Before the release of Man of Steel to theaters, fans could already pick out bits of All-Star Superman and Superman: Birthright from the trailers. Along with those, star Henry Cavill admitted to having studied The Death and Return of Superman, Red Son and other comics to prep for the role, saying frequently that he didn't want to look to Christopher Reeve, George Reeves or other performers because he felt those were filmmakers' interpretations of the comic book source material. Cavill said he preferred to interpret the source material itself, directly, without middlemen.
In other words, Henry Cavill reads comics to see what Superman should be like, rather than looking to TV shows and movies that feature guys who read comics on their own.
After the film was released, there were more things to be picked out; he got aspects of his look from the Jurgens/Ordway era; Krypton clearly drew inspiration from John Byrne.
So, with all of that in mind, what stories might impact the way Batman and Superman interact in the upcoming sequel to Man of Steel? We've got some ideas.
Unfortunately, none of them involves a cruise ship...but that would be pretty great, too.
The first interaction between Superman and Batman after the Crisis on Infinite Earths reboot, including elements of this story would make sense. They start out in conflict--and, yes, Batman outsmarts Superman. But it's not about finding a Kryptonite boot to put up Superman's tights.
Including this would also make sense simply because Man of Steel is the name of the movie, and John Byrne's revamp did influence the first movie a fair bit.
Dark Knight Over Metropolis
After the events of The Man of Steel #3, Batman and Superman's next big team-up in the post-Crisis era was set in the Superman books, where Batman came to Metropolis to help Superman out. They still weren't "old chums" yet, but they certainly worked fairly well together, if not without some hiccups and mistrust. That might be a model you see aped in the second or third act of the movie, once the "fight" part of the meet-fight-team-up combination is finished.
The story, which is being collected for the first time in October in a new paperback from DC Comics, also features a scene that's virtually guaranteed to appear in the film, as it's arguably the most iconic interaction in the characters' history: Superman giving Batman the Kryptonite ring for safekeeping in case he ever needs to be stopped.
The Dark Knight Returns
We already know this one is going to influence the film, although just how much is hard to say. We might see a role reversal, with Batman being somewhat more of an establishment figure. Why? Well, that scene at the end of Man of Steel where he trashed the satellite seems to make it unlikely he'll be on great terms with the government right away. Batman, meanwhile, is a little older and presumably less hot-headed. He's also got years of crimefighting under his belt, meaning that he'll likely have a relationship with Jim Gordon already in place.
JLA: Tower of Babel
One of DC/Warner's favorite stories to go back to time and time again, the idea of Batman forming a database that gives him a way to be crazy prepared to fight and defeat metahumans is something that might bring him to Metropolis--and into conflict with Superman--to begin with. Also, it's written by Mark Waid, whose work influenced part of the first Man of Steel, so when Cavill, Goyer and company to go the bookshelf it's a pretty common-sense volume to pick up.
We already know there's a distinct possibility that Supergirl could play a role in the series going forward; while it's unlikely we'll see her introduced in the same film as Batman, it would serve the purpose of bringing the two together, introducing Lex Luthor and Kryptonite...and once again, it's a story that the powers that be at DC and Warners really seem to like. Both Tower of Babel (as Justice League: Doom) and Superman/Batman: Public Enemies have been adapted as direct-to-DVD DC Universe animated movies.
Hear us out, here...
It's all about their conflict.
Superman's sigil means "hope," but (as the critics of Man of Steel pointed out over and over again) his actions in Man of Steel would be as likely to inspire fear among much of the populace. Don't be surprised if Batman gives him a tough-love speech that sounds quite a bit like the "The last time you inspired anyone was when you were dead" snark he gave Superman in Infinite Crisis.