Tuesday, April 7, 2015


Luckily, this fight will only last forever in every comic book ever printed til the end of time.
Plots involving Superman and Batman engaging in knock-down, drag-out, bare knuckle super-slapfights has become so common in comics that they're met with boredom and disdain by a fair number of comic books fans. It's practically become tedious to watch the Caped Crusader slug it out with the Man of Steel, and fans are quick to blame Frank Miller for starting the trend with the highest-ever profile throwdown between the World's Finest Team in the pages of The Dark Knight Returns.

The hell is a "Fued"?
As fashionable as it is to blame Miller for the trend - and easy, too, since Miller has become almost unflinchingly blame-able for everything on account of him spending the last fifteen years growing increasingly full-fledged donkey-puck wackadoo - Superman and Batman have actually been pitted against each other repeatedly well before Miller or any of his devotees ever first put pen to paper.

One of these early conflicts was in the pages of World's Finest Comics vol.1 No.95 (Jul-Aug 1958, "The Battle of the Super-Heroes") wherein Batman mysteriously gains a full complement of super-powers even as both he and Superman suddenly develop a heated rivalry with one another.

The story begins with Batman and Robin busying themselves with a cozy nighttime patrol in their tricked-out Bat-Flivver with Batman idly reminiscing on the fact that he'd recently had a blackout while puttering about the Batcave, but deciding not to worry Robin with that particularly troubling news. Sure, Batman, why bother telling Robin that you've been having blackouts, your only his senior partner in frequent battles against angry men with guns. It's not like he counts on you being conscious. Sometimes I wonder if Robin isn't the mature one in this pairing.

Anyway, it's only a few panels later that Batman discovers that he's got super-powers, handily leaping over and then smashing up a crooks' car, He's even borrowing some tricks from his pal Superman's repertoire, cramming a junkyard full of scrap metal into a buzzsaw and using it to "sheer" away a burning  building from its nearby neighbors (typos and misspellings, by the way, run rampant in this story. Someone's editor was caught nappin').

Eventually Superman notices his pal's new powers, because no one can avoid the eternally spying eye of Superman. The problem is - he's peeved about it! And Batman's peeved too! In fact, it's mutual peeve, and the World's Finest Team is now the World's Most Peevish Team, they'll have to rename the books.

Neither hero ends up proving to be much use to the world, despite their massive powers, owing to their mutual feud occupying the entirety of their attention. This is about when Robin tries to help and, in doing so, makes things significantly worse. Straight Wesley Crushering the whole scene, Robin tries to ramp up the individual hero's jealousy with a whisper campaign intended to direct them towards fighting natural disasters and nearby crime, but the end result is BATMAN AND SUPERMAN FIGHT OHHHHHHHHH SHIIII

Briefly combining efforts to stop a hurricane, the collaboration turns into a mighty battle. Superman tosses Batman through a brick wall, so Batman batters Superman with a lamppost. Superman hucks boulders at Batman, Batman swats them back with an uprooted tree. Superman puts his rough hands on Batman's chest, Batman bites passionately at Superman's neck, ears and mouth. The pair greedily consume each other's lips. Their steely bodies grind. You know, the usual stuff that happens when superheroes fight.

"We want to wrap this up before Game of Thrones starts!"
While Batman and Superman get a room, Robin discovers the true cause of the problem, and wouldn't you just know it - it's fat alien nerds! A pair of balloon-bodied, bare-legged elf-eared Trivia Night champions from the planet Xlym have decided to resolve their long-standing debate about whether Batman could beat Superman in a fight by engineering that very thing.

Using an Abduction ray to bring them to Xylm, they turn a Super-power-ray on Batman and a Hate Ray on the pair of them, then use an Amnesia Ray on 'em to make sure they don't remember the event and then send them back to Earth with another Transportation Ray. Xylm's primary export is "rays."

The ending rushes along from that point, as Robin is shunted back to Earth to find his super-pals winding down their mutual antagonism and shaking hands like chums. It turns out the fat alien nerds had a BOSS fat alien nerd who HATES IT when they mess around with super-beings on other planets, so he flipped the switch that cancelled the Hate and Super-Power Rays and all in all this ending feels a little like one of those Grant Morrison-y meta stories where it turns out that we're the real higher-dimensional aliens, you know?

Crazy, man, real mind-bending stuff.



BillyWitchDoctor said...

The hell is a "Fued"?


neofishboy said...

No no no. The act or condition of being overcome by a practitioner of Wing Chun. Past tense.

"He tried to start a fight, but got his ass thoroughly Kung-Fued."

rnigma said...

I guess Ira Schnapp managed to find his dictionary before lettering the last panel.

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