Batman and Superman have fought at least thirty-three times. In the last three posts, I gave the blow-by-blow of all of them. Now, to add up the score.
With Superman fully powered, Batman without prep time
Superman wins these battles again and again. Whether he knocks Batman down or just stands there and takes whatever Batman can dish out, Superman, when he's in his right mind, always comes out with a win, no sweat. However, the three times that Superman is under the mind control of a Batman villain, in "Hush" and in Scott Snyder's current run, Batman manages to incapacitate the mind-controlled Superman and bring him back to his normal self.
Superman 7 wins and no losses when he's in his right mind. Batman wakes up a mind-controlled Superman twice, Batman completely defeats a mind-controlled Superman once.
When Batman has superpowers
This is a strange category, because the nature of the superpowers can vary so much. Two of their first battles involved Batman possessing powers, an idea that didn't recur until 1979. 1 tie, 1 Superman 1, Batman assists the JSA in 1 win.
When Superman has no powers
In theory, taking away Superman's powers gives Batman the advantage, because Batman has trained and armed himself for that situation and Superman has not. However, Superman has actually matched Batman at 2 wins apiece in these stories, none of them published since 1968.
With Superman fully powered, Batman with prep time
This describes probably the best-remembered and most interesting of the matchups, but probably few readers are aware that Batman has been using prep time to beat Superman since as far back as 1961! Batman won five of these, but Superman's powers and wits bested Batman's plans in two stories (curiously, both published in 2006) when Superman wins a re-imagined version of Byrne's first meeting by seeing through the bomb-in-the-belt trick, and a fight in the Batcave when Superman is not taken down by the kryptonite ring.
Counting all of the disparate scenarios, the win total is:
Superman 12, Batman 11, several ties, team battles, and non-fights.
The key takeaways are: When Batman has no prep time and Superman's in his right mind, the Man of Steel is unbeatable. When Batman has prep time and is in his right mind, the Caped Crusader almost always wins.
There's something trendy about having the two heroes fight. From 1968-1971, the heroes fought 8 times in 3 years, then only fought once in the next 14 years, but once the battles started up, they fought three times in just over a year. Then, hardly any more matchups for over a decade. Now, it appears to be trendy again, with over a third of the fights happening since the year 2000.
Having two of the most beloved superheroes fight is a curious thing. John Byrne and Frank Miller present it as inevitable: Of course these men have different methods; of course they would clash. In other stories, the writer felt compelled to dream up a fantastic explanation for the fight, subscribing to the more usual circumstance that the great heroes are also great friends.
Given that a fight must occur, it is a strange twist on the John Henry story: Can a hard-working man beat an unbeatable force? When Batman uses prep time to beat Superman, it is something hopeful for all of us, that humanity can triumph over every challenge, even their own hero. But in the fights where there is no prep time, writers almost universally agree that Superman must win, and take pains to say, further, that it shouldn't even be close.
The most common result in all of these battles, though, is that when the fight is over, the heroes realize their common cause and become at least allies, if not friends. The only exceptions to these are the Elseworlds where a very different Superman (like The Unholy Three's Zod as Superman) or very different Batman (the Batman who believes that Superboy killed his father) are in the fight.
So, as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice hits the theatres, what we can be most certain of is that the end of the title is what matters. There'll be a fight, and if the comics are any indication, Batman's prep time will give him the upper hand. But when the battle ends, the two will join forces thereafter for their neverending war.