. I'd also give honorable mention to the "fight" between Bats and Captain America in JLA/Avengers #2.

  3. Caliber_Winfield_69420BoobiesNovember 28, 2012 at 9:37 AM

    You know, I usually skip the comic book reviews [no offense to you, Mr. Scribe]. I'm a comic book fan, but I don't read anything current, except Punisher MAX.

    But I read this, because I knew it would involve things I know about, and it'd be a fun subject.

    As a suggestion, I think your future articles should be more like this. Instead of aiming for reviews, continue talking about comics but come up with different methods. Lists, personal memory articles and such about growing up with'em, things like that. Just a suggestion.

    Keep up the good work though.

  4. I really think of what I do as more synopsis and opinion then really full on reviews. I try not to give ratings and such because everyone likes different stuff anyway. The synopsis is essentially bringing story lines to the folks who may be have not read them or if I may be so bold, want to hear my thoughts on the stories in question. I appreciate the insight but the synopsis are pretty fun for me and so far no one has wrote to Scott to vote me off the website so I am of the assumption that others are enjoying them as well. I am definitely planning on doing more one offs such as these lists in the future so please by all means just read what you enjoy! I actually have a Punisher synopsis on tap on one of the following weeks, so it should be right up your alley!

  5. A thousand times yes.

  6. Indeed. I've always read DKR with the understanding that Batman really doesn't kill during the ML.

  7. Great list. I'd have the Bats/Mutant Leader at #1, but that's nitpicking. I'll have to give it some more thought to come up with some other suggestions.

    The first panel in Batman/Deathstroke above is a picture-perfect kick. Great job by the artist, especially for that time.

    Off the top of my head, I loved Dick-as-Batman vs. Ra's al Ghul in Batman Reborn.

    Also Bruce vs. Ra's during Hush.

    Bruce had an awesome fight with Lady Shiva when I was a kid, but I can't remember what book it was in.

    I've always loved the showdown between Batman and Jason Todd in Under the Hood. Great fight.

  8. I haven't read any new Punisher MAX since the Aaron run ended.How is the recent stuff?

  9. It mentions the Guy Gardner scene - "one punch! ONE PUNCH!" so I approve of this.

  10. One I always quite liked that doesn't get mentioned very often if the fight Batman had with the Predator in the final issue (and taking up the whole issue) of their first crossover. Starts out with the Predator slicing through the GCPD, tearing apart the Batmobile, an all out brawl through the Batcave and ends with Alfred wielding a blunderbuss and Batman beating the shit out of the Predator with a baseball bat.

  11. Whatever, Guy is a badass now so that punch means nothin!

  12. Dude, I love your stuff. More please, and more often.


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