We've all seen the memes or heard the jokes before... Batman always wins. Why? Because he's Batman! As funny as this tends to be, I thought I'd turn it into a monthly segment to test that statement out. Batman obviously doesn't always win, but I thought it would be fun to see who he could defeat in fair, one on one battles with fellow street level characters that aren't from his universe.
To make sure the segment is always neutral, the match will always be a random encounter (this means neither has knowledge on the other or prep time) and in a generic, unpopulated city setting (at night but city lights are on). They'll start roughly 50 feet apart, have their standard gear and they will be in character. Naturally, they have the objective to defeat the other character. Just like over in the Battles Forums, the winner will be declared based on who I think will take the most victories in this scenario if it played out 10 times. Additionally, it's worth noting that this segment is treating all Pre-New 52 Batman feats as canon (New Earth, of course).
So far, I've placed The Dark Knight against Captain America (stalemate) and Wolverine (The X-Man wins). Now he's going face-to-face with a character drastically similar to him in a lot of regards -- Black Panther!
This is usually where I break the segment up into three parts. I'd have one for Batman's advantages, one for Black Panther's advantages and then the verdict. However, in this case they are shockingly similar in so many elements and I feel it would be easiest to discuss these matters together. I'll bold and underline key points, too.
Both of these characters deserve praise for their technique and knowledge of martial arts and shouldn't be taken lightly.
Batman is a confirmed master of 127 different styles and has held his own or flat-out defeated some of the best street levelers in his universe. He's also embarrassed Nightwing and has overcome ridiculous amounts of enemies (BATMAN #16, for a recent example). He's no stranger to using nerve strikes (Solomon Grundy) and his peak human condition in combination with his skill allows him to give characters physically superior to him a tough time (Deathstroke, for example).
Meanwhile, T'Challa is often underrated when it comes to his effectiveness in this regard. AVX: VS #5 confirmed he's studied every fighting style in the world and, just like his opponent, knows how to use precision against physically superior characters. He's dropped Luke Cage, taken down Karnak, fought evenly and defeated Steve Rogers, and has brutally defeated a Super Skrull which had a wide variety of effective talents (Bullseye, Captain America, Elektra, Shang-Chi, and even T'Challa's).
These two are very close in this regard and I'd warrant a slight edge to Batman due to a more impressive selection of feats throughout his extensive history.
I'll just come out and say it: I'm giving this edge to Black Panther. Batman has a huge assortment of of offensive and defensive gear at his disposal. Electric, gas, explosive, incendiary and cryo is barely scratching the surface of what Wayne can throw T'Challa's way, but ultimately, I don't believe they'll overcome the advantages Black Panther's vibranium armor provides. It grants a huge amount of protection against blunt trauma, stabbing damage (though cuts can penetrate if they go along the seams), and defend against the other attacks Batman has in his belt. As you can see in the image provided, Black Panther easily withstood a lightning strike from Storm, has endured hits from powerhouses including Hulk and Iron Man, taken volley of Iron Fist's chi-backed punches, and was perfectly fine after being shot by numerous assault rifles at point blank range. It goes without saying that his armor is quite protective.
Keep in mind, this is only addressing his durability against Wayne's attacks so far. When it comes to his offensive capabilities, T'Challa has deadly energy daggers and anti-metal claws which would absolutely tear through the Dark Knight's kevlar if it connects. The Marvel hero's boots allow him to withstand falls from greater heights and in a city setting that's definitely going to come in hand if a fight reaches a rooftop. Furtheremore, in NEW AVENGERS #1 we saw T'Challa has cloaking, teleporation and an energy shield. Wayne certainly brings a lot to the table, but in my opinion, T'Challa's goodies are simply more effective and provide just as much offensive and defensive variety in this case.
Both are considered to be among the top human minds on their planet. The Caped Crusader is dubbed the greatest detective and T'Challa has a spot on the Iluminati for a reason (or at least was offered it). Both are masters of prep time, but since this is a random encounter, their absurdly good feats in this factor are really just moot points here.
What this comes down to is how both will act in this specific scenario and if either has the advantage when it comes to a tactical mindset. In that regard, I'd say both are roughly even. Both have the skill and intellect required to see subtle openings in their styles and are more than observant enough to not fall for obvious traps or tricks. However, when it comes to how far they'll go, I'd say T'Challa is the more brutal one. Wayne shocked me when he recently put a grappling line through Scarecrow's jaw, but T'Challa is a man that has no gripe ripping out eyes (Super Skrull) and, in NEW AVENGERS #1 (pictured above), he "basically ripped a dude in half" according to writer Jonathan Hickman.
If this was made several months ago then they would be even in this regard. T'Challa was peak human while leaping around Matt Murdock's turf... but unfortunately for Batman, I'm making this feature now and Black Panther has once again been upgraded to above peak human (King of the Dead). T'Challa is now at least enhanced when it comes to his physicals, therefore he he takes this advantage. This isn't a huge advantage, though, since Batman has trained thoroughly enough to reach peak human condition.
So does Batman always win against Black Panther? In a random one on one fight, I think Black Panther would take the edge. Out of 10 fights, I'd probably grant him 6-7 hard fought victories over DC's Caped Crusader. Batman has the skill to eventually defeat him in unarmed combat, but sadly for him, this isn't unarmed combat. And while Bruce does have plenty of gear on his side, it'll take a lot to keep the Avenger down. It'll be a lengthy and brutal battle, but I see T'Challa's durability being the game changer.
There's now an official discussion thread for this monthly segment! Go there to make suggestions for future combatants (they need to be non-DC and street level!) and provide feedback!
Gregg Katzman is a freelance writer for Comic Vine and IGN Entertainment. When he's not lurking around Comic Vine (which is rare), you can find him on Twitter.