What To Read Before Seeing Batman V Superman


Though the wait has seemed unbearable at times, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is almost upon us. As in, tickets are on sale.

More from Comics

The two biggest stars in the pantheon of DC Comics superheroes are about to be in the same movie together, one that will also feature the big screen debut of Wonder Woman and set in motion a chain of events that will lead to the formation of an on-screen Justice League. Before they play nice, though, they’re going to throw down first, as should be obvious from the title of the film and the way it’s been marketed.

This won’t be the first time Batman and Superman have come to blows. It’s happened more than once over the characters’ long publication history, though they almost always manage to patch up their differences and set aside their disagreements to make sure the world is safe. It’s occurred to us that you might want to read about some of these times, and the way the current Justice League came together.

That’s occurred to DC as well, and the company has helpfully supplied a Batman v Superman recommended reading list in case you want to brush up on some comic book history before you head to the theater on March 25. As always, we’ll include Amazon links for ease of researching each collection, but we heartily endorse having your Local Comic Shop order these books for you.

Batman vs. Superman: The Greatest Battles

Collects: Justice League #2, Batman #612, Superman/Batman #78, Batman #35-36, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns #4 and Man of Steel #4.

Remember those throwdowns we alluded to earlier? Here are a half-dozen of them in one place.

Yes, misuderstandings or mind control are usually involved. That doesn’t take away from the sheer spectacle of Batman and Superman going toe to toe, and these confrontations don’t always end the way you’d expect. Plus there’s a comic book Murderer’s Row of talent in this collection, including Frank Miller, Geoff Johns, Jim Lee, Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo and John Byrne. You really can’t go wrong here.

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

This story really should need no introduction, but just in case … This is quite possibly the most famous and most revered Batman saga of all time. Not only does it show why Batman will never give up his fight, it also puts the different viewpoints of Superman and Batman in a whole new light — or at least it was new when the series first came out 30 years ago and blew readers’ minds.

Not only that, but the battle between Superman and an armored Batman looks like a heavy influence on the one that will appear in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. If you want to see what inspired that donnybrook, this is the book to grab.

Superman/Batman Vol. 1

Collects: Superman/Batman #1-13

In the tradition of the World’s Finest comics from decades ago, a series starring both the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight together seems like a no-brainer. It certainly was when DC started the series in 2003, and it ran for eight years, kickstarted by the excellent creative team of Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness.

Two things to note in this collection is that the two heroes aren’t exactly BFFs, which is more in keeping with the 21st century dynamic between the two of them. The first arc also features Lex Luthor being exposed to the world as a villain for the first time in the then-current continuity, something we could see echoes of in Batman v Superman.

Wonder Woman Vol. 1: Blood

Collects: Wonder Woman #1-6

We can’t forget about the other member of DC’s Trinity. Gal Gadot will bring Wonder Woman to life in the movies for the first time in Batman v Superman. That being the case, it’s not a bad time to get up to speed on her current comic book incarnation, where she is a little bit more warrior than in the Silver Age as the embodiment of the Greek God of War.

This opening arc of the New 52 Wonder Woman is steeped in mythology and features the awesome stylized art of Cliff Chiang. On top of that, the movie Wonder Woman’s costume takes many cues from the redesign in the comics that was first shown off here.

Justice League, Vol. 1: Origin

Collects: Justice League #1-6

Unlike the Silver Age Justice League, where DC’s greatest heroes got along much more often than they bickered, there was a bit of distrust when the New 52 version of the team first came together. Fortunately, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman and Cyborg realized they needed each other when the threat was big enough, and they don’t come any bigger than the one menacing the Earth in this story.

With Geoff Johns and Jim Lee at the helm, you can be guaranteed that this is movie-style action, and it just might offer some clues as to why the Justice League is required in the DC Extended Universe as well.