What!??? No, the article title wasn’t an egregious error of disordered wording, nor was it the result of eating too much ice cream cake before bed, causing a 72 hour hallucinatory state where we experienced a deluge of inaccurate facts proclaimed by links of organic chicken sausage. Look, Batman fans, I know this is going hurt, but the Black Panther is just too much for the Dark Knight to handle. What?? I know, you’re still fighting through the molasses-thick veil of Bat-denial, but when you take a selection of comparable attributes shared by both heroes, collate the data and render your results, you might just change your perspective.
Before we get to those attributes, let’s answer that question currently screaming in the backs of your agitated brains like a 3rd grader experiencing his or her very first Scratch-n-Sniff sticker: How in the heck can these two heroes exist in the same space? Black Panther resides in the Marvel Universe, specifically Earth 616 (well, before Secret Wars) and Batman resides in the DC Universe, on Earth Zero. So, separate universes floating about in the endless sea of the Multiversal Orrery, infinitely distant, but due to various crises and multiversal contractions instigated by beings from ‘beyond,’ this unfathomable distance can be closed resulting in dimensional elements violently imposing themselves upon one another. Translation: Earths from other dimensions will smash the hell out of each other as they try to inhabit the same dimensional space.
So, to bring each contestant within punching distance, let’s say their separate Earths are brought together due to the previously mentioned contraction leading both heavenly bodies to struggle for existence within the same dimensional space. Let’s also say that these Earths don’t actually smash into each other, they – somewhat miraculously – phase into each other, resulting in elements of both realities existing simultaneously. It’s here, on this newly formed Earth, on this conveniently forged battlefield, that Batman and Black Panther meet and trade impervious scowls.
Wow, that was unnecessarily long, so thanks or hanging in there with me. Let’s get to the good stuff, shall we?
The Black Panther
King T’Challa is…yep, you guessed it… king of the technologically superior African nation of Wakanda and leader of the Black Panther tribe. As tribal leader, he also commands and unifies the many different tribes residing in Wakanda.
The Black Panther is a station of tribal and national royalty, and the costume is ceremonial garb worn as an expression of said royalty.
After the death of his father and surviving the lifelong training, trials, and eventual consumption of the mysterious heart-shaped herb, T’Challa inherited the mantle of Black Panther.
T’Challa is a brilliant strategist, scientist and engineer; a master of countless martial arts and imbued with superhuman strength, speed, stamina, etc. due to the mystical properties of the sacred heart-shaped herb.
(Yes, you heard this before and reading it now will be the 756th time. Because of this, I’ll make it quick).
A young Bruce Wayne — the only son of Gotham’s beloved, well-to-do couple Thomas and Martha Wayne — witnessed the savage, senseless death of his parents as they fell lifeless to the cobbled surface of a characteristically dank Gotham alleyway. To say this terrifying event changed the boy would be an understatement.
As he grew — residing at Wayne Manor estate and cared for by his ferociously loyal butler, Alfred — he learned, obsessed, and prepared for a time when he could avenge his parents and stop those who would perpetrate horrendous acts upon the innocent.
When Bruce was older, he remained focused on honing his abilities and traveled the world in search of the finest education and physical training. For over 10 years, Bruce Wayne studied and trained with brilliant, gifted masters of their respective fields. He learned and mastered several martial arts disciplines, often surpassing the abilities of his teachers. He was a genius and brilliantly intuitive, excelling in logical deduction and investigative studies.
When Bruce completed his training, he returned to Gotham City, met his spirit animal (the bat) — which conveniently arrived as he struggled to effectively apply his training — and learned how to scare the living heck out of those cowardly criminal sons of b*tches. Yep, he would become…a bat (man).
Sorry, that drug on a bit. AHEM!
Now, finally…LET’S FIGHT! We’ll analyze the comparable strengths and attributes held by each fighter in order to properly judge the winner of this potentially upsetting superhero smack-down!
DING! DING! DING!
ROUND 1: Powers and Abilities
Batman is, for all intents and purposes, a martial arts prodigy; he’s a master of several known and unknown fighting disciplines. Batman trains his body rigorously and is in peak physical condition; he’s extraordinarily agile, flexible ,and extremely tolerant of pain and potent, mind-altering toxins.
Besides his physical prowess, he employs a host of technologically sound gadgets to effectively traverse the city-scape, create distraction, and subdue criminals…painfully, never lethally. Batman is regarded as ‘the most dangerous human being on the planet’ by a good number of his friends and colleagues. He’s proven again and again that he’s always effective, regardless of the odds.
The Black Panther is also a martial arts master, trained by experts all over the world as well as a learned disciple of darker, mystical disciplines developed in the especially dangerous, long-forgotten nooks of the Dark Continent. T’Challa’s training and education began at a very early age, as his lineage demanded his ascension to the role of Black Panther.
During his training and after the death of his father, T’Challa suffered through the ceremonial gauntlet of excruciating trials to become king, which included the consumption of the sacred, sometimes lethal, heart-shaped herb. If one is found worthy in the eyes of the Panther god, the lethal properties of the herb are rendered innocuous. No longer poisonous, the true gifts of the herb — enhanced abilities and a direct connection to the great Panther deity — are passed on to the newly christened Black Panther.
Besides a direct link to the Panther god, to both its wisdom and sometimes its power, the heart-shaped herb also allows the current Black Panther to commune with all former bearers of the Black Panther mantle. That’s right — T’Challa can seek council from those who have walked in the very same cat-shoes and benefit from their accumulated knowledge and experience.
T’Challa also employs a host of weapons and gadgets, many of them created using one of the most powerful alloys on Earth, Vibranium. Found only in Wakanda, Vibranium is nearly indestructible, unfeasibly resilient, and able to absorb energy in near limitless quantities while redistributing said energy as the wielder sees fit.
Black Panther’s costume is made from a Vibranium weave, lessening and absorbing the potency of most physical attacks. Vibranium claws protrude from his gauntlets, allowing him to cut through…well, pretty much anything.
In the classic Black Panther run by writer Christopher Priest, Panther was able to hold off a seriously aggravated Iron Man. In the now classic run of New Avengers by Jonathan Hickman, the (also classic) Panther/ Sub-Mariner conflict reached its boiling point, and Black Panther projected purple, hard-light gauntlets around his fists, handily thrashing Mariner to a point where his survival was in question.
WINNER: THE BLACK PANTHER!
One on one, the Panther has it. I mean, they’re both martial arts masters, but Panther’s enhanced abilities, superior gadgets, and the shared, accumulated knowledge of his ancestors — which has to include some very scary-@$$ fighting techniques — puts the Panther on top. Remember how Prometheus defeated Batman in Grant Morrison’s JLA?? By accessing — via data insertion disc linked directly to the brain — all the fighting disciplines of the greatest martial arts masters!
Sure, sure — there were a few instances when Batman was able to stop Superman with armor, trickery, some help from his friends and a little preparation. However, that was after witnessing Superman in action and after getting knocked around by Supes on more than one occasion. Remember the first time Batman and Superman met in the New 52 DC Universe? Batman wasn’t faring well. In fact, his attacks were mildly silly in their ineffectiveness, and honestly, utterly impotent. Batman would never say it, but Hal Jordan definitely earned his thanks that day.
So, first meeting, one on one, we’re giving it to the Black Panther. He’s faster, stronger, on par in his martial arts mastery, and besides his natural intelligence and resourcefulness, maintains the ability to draw from the collective wisdom and experience of his forebears. Sorry, Bats.
DING! DING! DING!
ROUND 2: Resources
Batman has the billions of Wayne Enterprises at his disposal…but he has to be careful about it. Crashed a Bat-plane into a hoard of self-replicating Doomsday clones in order to distract them from curb-stomping Superman? Just have Lucius Fox divert more funds to the WayneTech R&D department. Presto! New Bat-plane! Batmobile needs to be 24 times larger with 16 mile tank treads in order to effectively run down the zombie-infected Amazonians before they burn down all of Themyscira? Make this Wayne Enterprises check payable to ‘office supplies!’ Of course, someone might actually question a 30 million dollar Staples expenditure.
Anyway, to be an effective superhero, one has to have serious bank in order to afford the mortgage on a subterranean base of operations and maintain Bat-themed, environment-specific vehicles and weapons. Regardless, Batman is a one-man army, and he will absolutely march on your @$$ if you refuse to stop selling Venom to underage kids
Black Panther is the leader of the world’s most technologically advanced nation, a nation with an army, navy, air force, etc. equipped with cutting-edge weaponry that may be — on occasion and if necessary — enhanced with the amazing, nearly impervious element, Vibranium.
As King of Wakanda, T’Challa has authority over his nation’s armed forces, as well as access to all the scientists, engineers, biologists, magical artifacts, terror-assessment experts, mystics and dance instructors currently residing in Wakanda. Oh, and the diversion of funds to militaristic endeavors are NEVER questioned. Not sure if I need to say this, but…
WINNER: THE BLACK PANTHER!
Sorry, but one Bat-plane and one Bat-boat (driven by Robin, maybe) just isn’t effective against a fleet of Wakandan terror-tanks and a squad of Wakandan jets raining Vibranium-laced hell on old Wayne Manor. Sorry, Bats.
DING! DING! DING!
ROUND 3! Intelligence and Strategy
Batman is extremely intelligent. He attended many Ivy League schools, but dropped out due to restlessness (or maybe PTSD) and boredom; the fulfillment of his goals demanded a much broader education. Batman learned and studied subjects based on the needs of his goals, and excelled at each and every one. He is also an engineer and scientist, as he’s had a hand in creating his own vehicles, weapons, and various counter-agents to psychosis-inducing toxins. Batman is a master criminologist and forensic pathologist with advanced deductive skills; he’s the world’s greatest detective, after all.
Unfortunately for some, Batman’s also a brilliant strategist who prepares himself for any conceivable conflict or eventuality. I say “unfortunately” because this somewhat shrewd thinking resulted in conflicts with some of his closest superhero compatriots. Batman, ever the strategist and realist, asked himself the hard questions that swam about his always speculating brain-box: What if his super-friends weren’t heroic? In fact, what if they were evil? Batman created appropriate countermeasures to prepare for these unfortunate occurrences — countermeasures that occasionally fell into the wrong hands. Whoops.
Black Panther is, hands-down, one of the smartest men in a room full of Reed Richards, Tony Starks and Hank Pyms. As part of his training to inherit the mantle of king, he attended all the best schools throughout the world, earning a Ph.D. in physics from Oxford University.
Considered one of the eight smartest people on the planet (that would be Earth 616), he’s a brilliant inventor, a genius in a wide array of hyper-advanced technologies and privy to the knowledge and experience of every single Black Panther that came before him. Heck, he helped Reed Richards develop a device that allowed one to peer into the Multiverse and track the progress of any number of worlds. He also helped create planet-killing weapons to destroy an Earth if, during an incursion, all other options failed.
The Black Panther is so many steps ahead of his adversaries, it’s a little frightening. To prove a point to Tony Stark, he took control of Stark Enterprises with a little financial trickery that involved the very simple notion of buying trucks so a company could transport product. Honestly, I can’t recollect what the product was, but it was a very small change that led to unexpected growth in a market Stark had invested his money in, but certainly not his time. Panther provided the trucks, grew the market, and ended up owning a controlling number of shares in Stark Enterprises.
Oh, and he also has an ominously named file denoted with the word “Galactus.” Wait…what? Well, it’s Wakanda’s official protocol for dealing with Galactus. Yep.
And let’s not forget why he joined the Avengers. Why? To keep a very close eye on them. This colorful American super-team might one day appear at Wakanda’s gates, empowered by the United States government to demand Wakanda’s world-saving technology. It was important that T’Challa learned everything he could — from the inside — to enact proper contingencies.
WINNER: THE BLACK PANTHER!
That’s it — Batman’s finished. Sorry, Batman fans, but Batman was hit pretty hard and he’s not…nope, he’s not getting up. Okay, the ref is slapping his cheeks, trying to get a response. Nope, that’s not working. Okay, the ref is shaking his head…he’s..HE’S STOPPING THE FIGHT! HE STOPPED THE @#$%ing FIGHT!! It’s a round 3 TKO!
Look, some of you are screaming, “But he created Brother EYE!” Really? You’re going to use that? Remember what happened with Brother EYE? That’s right, Batman lost control of the ding darn thing and it carried out a program to enact super-human genocide. Best stick with giving the Batmobile an oil change, Bats.