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Superman-batman 8 cvr - large.jpg
Cover of Superman/Batman #8 (May, 2004). Art by Michael Turner.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
Schedule Monthly
Format Ongoing series
Publication date October 2003 onwards
Number of issues 66 + 3 Annuals
Main character(s) Superman
Creative team
Writer(s) Jeph Loeb (#1-25)
Sam Loeb (#26)
Mark Verheiden (#27-36)
Alan Burnett (#37-42)
Joe Kelly (Annual #1-2)
Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning (#43)
Michael Green and Mike Johnson (#44- )
Len Wein(Annual #3)
Penciller(s) Ed McGuiness (#1-6, 20-25, Annual #1)
Pat Lee (#7, #34-36)
Michael Turner (#8-13)
Carlos Pacheco (#14-18)
Ian Churchill (#19)
Kevin Maguire (#27)
Ethan Van Sciver (#28-31)
Matthew Clark (#32-33)
Dustin Nguyen (#37-42)
Ryan Ottley (Annual #1)
Sean Murphy (Annual #1)
Carlo Barberi (Annual #1)
Scott Kolins (Annual #2)
Mike McKone (#43)
Shane Davis(#44-49)
Ed Benes (#50)
Rags Morales (#53-58)
Inker(s) Dexter Vines
Matt “Batt” Banning (#44-49)
Creator(s) Jeph Loeb
Ed McGuiness
Collected editions
Public Enemies ISBN 140120323X
Supergirl ISBN 1401203477
Absolute Power ISBN 1401204473
Vengeance ISBN 1401209211
Enemies Among Us ISBN 1401213305
Torment ISBN 1401217001
The Search For Kryptonite ISBN 1401219330

Superman/Batman is a monthly comic book series published by DC Comics that features the publisher's two most popular characters: Batman and Superman. Superman/Batman premiered in August 2003 and is an update of the previous series World's Finest Comics, in which Superman and Batman regularly joined forces.

Superman/Batman explores the camaraderie, antagonism, and friendship between its titular characters. Jeph Loeb, the series' first writer, introduced a dual-narrator technique to present the characters' often opposing viewpoints and estimations of each other, which subsequent series writers have maintained. Prior to the 1985 limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths, the two iconic characters were depicted as the best of friends. Frank Miller's landmark series Batman: The Dark Knight Returns was the first DC story that depicts the heroes at odds with each other, as opposed to Pre-Crisis incarnations. This dynamic became DC Universe canon with John Byrne's The Man of Steel, a Superman reboot published in 1986.

With the exception of the first thirteen issues, most of the story arcs are independent and self-contained from the ongoing or crossover storylines in the other Batman and Superman comic titles.[1] Superman/Batman #26, Loeb's final issue, features a story plotted by Jeph Loeb's son, Sam Loeb, who wrote it prior to his death from cancer in 2005 at the age of 17. Twenty-six writers and artists who knew Sam worked on the issue, donating their fees and royalties for the issue to The Sam Loeb College Scholarship Fund.[2]


Publication history


Jeph Loeb

Loeb, who had great success with stories like Batman: The Long Halloween and Superman For All Seasons, as well as being the author of the highly successful Batman: Hush story, was the first writer of the series when it premiered in 2003.

In the first story arc, "The World's Finest", also referred to as "Public Enemies" (issues #1-6, illustrated by Ed McGuinness), then-U.S. President Lex Luthor declares Superman and Batman enemies of the state, claiming that a Kryptonite asteroid headed for Earth is connected to an evil plot by Superman. Luthor offers a $1 billion bounty, which encourages both supervillains and superheroes to attack. Superman almost kills Lex, with Batman standing aside. Superman changes his mind at the last moment.

The new Toyman, Hiro Okamura, assists with the asteroid's destruction. Captain Atom is seemingly killed.[3] The danger averted and Luthor's plans in jeopardy, Luthor injects himself with a mixture of Venom and synthetic Kryptonite, dons a battle suit from the planet Apokolips, and confronts Batman and Superman. Luthor is defeated and appears to die in the battle, although he is shown to survive. In the course of the fight, Luthor is irrevocably exposed to the world as a villain for the first time in post-Crisis continuity.[4] Losing the presidency, Luthor is succeeded in office by Pete Ross.

This story has been adapted as a direct-to-video animated film entitled Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, which was released on September 29, 2009.[5]

In "Protégé" (Issue #7, illustrated by Pat Lee), Superboy and Robin investigate the new Toyman for their mentors.

In "The Supergirl From Krypton" (issues #8-13, illustrated by Michael Turner), the Kryptonite asteroid is revealed to hold a pod that contains Superman's cousin Kara Zor-El. Batman says her arrival is too coincidental. Wonder Woman abducts Kara to Themyscira to train her for combat. Darkseid kidnaps Kara, intending her to be the new leader of the Female Furies. She is rescued from Darkseid and taken back to Earth. The villain follows; seemingly killing Kara at the home of Jonathan and Martha Kent. An enraged Superman throws Darkseid into the reality-spanning Source Wall, entrapping him. However, Kara is back in Themyscira and is introduced to the world as Supergirl.

This story arc marked the only time in late artist Michael Turner's career that he provided interior art for a company other than Top Cow Productions or his own publisher Aspen MLT.[6]

In "Absolute Power" (issues #14-18, illustrated by Carlos Pacheco), Lightning Lord, Saturn Queen and Cosmic King -- three supervillains from the 31st century -- eliminate members of the Justice League of America, except for young Superman and Batman, whom they raise as their own children. Batman and Superman are raised to be dictators of the world, eliminating all opposition and killing people who would otherwise be their friends. During a fight with Wonder Woman and the Freedom Fighters the timeline is thrown into chaos, and the two men travel through alternate timelines. Darkseid makes a deal with them in one reality to send them back through time to stop the supervillains who raised them from altering history. Superman and Batman restore history, but the murders they committed haunt them.

Issue #19 (illustrated by Ian Churchill) is a stand-alone backdoor pilot story for the Supergirl series. The issue was later reprinted as Supergirl #0.

In "With A Vengeance!" (issues #20-25, illustrated by Ed McGuiness), Mr. Mxyzptlk battles the Joker, who has tricked Bat-Mite out of his powers, using other characters as their pawns. Superman and Batman fight a team of superheroes from an alternate universe called the Maximums (a pastiche of Marvel Comics' Avengers series, more specifically their incarnations from the Ultimate universe, the Ultimates). Keeping the bargain he made in "Absolute Power", Superman frees Darkseid from the Source Wall. Double-crossed, Superman becomes stuck in the wall himself. Bizarro and multiple Supergirls rescue him. Everyone so far and many more other duplicates fight in an arena before Bat-Mite escapes. The two imps tie up all loose ends with their cosmic powers. Additionally, Superman, Batman and the Toyman discover that Captain Atom is alive.

Sam Loeb

Before he finished writing Superman/Batman #26, Jeph Loeb's son Sam died on June 17, 2005 at the age of 17 after a three-year battle with cancer. The issue was supposed to be Sam's DC writing debut, and was to be illustrated by Pat Lee. Jeph, along with 25 other comic book professionals and artists who had known Sam, worked on the issue, scripting or penciling individual pages. Marvel Comics allowed John Cassaday and Joss Whedon to work on the issue despite their exclusive contracts. All 26 contributors donated their fees and royalties for the issue to The Sam Loeb College Scholarship Fund.

In "The Boys Are Back in Town" (issue #26), Superman and Batman send Superboy and Robin to visit the Toyman in Japan because he has not been heard from in a while. The issue was released shortly after Superboy's death in Infinite Crisis #6, and Robin's eulogy of Superboy serves as both a framing sequence and as a meditation on the author's passing.

The 26 contributors to the issue:


"Sam's Story", a back-up story written by Jeph Loeb ten days after his son's death, depicts young Clark Kent's friendship with a boy named Sam who gets cancer. Tim Sale provides the art for the story in a style reminiscent of the Superman For All Seasons limited series.[7]

Mark Verheiden

Superman writer and Smallville producer Mark Verheiden took over Superman/Batman with issue #27.

In "Never Mind" (issue #27, illustrated by Kevin Maguire), The Superman and Batman of Earth-Two discover that their minds have been transferred by the Ultra-Humanite and the original Brainwave into the bodies of Power Girl (Superman's cousin) and the Huntress (Batman's daughter). If they cannot reverse the process in time, the women's personalities will soon reassert themselves and destroy the men's consciousness, killing them.

In "The Enemies Among Us" (issues #28-33, illustrated Ethan Van Sciver for Parts 1-3, with Matthew Clark picking up Parts 4-5, and Joe Benitez concluding with Part 6), Superman, Martian Manhunter and other alien superheroes are being controlled by an entity known as Blackrock.

In "A.I." (issues #34-36, illustrated by Pat Lee), Superman and Batman are introduced to Will Magnus and his malleable, shape-shifting Metal Men for the first time (in post-Infinite Crisis continuity). Bruce Wayne hires the Metal Men as security guards. They go on a rampage and steal a prototype OMAC unit.

Alan Burnett

Known for his work on the DC animated universe and The Batman television series, Alan Burnett took over as writer of the series with issue #37.

In "Torment" (#37 to #42, illustrated by Dustin Nguyen), Superman is psychologically tortured by the Scarecrow and brought to the war planet Tartaros by Desaad. Desaad plants a mind-controlling spike in Superman's head, and sends him to retrieve Highfather's staff from the Source Wall, which Darkseid plans to use to restore his powers, which have been steadily waning since his escape from the wall. Batman comes after Superman, but is sidetracked by Orion's wife Bekka. Both are unable to control their attraction to one another. Superman retrieves the staff, but is trapped in the Source Wall as a result. Batman and Bekka take advantage of Desaad's attempted betrayal of Darkseid to steal the staff and bring back Superman. Darkseid and Desaad flee, and Tartarus is pulled into the hole Superman made in the Source Wall when he escaped. Superman, Batman and Bekka return to Earth, bringing Scarecrow with them. Bekka is retrieved by Orion, and is later seen being killed by a shadowy assailant.

Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning

This team filled in for issue #43, and later wrote off of scripts from Mike Johnson for issues #57-59.

In "Darklight" (#43, illustrated by Mike McKone), Doctor Light infiltrates a dark matter fuel experiment on a Waynetech satellite, by creating solidgram versions of the original Teen Titans to distract the guards. He then uses the experiment's Kryptonian processor to enter the Fortress of Solitude. While Superman battles the Titan solidgrams, Batman manages to head off and defeat Light by trapping him in a Dark Matter crystal. Light is later freed by Lex Luthor, who wants him to join his new Injustice League.

In "Nanopolis" (#57-59) The Prankster tricks Superman and shrinks him to microscopic size. Batman must find him and return him to normal size. Before returning to normal, the two heroes must rescue the microscopic civilization whose existence has been inadvertently endangered by the Prankster.

Mike Johnson and Michael Green

As of issue #46, Mike Johnson joined with Michael Green to continue the series; issue #44 was the beginning of the run. They are the first writers to hold regular roles on this series since Jeph Loeb.

In "K" (#44 to #49, illustrated by Shane Davis), Superman and Batman began a mission to collect and rid the Earth of every piece of Kryptonite, a substance lethal to Superman, which has been in great abundance since Kara's arrival earlier in this series. Along the way, Batman and Superman receive a lot of support from other heroes, including Firestorm, looking for membership in the JLA. They surprisingly also encounter some resistance, especially from the new Aquaman. This story also includes the reveal of two new variations of Kryptonite that have been also enhanced by a magical charm. One causes Superman to feel like a kid and care-free for the day, which also has implications of a drug-like effect, while the second restores him to normal. As they continue to search, they encounter the Last Line, a team run by Amanda Waller.

In "The Fathers" (#50), while rebuilding Smallville following the events of "K", Superman and Batman uncover a piece of Kryptonian technology that reveals that Jor-El came in contact with Thomas Wayne while searching for an appropriate planet to serve as baby Kal-El's new home. It is revealed that Jor-El was initially hesitant to send Kal-El to Earth until Thomas Wayne managed to convince him otherwise.

In "Lil' Leaguers" (#51-52), Superman, Batman and the Justice League of America face miniature versions of themselves. These Lil' Leaguers are child like versions of the heroes, and have similar powers. They face off against the Lil' Villains, and learn the harsh truth that the world is a very dangerous place when Lil' Superman is killed by a Father Box enhanced Lil' Doomsday.

In "Super/Bat" (#53-#56) Johnson and Green are joined by Rags Morales[8] for a story about Superman's powers being transferred to Batman during a battle with the Silver Banshee.[9] As Batman overjoys of his new powers and uses them to bring complete fear and order to Gotham's criminal underworld and eventually sets his sight to the world while Superman trying to lead a normal life as a husband and journalist, their allies realised that the power switch has a psychological side effect to both men as Batman's behavior became increasingly aggressive, and Superman himself becomes emotionally depressed despite of living the life he has always wanted. With the aid of the Justice League, The Man of Steel was able to bring himself and The Dark Knight back to normal.

In "Mash-Up" (#60-61) Superman and Batman meet the Justice Titans in Gothamopolis and together they must take down the city's worst villains. Francis Manapul is on covers and interiors for this two-parter.

In "Sidekicked" (#62, illustrated by Rafael Albuquerque), Supergirl and Robin (Tim Drake) reminisce about their first mission as a team: a hostage crisis at Arkham Asylum. The inmates they confront include the Joker, the Scarecrow, Two-Face, Clayface, the Mad Hatter, Killer Croc, Poison Ivy and Zsasz.

In "Night and Day" (#63, illustrated by Rafael Albuquerque), Superman is forced to flee Earth when Gorilla Grodd succeeds in filling the planet's atmosphere with Kryptonite. Subsequently, Grodd conquers Earth, having used his mental abilities to control the minds of every remaining inhabitant of the planet . . . except Batman.

Joe Kelly

So far, Joe Kelly's work on the series has been exclusive to two Annuals. Both released stories have been reinterpretations of stories originally published during the Silver Age.

In "Stop Me If You've Heard This One..." (Annual #1 illustrated by Ed McGuiness, 2006), Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne both end up on a cruise together along with Lois Lane. Along the way, they encounter Deathstroke (Slade Wilson), as well as the Crime Syndicate from the Antimatter Universe which is made up of evil duplicates of the heroes. The members they face are Ultraman (Superman), Owlman (Batman), and Superwoman (Wonder Woman) whose name is Lois Lane (An alternate version of Deathstroke also appears, characterized very similar to Marvel Comics' Deadpool). Superman and Batman first reveal that they in fact know each other's secret identity, and agree to work together, even though they disagree with each other's modus operandi. . . Method's of operating.

The issue is a reimagining of "The Mightiest Team In the World", the tale from Superman #76 (May-June 1952) where the two heroes discover each other's secret identity and team up for the first time.

In "The Unexamined Life... " (Annual #2, 2008), Superman loses his powers and takes on the identity of Supernova. The issue is a reimagining of "The Has-Been Superman" from World's Finest Comics #178 (September 1968) and "Superman's Perfect Crime" from World's Finest Comics #180 (November 1968). This story takes place early in the career of the original Robin and depicts his first meeting with Superman.

Len Wein

So far, Len Wein's work has been exclusive to the most recent of the annuals. This annual follows the trend set by Joe Kelly's work, reimagining a Silver Age tale.

In "Compound Fracture" (Annual #3, 2009), Superman and Batman encounter the Composite, a failed experiment of Professor Ivo with all the powers of the Justice League of America. The issue is a reimagining of "The Composite Superman", the tale from World's Finest Comics #142 (June 1964) where Superman, Batman and Robin must battle a new villain with all the powers of the Legion of Super-Heroes.

Joe Casey

  • Issue 64 Batman discovers information on Supermans Kryptonian Origins that place the two in doom unless Superman is willing to sacrifice himself.[10]

Peter Johnson and Matt Cherniss

  • Issue 65 a special halloween issue showing what scares Superman and Batman, also exposing the inner fears of Joker and Lex Luthor.[11]

Scott Kolins

Scott Kolins is set to write issues 66 and 67 as a special Blackest Night Tie-In starring Bizarro and Manbat.

Other media


References in pop culture

A fictional movie billboard advertising a Superman/Batman film appears briefly in one of the Times Square sequences, in the film I Am Legend, along with signs advertising the actual Broadway musicals Wicked and Hairspray.

Sales history

The first issue of Superman/Batman was ranked third in August 2003, with pre-order sales of 134,135. Marvel 1602 #1 and Batman #618 were ranked 1st and 2nd respectively for that period.[12] Superman/Batman #11 was the highest selling comic for July 2004 with pre-order sales of 143,712.[13]

Collected editions

This series has been collected in the following trade paperbacks:

Title Material collected ISBN
Volume 1: Public Enemies Superman/Batman #1-6
"When Clark Met Bruce" from Secret Files & Origins 2003
Hardcover: ISBN 1-4012-0323-X
Paperback: ISBN 1-4012-0220-9
Volume 2: Supergirl Superman/Batman #8-13 Hardcover: ISBN 1-4012-0347-7
Paperback: ISBN 1-4012-0250-0
Volume 3: Absolute Power Superman/Batman #14-18 Hardcover: ISBN 1-4012-0447-3
Paperback: ISBN 1-4012-0714-6
Volume 4: Vengeance Superman/Batman #20-25 Hardcover: ISBN 1-4012-0921-1
Paperback: ISBN 1-4012-1043-4
Volume 5: Enemies Among Us Superman/Batman #28-33 Hardcover: ISBN 1-4012-1330-5
Paperback: ISBN 1-4012-1243-3
Volume 6: Torment Superman/Batman #37-42 Hardcover: ISBN 1-4012-1700-1
Volume 7: The Search For Kryptonite Superman/Batman #44-49 Hardcover: ISBN 1-4012-1933-0
Paperback: ISBN 978-1-4012-2012-9
Volume 8: Finest Worlds Superman/Batman #50-56 Hardcover: ISBN 1-4012-2331-1
Paperback: ISBN 1-4012-2332-X
Volume 9: Night & Day Superman/Batman #___ Hardcover: ISBN 1-4012-2792-9

See also


  1. ^ 20 Answers and 1 Question With Dan DiDio: Dec. 24, 2008
  2. ^ Superman/Batman #26 - PopMatters Comic Book Review
  3. ^ Captain Atom is actually transported to the Wildstorm Universe, as revealed in Captain Atom: Armageddon #1 (December 2005).
  4. ^ Many of Luthor's crimes were revealed by Lois Lane and the Daily Planet in Action Comics #700 (June 1994). However, the charges against him were dismissed at trial, after he presented falsified evidence that he had been kidnapped by renegade scientists from Cadmus Labs and replaced with a violent clone. Action Comics #737 (September 1997).
  5. ^ Press Release For "Superman/Batman: Public Enemies" Direct-To-Video Animated Feature
  6. ^ Remembering Michael Turner: Jeph Loeb, Comic Book Resources, June 28, 2008
  7. ^ Newsarama.Com: Jeph Loeb On "Sam's Story"
  8. ^ Checking in with Rags Morales - 'Super/Bat', Newsarama, October 15, 2008
  9. ^ Green & Johnson on Superman/ Batman's Power Switch, Newsarama, October 28, 2008
  10. ^ [1] Issue 64
  11. ^ [2] Issue 65
  12. ^ "Top 300 Comics Actual—August 2003". 2004-09-16. Retrieved 2008-07-16. 
  13. ^ "Top 300 Comics Actual—July 2004". 2004-08-17. Retrieved 2008-04-28. 

External links


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