Before we begin, we need to ask ourselves, what is the DCAU? Bruce Timm’s Batman the Animated Series aired in 1992. It’s 85 episode run was supplemented by a 24 episode continuation series called The New Batman Adventures. Both titles are critical within the DC Animated Universe, or the DCAU. The DCAU an iconic body of interconnected, canonical work that spanned 8 television series from 1992 to 2006. In addition, various supplemental comics were produced and video games spawned. Notably, the universe was enhanced by multiple feature length films. All totalled, the series include:
- Batman TAS
- Superman TAS
- The New Batman Adventures
- Batman Beyond
- Static Shock
- The Zeta Project
- Justice League
- Justice League Unlimited
You don’t need to be an expert on the DC Animated Universe to settle in with this episode, because we’re primary here to talk about great storytelling today.
If you are a DCAU fan but missed pieces of associated media, please know we’ll be discussing spoiler content for both Batman the Animated Series and, more majorly, Batman Beyond. This will include their feature length films.
One of the most important characters in Batman’s DCAU legacy is Andrea Beaumont, but fans who have only seen the television titles–even though they WILL seen her–won’t have a clear picture into who she is and just how great of an impact she’s had on Bruce’s life, and on Batman’s origin story.
Andrea Beaumont is first introduced in the feature length Batman film Mask of the Phantasam. In Phantasm, we meet a younger Bruce Wayne who–while working toward the vengeance that he views as justice–has yet to become the Batman. This Bruce Wayne is in his early 20s, assumedly a recent graduate of Gotham University, and it’s at this time that he meets Andrea. She’s the daughter of Gothamite businessman Carl Beaumont, and Bruce meets her in a cemetery of all places. He’s come to mourn his parents, but he stumbles across a beautiful young woman chatting with the grave of her own mother. The two develop a relationship, and as it unfolds, Bruce is truly happy for the first time in a LONG time. Alfred is overjoyed, and he sees this as a beautiful thing, but as you might imagine, Bruce’s feelings leave him torn. He isn’t supposed to be happy. He’s supposed to be on a path of justice on behalf of his parents.
In the end, his joy wins out, and he proposes. She accepts.
The next day she has the ring returned with a note of rejection and disappears into the air. This is the last Bruce sees of her for several long years.
Bruce has firmly established himself as the Batman when a terrifying apparition comes hunting for Gotham’s notorious mob bosses. At the same time, he discovers that Andrea has returned, but why now, and might she be in danger?
I don’t wish to destroy the movie experience, but at the end of it all, we along with Batman discover that the Phantasam assassin has been Andrea the whole time, seeking revenge for the death of her father who had, early on, gotten into some shady dealings with the mob but was rolled over on by a politician that he helped and trusted. As a younger woman, Andrea had to flee the country with her father to try and outrun the mob, but as he was later exposed and murdered, all she had left was revenge.
Still, Andrea loved Bruce Wayne. She loved him and was forced to leave him, and this is one more burning ember in the fire of her vengeance. Bruce, now the Batman, knows deep down what sacrificing happiness and pursuing vengeance does to a person, and even if he can’t fully articulate it–even if Robin hasn’t yet come onto the scene, even if he hasn’t realized what he will ultimately do to the children in his life–never wanted this for her.
Andrea knows he’s the Batman by this time, but she cannot give up on her vengeance. The two spend one night making love and promises before everything goes to hell, and at the end, Bruce is left wondering if Andrea is even still alive.
He never sees her again.
If we discuss the companion comics as canon, Andrea does appear in The Adventures of Batman and Robin annual number 1. This comic is a continuation of Mask of the Phantasam in which we learn that Bruce *does* discover Andrea is alive and goes so far as to lie to Commissioner Gordon about her identity. The comic ends in longing never fully expressed, and it’s heartbreaking.
This is all we as the audience see of Andrea, until, in content set decades after the events of Batman the Animated Series and Mask of the Phantasam, she’s brought back to feature in one final showing.
Even though we’ll be discussing content pertinent to Batman Beyond, we’ll actually be talking about information presented in an episode of Justice League Unlimited quite fittingly titled “Epilogue” Here I begin to spoil MAJOR plot points relating to Batman Beyond, so if that’s going to bother you, please click away.
Epilogue was intended to bring the DCAU full circle. Bruce Timm didn’t write for much for Justice League Unlimited, but he DID have a hand in the culmination of his Batman’s story.
Amanda Waller is a DCAU character who initially dislikes Batman but over the course of decades grows to have a grudging respect and eventual appreciation for him. She’s initially the head of Project Cadums–a government sponsored program established to prepare for the very real possibility that superheroes will turn on earth. (Superman was at one point brainwashed and turned against earth in the events of Superman tAs and I won’t even get into the “Justice Lords,” but suffice to say, isn’t a stretch for the US government to assume it might happen one day.) Later, she’s head of project Batman Beyond. For Amanda Waller, the ends justify the means, and if those means are viewed as important enough to her, she’ll do anything to achieve them.
In Epilogue, we discover that Terry McGinnis–the Batman of the future–is, thanks to some handwavy future medical science and interference by Amanda Waller, Batman’s genetic son. Amanda realized that Gotham–rather, the world–could never be without a Batman to keep the balance, and so she takes creating one into her own hands. Though he had no part in it, we are never told whether or not Bruce knew Terry was his son, nor when he knew. In any case, it takes more than genetics to create another Bruce Wayne.
When Terry reaches the appropriate age, Amanda prepares to have the lives of Terry’s parents taken brutally in front of him. She views it as necessary for the greater good, and arranges an assasination. In a twist of fate, who does she hire to make the hit the Phantasam?
That’s right. While her name is never spoken, we see the Phantasam again one final time. Andrea is hired to commit murder in front of a young boy. She steps out of the shadows, scyth in hand, ready to end them, when she sees him. Suddenly, she realizes… she can’t do it. She cannot take the lives of these people, murder them in front of this little boy with the black hair and blue eyes so familiar to her. She cannot set another down this path of vengeance and pain. She knows what it’s done to Bruce, to herself, and she cannot make the swing.
Instead, she fades back into the shadows, and is seen confronting Waller, telling her that Batman would never resort to something to heinous as murder to achieve his goals. There is no honor in a legacy built on blood. Thus, she refuses. Amanda realizes that she’s gone to far, and resolves not to touch the McGinnis’.
Fate has other plans, and things proceed as a tragedy anyway.
If nothing else, it says a lot that Andrea was brought back in the culmination of Batman’s story. She’s never stopped caring about him, and even comes on to Project Batman Beyond because she realizes the necessity of a Batman only to pull back at the last minute because Andrea, for all her hardships and choices, still retains a soul.
If Andrea had made other choices, if initially she’s HAD other choices, Batman as we know him would not have existed.
Thanks for listening to this episode of Shojo’s Rabmlings’s DCAU edition. Please tune in next time for more discussion of all things inspired by this brainchild of Bruce Timm.