I have a strange feeling -- call it intuition, call it a gut-check, call it some ineffable transmission from another world, a world run by Chris Sims -- that people 'round these parts like them some Batman. I know, it's a wild idea, but I'm going to roll with it for today:
So many possibilities, it makes my geeky brain esploded! Let's get into the specific:
- Dr. Doom: You may note that only one villain made it onto this list, which was intended as a "good guys vs. good guys" joint. Why? Because he is DOOM! Your petty, envious, small-minded labels and weak attempts at classification of matters beyond your pathetic understanding have no sway over the actions of Doom. If Doom wishes to crush The Batman, he will do so. However, it behooves the author to point out that Doom has a proven track record of getting swatted aside by hyper intelligent, resourceful inventor types. The question is, does Batman's cunning occupy the same stratospheric level as Reed Richards' intelligence?
- Dr. Strange: Science and technology have proven ineffective against Batman for years, so at least Dr. Strange would be coming at him from a different angle. Given the otherwordly nature of the powers at his command, you'd have to think Bruce would be at a distinct disadvantage. How do you plan for something about which you know very little?
- Green Lantern: Let's be honest, no version of the Earth-based Green Lantern has exactly lit it up from a strategic or intelligence standpoint. I know, Hal Jordan has defeated galactic-level baddies before, but I just don't think of him as being in the same intellectual weight-class as Batman.
- Hulk: Hulk smash! But Batman win! Because while The Hulk is smashing buildings, Bruce is figuring out how to calm him down or trap him somewhere inescapable. Brains > Brawn, folks.
- Martian Manhunter: I put the Martian Manhunter on the list because I think he's much cleverer than Superman while having a lot of the same powers. I think the addition of telepathy gives him an edge over Batman, but of equal importance to my mind is the fact that since they're both detectives, they're going to think alike to some degree. To beat the Bat, you must know the Bat. The big drawback, as always, is J'Onn's vulnerability to fire. Batman would roast him (literally) a dozen different ways.
- Professor X: As opposed to the Superman style matchup, Professor X brings his massive telepathic abilities to the fore. Unless Bruce can invent a telepathy-blocking helmet PDQ, I don't see how he avoids the X-Man. Of course, I suppose Batman could just go out, kick Magneto's ass, take his helmet, then dismantle the Prof ...
- Reed Richards: One of the few people who can claim a mind as inventive as Batman's, I think Reed would have a shot at this. However, while he's smart, I don't know that he's particularly devious. That's one of the tough things about going up against Batman -- he's sneaky as hell!
- Spider-Man: Much like Dr. Strange brings something new to the table, Spider-Man does as well. In his case, it's dumb luck. The guy's neither the smartest nor the most powerful figure on the planet, but he manages to come up smelling like roses nonetheless. I suppose that's the power of headlining the most popular series in the company.
- Superman: Batman has battled Superman so many times, I don't think there's much more to say on the subject. I include Big Blue here as a nod to the sub-genre as much as anything else.
- Wolverine: Two relentless, ruthless, cold-blooded hunters going at it. I don't think it gets much better.
Now, in terms of what I would most want to read, it would clearly be Batman vs. Wolverine. But in terms of the question of who I think would have the best chance of actually beating Batman, I'm going to be a little crazy and pick Dr. Strange. I think that "unknown magic" angle is huge. And don't be fooled by the Seventies facial hair, Dr. Strange is a legitimate global-class heavyweight, fully capable of defending the entire planet from near god-like beings.
But that's me -- who would you pick?, and why?