When Did Batman First Use Kryptonite Against Superman?

Today, we look at the first time that Batman used kryptonite against Superman.

In "When We First Met", we spotlight the various characters, phrases, objects or events that eventually became notable parts of comic lore, like the first time someone said, "Avengers Assemble!" or the first appearance of Batman's giant penny or the first appearance of Alfred Pennyworth or the first time Spider-Man's face was shown half-Spidey/half-Peter. Stuff like that.

Recently, Fred Van Lente (the great comic book writer that you might know from his holiday here at CBR, Fred Van Lente Day, which just celebrated its SIXTEENTH year last year) was re-reading Mark Gruenwald's epic 1985 miniseries, Squadron Supreme (the Squadron Supreme was Marvel's answer to the Justice League, filled with heroes who were analogues to members of the Justice League), and in the first issue (by Gruenwald, Bob Hall and John Beatty), Hyperion (the Superman of the Squadron Supreme) has decided that the only way that the Squadron's world could be fixed (the world had been ravaged by past attacks by supervillains, especially Over-Mind's brainwashing the Squadron to do his bidding until their only non-brainwashed member, Hyperion, brought the Defenders to their world and helped free everyone from Over-Mind's control) was for the Squadron to basically take over and fix everything and then hand control back to the people in a year. Nighthawk (the Batman of the Squadron Supreme), who was the President of the United States in his secret identity, felt responsible for so much of what happened (since he was the first person Over-Mind brainwashed), but at the same time, he couldn't go along with a plan that essentially made the Squadron dictators. So he declined to join the Squadron in their plan. However, taking things a step further, Nighthawk also took some Argonite, the only substance that Hyperion was susceptible to (obviously a stand-in for Kryptonite), and made a bullet from the material and Nighthawk planned to murder his best friend to protect society from his benevolent tyranny.

Nighthawk just couldn't bring himself to do it, though. Fred noted that this was a year before Batman famously used Kryptonite against Superman in The Dark Knight Falls...

and he was wondering if that issue was actually the first time that a "Batman" ever tried to use "Kryptonite" against a "Superman."

Well, let's find out!

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Until Superman and Batman began to share the lead feature in World's Finest Comics #71, the two heroes barely interacted (despite sharing World's Finest Comics throughout its entire run, they each just had their own solo feature in the book. They were drawn together on the covers, though). Once they started interacting with regularly, though, it was only a matter of time before writers would try to put the two heroes into conflict with each other and their first fight (as I wrote about in an article nearly six years ago) took place in World's Finest Comics #95's "The Battle of the Super-Heroes!" by Dave Wood, Dick Sprang and Ray Burnley. In it, two aliens who were arguing over which hero was better decided to prove who was right by giving Batman superpowers and then hitting Superman and Batman with "hate-rays" to make them fight.

Once the two heroes started fighting, it was soon a regular occurrence in the series, as the writers would have to constantly come up with new reasons to put the two best friends into conflict with each other.

One such reason occurred in World's Finest Comics #105 (by Bill Finger, Dick Sprang and Sheldon Moldoff), where Superman begins to act erratically and then seemingly spins a cocoon around himself. A bystander happens around a piece of Kryptonian script that reveals that Superman is about to mutate into a wild sort of creature. Not knowing what would happen next, Batman devises a Kryptonian cage to capture whatever weird alien emerges from the coccoon...

However, the mutated Superman seems to have telekinetic powers and repels the cage. In the end, though, it turns out that that wasn't Superman at all, but a crook pretending to be a mutated Superman so that Batman and Robin would reveal all of their secret info that they share with Superman, like the location of the Bat-Cave.

Since this wasn't ACTUALLY Superman, I guess it doesn't count, right? It's close, though, as they THOUGHT it was him, but I digress.

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In World's Finest Comics #122 (by Jerry Coleman, Jim Mooney and Sheldon Moldoff), the heroes are fighting a giant robot that fires out Kryptonite, but Superman quickly manipulates the robot's circuits and manages to get the robot to dispose of the Kryponite...

All good, right? Except it turns out that the robot was being controlled by Robin! The Dynamic Duo were TRYING to capture Superman with the Kryptonite!

They tried again using a trophy of one of their cases that was secretly made out of Kryptonite, but Superman figures out their plot and is now hip to the fact that his friends keep trying to use Kryptonite to capture him!

As it turns out, an alien named Klor from the planet Belvos needs the Dynamic Duo's help in capturing Superman so that he can stand trial for his reckless attack on a city in Belvos...

Batman and Robin finally capture Superman by painting having Superman called into Green Arrow's city when the archer hero is out of town...

And sure enough, Batman painted the giant statue of Green Arrow with Kryptonite paint...

So Batman and Robin go with Superman to Belvos for Superman's trial, where Batman proves the Man of Steel to have been framed by Klor. Superman returns in time to take Klor out...

But that was the first time Batman used Kryptonite against Superman in the comics.

Thanks for the question, Fred! If anyone else has a suggestion for a notable comic book first, drop me a line at [email protected]!

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About The Author
Brian Cronin (15296 Articles Published)

CBR Senior Writer Brian Cronin has been writing professionally about comic books for over fifteen years now at CBR (primarily with his “Comics Should Be Good” series of columns, including Comic Book Legends Revealed). He has written two books about comics for Penguin-Random House – Was Superman a Spy? And Other Comic Book Legends Revealed and Why Does Batman Carry Shark Repellent? And Other Amazing Comic Book Trivia! and one book, 100 Things X-Men Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die, from Triumph Books. His writing has been featured at ESPN.com, the Los Angeles Times, About.com, the Huffington Post and Gizmodo. He features legends about entertainment and sports at his website, Legends Revealed and other pop culture features at Pop Culture References. Follow him on Twitter at @Brian_Cronin and feel free to e-mail him suggestions for stories about comic books that you'd like to see featured at [email protected]!

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