Throughout the hallowed halls of fandom and the internet, every conversation about who Batman could beat in a fight always comes down to the same question: “How much prep time does he have?”
This is because it’s largely accepted by fans that with the appropriate amount of time to prepare, the Dark Knight, master strategist that he is, could muster the tactics and resources to win any battle. With the first season of the multiplayer MultiVersus fighting game underway, we decided to put that theory to the test against the game’s current available roster. How much time would it take Batman to prepare for victory against each of them? Let’s find out!
As one of the regular rogues in Batman’s gallery since 1992, Batman already comes prepared for Harley Quinn on a moment’s notice. Just because she’s semi-reformed lately doesn’t mean he isn’t ready for her to break a mallet out against him on a whim. Batman’s bested Harley many times before, and he knows the routine to do it again.
Prep Time: None needed
How do we know Batman’s still prepared for Harley, even if she’s not hanging off the Joker’s arm anymore? Because he’s still always prepared for his best friend. Given the sheer number of alternate realities where Superman turns bad, Batman always comes prepared for the Man of Steel with a chunk of Kryptonite—whether it’s a ring in his utility belt or a laced piece of gum in his mouth. And yet, Batman vs. Superman is really a war of attrition. Batman may have the minerals to take down Superman, but hey, so does Lex Luthor and Big Blue’s still up in the sky. DC’s other major fighting game franchise, Injustice: Gods Among Us, gave us a real timetable for Batman’s victory, and that’s what we’re sticking to here.
Prep Time: 5 years
The problem here is that every time Batman fairly fights Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman wins. She did it in Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia, she did it in JLA: A League of One, she did it in Dark Nights: Death Metal. To gain whatever equipment or insight is needed to defeat Diana of Themyscira, Batman would have to embark on a truly Homeric odyssey before confronting the living Greek myth. If you’re a student of Greek mythology, you might already see where we’re going with this: the standard-issue length of any impossible quest to appease or even best the gods, whether you’re talking about The Iliad or The Odyssey, comes down to the same hard time. To reliably prepare for an enemy like Wonder Woman, we would expect no less from Batman than the gods demanded of Odysseus.
Prep Time: 10 years
Batman may always be prepared, but he can’t see the future. Garnet, de facto leader of the Crystal Gems, can. But if Steven Universe has taught us anything, it’s that undoing an enemy requires an emotional appeal. To truly understand Garnet enough to defuse her—literally—he’d need to understand the show she comes from. Or at least the gist of it, with the right curation of episodes. Garnet’s core components, Ruby and Amethyst, appear separately in just over ten of episodes through the series. (I know, it seems like more, right?) It Batman optimizes his time, it won’t take long for him to get a sense of what drives Garnet apart, even when she sees it coming.
Prep Time: 2 hours
As viewers of Steven Universe know, the best way to resolve your differences with Steven is through the power of song. Luckily, because episodes typically run around eleven minutes, those emotionally moving songs tend to be on the short side. Batman’s a pretty quick study, so we think it would only take him one time through to learn his cues. Once that’s over, Steven’s a friend for life and ready to be fitted for a Robin costume. Good news, Batman, this one’s got self-healing powers!
Prep Time: 90 seconds
Norville “Shaggy” Rogers, as we encounter him in MultiVersus, has been gifted with intimidating power through unlikely circumstances. But even in this agitated state, the way to Shaggy’s heart remains his stomach. Cooking has never been one of Batman’s strong suits, but a well-timed food delivery (or perhaps some of Alfred’s legendary finger sandwiches) will guarantee him the win.
Prep Time: 30 minutes or it’s free
As the brains behind Mystery Incorporated, Velma Dinkley is an obvious Batman fangirl. Because the two have paired up multiple times in the past, Batman’s profiling work is already finished here. It’s always the same story: she does all the work and at the end of the night, the dog gets the credit. Just a little of the recognition she’s been long denied will have Velma ready to switch sides. The only problem? Batman may need to spend some time practicing how to give a compliment in the mirror.
Prep Time: Like 5 more minutes tops, and then Robin really needs to use the bathroom, he’s serious
When you’re listing off the coolest Game of Thrones characters, it's hard not to put Arya Stark at the top. A shapeshifter, a master assassin and a terror with a sword. But Batman’s fought Clayface. He’s fought Deathstroke. And he’s fought Ra’s al Ghul. And he’s beat them all. There’s no form that Arya can take that would give Batman pause. Well, maybe his mother. But even then, Arya’s medieval training hasn’t prepared her for anything like a Bat-Taser.
Prep Time: None
Jake the Dog
Jake is one of the most powerful characters currently in the MultiVersus roster, which is saying something in a lineup that includes Superman. But while Jake’s stretching and shapeshifting abilities are almost limitless, he’s still able to feel pain. And with Batman’s legendary files on his closest allies, there’s likely more than enough munition in his data on Plastic Man and Elongated Man to beat Jake. This one’s just a matter of heading down to the Batcomputer, collating data and formulating a workable strategy.
Prep Time: 15 minutes, or an hour if Robin is downloading Minecraft mods again
Finn the Human
Another cool teen with a cool sword. You’re good, Finn Mertons, but you’re not Batman good.
Prep Time: He’s got this
The Iron Giant
Hmm… okay, no problem. Just give him a little time to cobble a big enough electromagnetic pulse together. This’ll work.
Prep Time: One day, maybe two with shipping
Tom & Jerry
A typical Tom & Jerry cartoon is about six or seven minutes long. If you got up to get a drink when the opening credits start, they’re already trying to kill each other by the time you get back to your seat. Bruce can wear his Batman Returns suit to this one, he wins it without even making a move.
Prep Time: Like 30 seconds
LeBron is an intimidating force out on the court, but big men make big targets. There are no refs to call foul in MultiVersus when Batman hits you with an Arkham-style takedown attack, or when he deflates the basketball you use to attack with a well-placed batarang. If this were the NBA playoffs it might be a different story, but the MultiVersus arena is Batman’s house.
Prep Time: 24 second shot clock
As an original character to MultiVersus, Reindog is the least known quantity in this free-for-all. Even the Batcomputer’s prodigious files have little data on this mythical figure, other than his allegiance to the lost kingdom of Zanifeer and his formidable gem of power. On the other hand, gem-based power isn’t unheard of in the DC Universe. Just ask Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld, or Eclipso of the Black Diamond. However, it’s not studying magic that’s going to give Batman the edge. Here, Batman’s victory is assured through his affinity with animals. It shouldn’t take him longer than a standard dog obedience course for the skills to bring Reindog to heel.
Prep Time: 6 weeks
As the grandson and frequent companion of the most notorious mad scientist in the multiverse, Morty Smith has borne witness to terror beyond the void that might even give Batman nightmares. He’s proven capable of unimaginable bravery and resourcefulness when abandoned by his grandpa Rick to fend for himself. But forget all that, because Morty is still just a teenager, and Batman is Batman. Batman’s reputation precedes him. As an observer of the multiverse, Morty will know better than to try fighting a man whose more violent incarnations pop ribs in his enemies like crab legs at a seafood dinner. In this case, it will have been Morty who’s done the prep for this fight, and he’ll be prepared to surrender.
Prep Time: None
Gremlins are pretty easy to deal with if you know how. All it really takes is a sunny day. Heck, if sunlight is unavailable, even a strong flashlight is fine. The only problem here is that Batman’s not particularly well versed in pop culture. Despite the centerpiece of his Batcave being a tyrannosaurus rex, he once admitted to Green Lantern that he was unfamiliar with Jurassic Park. Batman has what he needs in his utility belt to defeat Gizmo, but before the fight, starts he should probably at least see the first movie.
Prep Time: 1 hour, 46 minutes
Very similar to the strategy for taking down Tom & Jerry. Batman’s just got to perch himself on a gargoyle and let the poor sucker tire himself out from all the spinning.
Prep Time: 3 seconds to spot an appropriately shadowy vantage point. (Heck, probably not even that. This is Batman’s bread and butter.)
There’s absolutely nothing Batman can do to prepare for Bugs Bunny. The more seriously he takes this fight, the more research he does, the more he’ll find himself hoisted upon his own petard. Batman has all the qualities of self-righteousness and rigidity, which make him the perfect foil to the Wascally Wabbit, setting the Dark Knight up for divine failure, perhaps set to the tones of a classical opera like so many Fudds and Yosemites before him.
Prep Time: Not enough time in the woyld. What a sap. What a maroon.
That’s about how we see it for the game’s current roster, but MultiVersus is always expanding. Gizmo’s fellow gremlin Stripe, the mighty Black Adam and Rick Sanchez (woof, good luck on that one, buddy) are all on their way to the battlefield. The good news? Batman—and you—have plenty of time to prepare.
MultiVersus, the free-to-play platform fighter from Warner Bros. Games and Player First Games, is now available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC. For more information on how you can get in on the action, click here.
Alex Jaffe is the author of our monthly "Ask the Question" column and writes about TV, movies, comics and superhero history for DCComics.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AlexJaffe and find him in the DC Community as HubCityQuestion.
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this feature are solely those of Alex Jaffe and do not necessarily reflect those of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros.