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Superhero Showdown Championship: And the winner is...(Plus: EXCLUSIVE ART of the winner!)

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One month ago, we launched our Superhero Showdown bracket in an attempt to decide once and for all the identity of the greatest superhero of all time. The votes came flooding in and now we can declare unilaterally and scientifically that Batman — Dark Knight, Caped Crusader, World’s Greatest Detective, Walking Advertisement for the Utility-Belt Salesman of America — is officially the greatest costumed crimefighter in all of comic bookdom.

This final result is certainly not an upset. Batman has inspired many of the finest stories in the history of mainstream comic books. Indeed, Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns is one of the key flashpoints in the history of modern superheroes. And the character has consistently proven himself in other media. Batman: The Animated Series created a new generation of Bat-fans. The Tim Burton movies paved the way for the whole era of superhero cinema, and era which was dominated in turn by the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight trilogy.

Still, it’s worth pointing out that Batman had a particularly tough draw in this bracket, facing off against perpetual fan-favorite The Punisher and the ever-popular Wolverine before engaging in a down-to-the-wire showdown with the only major superhero who predates his own origin: Superman, last son of Krypton and colorful noble yin to Batman’s bleak tragic yang. Click on the bracket below for a full-sized look at Bruce Wayne’s long journey to the championship:

We got in touch with DC Comics about Batman’s victory. DC Entertainment co-publishers Jim Lee and Dan DiDio offered this comment on the result: “It’s an honor for Batman to be recognized by ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY as the greatest comic book hero ever – but not a surprise. Since his first appearance, Batman has epitomized heroism, intelligence, loyalty and honor. Batman has always been the hero fans wanted to be, and it’s great to see that confirmed again.” And just for the heck of it, DC threw in this exclusive first look at the cover of Batman #0, illustrated by current Bat-artist Greg Capullo. Take a look!

Entertainment Weekly congratulates Batman on his victory, and looks forward to the arguments about this final result in the comment boards.

Follow Darren on Twitter: @DarrenFranich