Imagine if Marvel and DC Comics didn’t exist in separate universes. Imagine if the House of Ideas’ heroes were available to visit Gotham City. Who would swing in to help clean up Batman’s turf?
Enter: Steve Rogers.
Gotham is a warzone, and warzones need soldiers. While Rogers would have nothing but respect for Batman’s mission, there’s no way an American government with a Captain America at its disposal would allow Gotham City to remain as it has existed for nearly twenty years under Batman’s protection.
But how would Batman feel about that?
We’re never going to see Cap and Batman trade shields and batarangs on screen, but their fight is prime for an Inversus battle. It’s living legend versus living legend in this week’s match-up.
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: Captain America
Standing at a statuesque 6’2 and weighing in at 220 pounds, Steve Rogers is a super-soldier who represents America at its best. He stands for the people, rather than the government, which often puts him at odds with bureaucratic politicians. He straddles the line between public servant and vigilante.
We could do the full bio again, but, Captain America has already held his own in the Inversus ring. Read all about his battle with U.S. Agent to get the full rundown on Steve Rogers and what he’s all about.
When you’re done, let’s move onto...
In the Blue Corner: Batman
Standing at an equally statuesque 6’2 and weighing in at 210 pounds, Bruce Wayne is Batman, 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.
Following the death of his parents, Bruce Wayne traveled the world, seeking masters in various martial arts, lockpicking, detection, criminology, psychology, escape artistry, chemistry, hunting and tracking, swordsmanship, acrobatics, stealth, archery, and aviation in order to become something more than a man: a symbol. With each skill mastered, the boy who was Bruce Wayne eroded, replaced by his true self, the Batman.
Wayne first appeared in DC Comics’ 1939 comic Detective Comics #27. He is one of the most frequently appearing superheroes on film, but he made his DCEU debut in 2016’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Batman has no powers, but due to his years of extreme training, he possesses peak human strength, speed, agility, durability, reflexes, and stamina. As one of the world’s richest men, he also has a variety of gadgets and vehicles at his disposal. Even without his tools of the trade, Batman is a master swordsman, tactician, boxer, and martial artist. He is the darkness so that there may be light.
Captain America vs. Batman in the comics
Wanna see these two examples of peak human ability go head to head? Here’s your recommended reading.
• DC versus Marvel Comics: Batman vs. Captain America (1996) #1-4: In one of the few times DC and Marvel ever crossed over, Batman and Captain America fight for hours in the sewers, until a sudden burst of water knocks Cap off balance and Batman catches him off guard with a well-placed batarang, knocking the super-soldier unconscious. Batman saves Cap from drowning and emerges the victor.
• Batman/Captain America (1997): The two heroes don’t fight each other in this one. Instead, they and their partners Robin and Bucky, team up to defeat the deadly pairing of the Joker and the Red Skull.
Captain America vs. Batman, fight!
It’s been two weeks since Captain America and the U.S. military’s occupation of Gotham City.
Perched on a gargoyle, Batman looks down at the tanks and troops that fill the streets, making it unrecognizable. They think they’ve won because the streets are clear, the curfew forcing everyone inside when night falls. But Batman knows better. They’ve won nothing.
The crime has merely spread. Batman’s most notorious rogues have moved to other cities, carrying a seed of Gotham with them and changing the infrastructure, and facing off against heroes unprepared to deal with their level of madness. A signal shines in the sky: a giant, white letter- A.
“This ends tonight,” Batman says.
Steve Rogers is standing in the wreckage of the Iceberg Lounge, the military having just captured the Penguin, one of the last structures of Gotham’s criminal element. He hears a figure land quietly behind him: The Batman.
“Don’t make this personal,” Steve says.
“You’re in my city,” Batman replies. “This is personal.”
This is not the first time they will have traded blows over the last couple weeks, but it will be the last. Their previous fights ended in draws, with the U.S. military and G.C.P.D. interfering. But not this time.
Batman secures three batagrangs between his knuckles like claws. He knows if he’s to have any chance in this fight, he’s going to have to get close. He rolls forward, closing the distance. Cap is quick. Shield already in hand, he slams it down, catching the edge of Batman’s cape. But Batman won’t be pinned. He releases the cape from his back and tries to sweep Cap’s legs out from under him. Cap dodges swiftly.
“Everything you are, came out of a bottle,” says Batman. “Me? I trained my whole life for this.”
Batman swipes at Captain America with his batagrangs, slicing through the fabric of Steve’s uniform.
“This isn’t about us. This is about what’s good for Gotham. You have to see how much better things are?” Cap asks as six black Bat-drones emerge from the ceiling of the Iceberg Lounge. Cap throws his shield, hitting each one, causing a ring of explosions in the air above them.
“At what cost,” says Batman. “The Riddler’s taken Central City. Scarecrow’s holed up in Miami. Black Mask has infiltrated Washington, D.C. You let the animals out of the cages.”
“I’ll deal with them too,” Cap says as he trades blows with Batman. Bones break, skin bruises, muscles tear. On and on, the fight goes on, neither tiring, neither giving in.
Suddenly, the room fills with green gas. Captain America starts giggling, and it quickly turns to full-blown laughter. He’s doubled over.
“Captain?” Batman rushes over. Despite their differences, he respects his opponent. He immediately recognizes what this is: a specific strain of toxin that he’s inoculated himself against.
Laughter like broken glass fills the room as Captain America’s howls continue. Batman looks up and sees the clown in the shadows.
“You didn’t think I’d let him take what we have, did you, Bruce?” The Joker grins, and retreats back into the dark corners of the Iceberg Lounge. “I think it’s time to call our friends back home.” His voice echoes over Captain America’s manic laughter.
Captain America vs. Batman: The Verdict
Batman and Captain America are as evenly matched as two opponents could ever be. But, Batman knows Gotham City, which gives him a slight advantage. The only other person who knows it like he does is the Joker, and the Clown Prince of Crime would never allow the city to fall into the grips of an outsider.
Batman is the victor but only because of the nightmares he’s helped give rise to in his city. Captain America is down, but now Batman has bigger problems to deal with, the problems that have followed him since that night he lost his parents, and the problems that will follow him until his dying day. There’s no changing Gotham City, and in the grand scheme of things, there’s no winning either.
By default, the Inversus winner is Batman ... but at what cost?