25 years ago, the animated film Batman: Mask of the Phantasm introduced a mysterious new villain for the Dark Knight. Although the Phantasm was essentially a one-off baddie, she most certainly left an impression on everyone who saw the film. Now, DC Comics is finally introducing Phantasm into proper DC continuity. In a tweet from artist Clay Mann (via io9), he shows off an image of her from his upcoming Batman/Catwoman series with writer Tom King. It shows the distinctive Phantasm mask, signaling that this new series will be significant to the DCU beyond just the two titular characters.
— clay mann (@Clay_Mann_) June 11, 2019
In the original animated movie, the Phantasm was secretly Andrea Beaumont, an early love of Bruce Wayne’s. He very nearly gave up his burgeoning Batman quest to live a life of contentment with her. But after the mob murders Andrea’s father, she returns to Gotham City as a costumed assassin taking out all of those who wronged her family. She only makes a brief appearance again one other time, in an episode of Justice League Unlimited. But she has never appeared in the mainstream DCU until now.
Tom King and artist Clay Mann’s Batman/Catwoman 12-part mini-series has a scheduled debut date of January of 2020. It will end King’s long-running storyline from the pages of Batman, dealing with the relationship of Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle. The Cat left the Bat at the altar during his run, and this series is slated to bring a resolution to their decades-long romance. Which might be even more difficult if a former flame of Bruce’s like Andrea Beaumont pops back into the picture.
Many elements from the classic Batman: The Animated Series have found their way into regular continuity. Tim Drake’s Robin costume debuted there first before incorporation into the DCU proper; and the current popularity of Mister Freeze owes everything to his radical makeover by Bruce Timm and Paul Dini on the series. Of course, B:TAS‘ biggest contribution to the DCU was Harley Quinn. Here’s hoping that the Phantasm makes an equally big mark on the comics side of things like Harley did.
Images: DC Comics/Warner Brothers Animation