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It's well-known that Superman has entrusted Batman with a Kryptonite ring, in case if he ever went rogue. He even believes that he's entrusting his life to Batman, as can be seen in the scan below (Superman: The Man of Steel #21).

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However, in receiving the ring, Batman loses all of his major advantages: the element of surprise, and time to plan and prepare. Should Superman turn evil, it is likely that he would recognize Batman as a threat, and immediately finish off the person holding the only weapon capable of destroying him.

Besides, even if the Dark Knight had all the time in the world to prepare, Superman has several insurmountable advantages. With his super-speed, he could crush Batman before he has any time to react. With his heat vision and ice-breath, he could destroy him from a safe distance. With his super-strength, he could throw projectiles from afar. Furthermore, Batman would not be able to escape, regroup and come up with a new plan when faced with an opponent that possesses super-hearing, super-olfaction, x-ray vision, and flight.

Indeed, in Batman #612, Batman admits that he is out of his league, even after scoring hits with the Kryptonite ring. He claims that if "Clark wanted to, he could use his superspeed and squish me into the cement", and that Superman's big weakness is that "Deep down, Clark's essentially a good person". It's also significant that this punch nearly breaks Batman's hand.

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    It's worth noting that your hypothetical presupposes Superman "turning evil," while Clark gives Batman the ring in case an enemy makes him "lose control." I take that to mean rampaging, or under an enemy's control. Batman's ring would be much more useful in those situations, since it implies that Superman might not have access to his full memories. – TenthJustice Aug 5 '14 at 12:20
  • In the New 52, does Batman still have this ring? – scott.korin Aug 5 '14 at 18:30
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    @TenthJustice Excellent point! – Twilight Sparkle Aug 6 '14 at 16:34
  • We have two really excellent answers here, so I'll let the community decide by picking whichever one has the most upvotes in two days time. Thanks guys! – Twilight Sparkle Aug 6 '14 at 16:36
  • You mention "super olfaction". Is Superman known for having a superhuman sense of smell? – maguirenumber6 Jul 6 '16 at 6:51
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In ring form, almost certainly not. Superman is shown in all canons to be heavily affected by the presence of green kryptonite, but not instantaneously. His power wanes over a short period of time. Unless Batman could somehow restrain Superman (to allow the effects of the ring to take effect, presumably before attempting to kill him by conventional means) then Superman would almost certainly escape the vicinity and return superpowered.

As a source of raw kryptonite however, it would be infinitely more effective. Superman has been shown (in almost all canons) to be especially vulnerable to weapons comprised of kryptonite. In particular the military are known to have kryptonite bullets, precisely for the purpose of disposing of rogue Kryptonians.

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Yes, the ring worn by Lex Luthor ONCE had enough Kryptonite to kill Superman, if necessary.

While the consistency in the writing varies widely, there are plenty of reasons to believe the Kryptonite ring was more than enough to solve the problem, especially in the hands of someone as adaptable and creative as Batman.

  • The simplest and most logical answer: If it was meant to be a contingency plan against Superman, then Kal-El would want to give Batman enough Kryptonite to do the job. What is the point of giving a resource to Batman that wouldn't do the job, knowing how dangerous Superman is? What good is a contingency that doesn't actually do anything?

  • Luthor is not known for half measures. He would not have ever created the ring unless it had proven effective against Superman. Luthor is an egotistical maniac with delusions of grandeur, but his hatred of Superman is only equaled by his genius. He would be sure to have calculated how much was needed to deal with Superman effectively.

  • Superman's weakness to Green Kryptonite has been displayed to be a crippling one. If he is unaware the Kryptonite is about to be used, when confronted, he is almost immediately unable to perform ANY superfeats.

  • Yes, he has super-speed and will use it, if he he is aware of the impeding threat. Once it's there, he is in crippling pain, powerless and highly vulnerable. If he wasn't he would simply vaporize any piece of Kryptonite that ever came into his presence with his heat vision. He has NEVER vaporized kryptonite in his presence, this must mean HE CAN'T. Hence, his energy manipulating powers are either gone or significantly reduced.

  • In most versions of the comics continuity, Superman retains some degree of his powers (and invulnerability to conventional weapons) while exposed to Green Kryptonite. This is evidenced by his ability to continue to fight beings such as Metallo which use Kryptonite as a weapon while fighting. Range tends to be a factor when dealing with Kryptonite.

  • While Superman is dramatically weakened and in severe pain, he does not become completely, instantly vulnerable. This avoids the logical shortcut which would result if a villain could, for instance, simply expose Superman to Kryptonite and then shoot him with a gun. The comics continuity has consistently held that only exposure to Kryptonite, in and of itself, would be sufficient to kill Superman.

Thus, in any conflict with a mind-controlled or possessed Superman, it will take Batman and a few other heroes WITH the ring in play, to have any hope of keeping Superman down long enough to be immobilized or killed.

While the Animated Universe is not completely canon, its depiction of Superman's vulnerability matches most comic depictions perfectly.

All of this information precludes the existence of the New 52 Superman. In the New 52 Superman, we don't know if the ring exists, if the transfer took place or carried over from the previous Universe reboot. Nor does Kryptonite seem as effective as it was before, so it may be a moot point in the New 52.

  • Surely vaporising kryptonite would make it more dangerous to superman (e.g. he could breathe it in) rather than less dangerous? – Valorum Aug 6 '14 at 10:31
  • My point was, if his powers were intact, he could use any number of means to get rid of it. Heat vision to vaporize and super-breath to blow it away. For that matter, just using his super-breath to disarm his opponent. The mechanics behind Kryptonite have had 50 years to be better defined but lazy writers and sloppy editing have not done it. Such a waste. – Thaddeus Howze Aug 6 '14 at 15:17
  • Oh yes. If he had sufficient warning, the ring alone is totally useless. I always assumed that the ring was supposed to symbolise the correct amount to kill him unawares (e.g. in concert with other means or as the weapon component of a bullet or explosive), rather than being a weapon in its own right. – Valorum Aug 6 '14 at 15:23
  • The bullet part never made sense. Consider the dynamic of his invulnerability: It is the last power to fade when exposed. Otherwise, anyone who used it in a fight, would simply expose him and then kill him. A Kryptonite bullet would be no more effective than a regular one. The radiation would only precede it by a split second, hit him and bounce off. One aware, he moves out of the range and uses his powers to escape. We have watched him escape Metallo MANY times this way. So a bullet couldn't have ever been part of the equation, not if anyone was being honest about how they applied it. – Thaddeus Howze Aug 6 '14 at 15:32
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    Except that we've seen kryptonite bullets be effective in pretty much every canon. So much so that it's almost become a trope for "how do you kill superman? Oh you use a k-bullet". – Valorum Aug 6 '14 at 15:38
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On its own, doubtful.

Superman has even wielded the Kryptonite Ring himself against what he believed to be Kryptonian threats... a tactic that would be useless if it rendered himself completely helpless.

Providing the ring to Batman isn't really a statement about efficacy. If it were, the ring would probably put to better use in absolute terms in the hands of another League member with greater power.

Instead, it is primarily a symbol of trust. Providing a weakness to Batman and entrusting him to use his discretion on when to use it. It's not like Batman couldn't acquire Kryptonite on his own. Or that Batman wouldn't try to stop Superman if he went rogue, even without the ring. The ring is tacit approval to take the measures Batman deems necessary when the situation arises. It's part of the reason Superman didn't take Batman's contingency plans as hard as the rest of the League after The Tower of Babel story arc.

Superman using the Kryptonite Ring against other supposed Kryptonians

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