Batman vs. Sub-Zero: Who wins the ultimate Mortal Kombat/DC showdown?

Who finishes who?

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“The heat is on” and good thing because Batman’s world just got a little colder. The Dark Knight has fought his fair share of cold-themed villains — Mr. Freeze, Captain Cold, Icicle, Killer Frost — and he’s managed to escape with only minor frostbite. But Sub-Zero is an entirely different fight. He’s as cold as they come.

Sub-Zero is an assassin with cryomancy powers, which doesn’t sound too bad until you consider his penchant for fatalities, which even Batman might have some trouble getting out of. Batman’s going to have to up his tech for this battle. You may have had a chance to pit iterations of these two characters against each other back in 2008’s Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe video game, which saw Sub-Zero II inspired by Batman’s mission and become a vigilante. But after 13 years, it seems like its time for a reboot and pit these two against each other again for the first time. Inversus seems like the only way to make sure the fight goes off as fair as possible.

Inversus is an Inverse series that pits the best of the best against each other from all corners of the superhero omniverse.

In the red corner: Batman (Bruce Wayne)

Batman in the DC Extended Universe.

Warner Bros.

Batman first appeared in DC Comics’ 1939 comic Detective Comics #27. He is one of the most frequently appearing superheroes on film, and made his DCEU debut in 2016’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Bruce Wayne is Batman, or is it the other way around? Either way, he’s the world’s greatest detective, the Caped Crusader, the Dark Knight, who has devoted his entire life to protecting the city that claimed the life of his parents, Thomas and Martha Wayne. A vigilante who has developed an uneasy alliance with the Gotham Police Department, Batman stands against the worst the world has to offer.

Batman has no powers, but due to his years of extreme training all over the world, he possesses peak human strength, speed, agility, durability, reflexes, and stamina. He’s also an expert in martial arts, lockpicking, detection, criminology, psychology, escape artistry, chemistry, hunting and tracking, swordsmanship, acrobatics, stealth, archery, and aviation As one of the world’s richest men, he also has a variety of gadgets and vehicles at his disposal. He doesn’t need powers, he’s Batman.

In the blue corner: Sub-Zero (Kuai Liang)

Sub-Zero in the 2021 movie Mortal Kombat.

Warner Bros.

Kuai Lian, the brother of the original Sub-Zero first appeared in the 1993 video game, Mortal Kombat II. His elder brother Bi-Han appears in the film reboot. Sub-Zero is one of the most recognizable playable characters in the Mortal Kombat franchise and is known for his rivalry with Scorpion.

Kidnapped by the assassin clan, Lin Kuei, as children, Kuai and his older brother grew to be master combatants and entered the Mortal Kombat tournament. After Bi-Han was killed by Scorpion, Kuai adopted his namesake and swore revenge on Scorpion. Despite his violent upbringing and commitment to vengeance, Sub-Zero has a strong belief in justice.

Sub-Zero’s powers include countless ice and frost abilities, including being able to craft weapons out of ice and creating an ice blast. He can also enhance his chi, beefing up his already notable martial arts abilities.

Batman vs. Subzero: Fight!

Batman arrives in Nanda Parbat, the hidden city in the Himalayas where Batman trained many years ago. He stands across from his opponent, the League of Shadows latest secret weapon: Sub-Zero.

Neither man talks. They don’t need to. Batman tosses a flash grenade. Sub-Zero freezes it mid-air and slides on a path of ice into Batman’s reach. The two trade blows. Their moves are quick and calculated. Not a single ounce of strength is wasted.

Sub-Zero takes on Batman in the fighting video game Injustice 2.

NetherRealm Studios

Sub-Zero pulls back his fist, ice forming a blade on the end of it. Batman quickly places three Batagrangs between the knuckles of his fist. Their tips glow red with heat. He slices at Sub-Zero, and the mortal combatant blocks with his icy blade, the heat doing little damage to his weapon. He slides back and launches an ice blast with his other hand. It hits Batman with full force, and the Dark Knight can feel the immediate effects of frost bite. He wipes the frost from his lenses and sees three identical figures of Sub-Zero in front of him.

Batman doesn’t hesitate. He throws his batarangs and the heated tips explored when they hit each target. Two of the figures melt into ice, while the third, the real Sub-Zero, kneels on the ground, clearly stunned. But he’s not done yet.

NetherRealm Studios

Sub-Zero looks up at the sky and sees the snow of the Himalayas all around him. The snow rises, crystalizes, forming thousands of ice daggers in the air. He sends them careening down. They cut through Batman’s Kevlar armor, through his skin, and even through his bones. Batman lies dying, his blood running out onto the snow.

Batman hears a slow clapping. And out of the entrance to Nanda Parbat comes Ra’s Al Ghul. He places a hand on Sub-Zero’s shoulder. “Well done.” He moves to Batman. “Don’t worry, detective. This isn’t the end for you. The Lazarus Pit awaits.”

Batman vs. Sub-Zero: The verdict

If Batman’s battle had been in Gotham he would have in all likelihood beaten Sub-Zero, but for all of his prowess he could not defeat a master manipulator of nature in his natural element. Now, he’ll be reborn as a member of the League of Assassins, and rather than fight each other again, Batman and Sub-Zero will be brothers and remake the world together, for Ra’s. The Inversus winner is…Sub-Zero.


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