04 May 2008

The Friends and Foes of Batman - Phantasm

Created for her own animated film, Andrea Beaumont AKA The Phantasm was Bruce Wayne's ex-fiancé. She has since made cameos elsewhere, but never in the live action world.

Andrea Beaumont is the daughter of wealthy businessman Carl Beaumont and his deceased wife, Victoria. In her youth, while attending Gotham University, she meets and falls in love with Bruce Wayne. He is internally conflicted by his desire to lead a normal life with Andrea and keep the promise he made to his murdered parents to fight crime. He finally decides to abandon crime-fighting - instead pledging part of his inheritance to the Gotham City Police Department - so he can marry Andrea. As Bruce proposes to her at his estate, the two discover the cave that would later become the Batcave.

Andrea is forced to break off the engagement and move to Europe, however, when she learns that her father has double-crossed the Mafia. Carl Beaumont set up dummy corporations for some of the most powerful mob bosses in Gotham, including Chuckie Sol, Sal Valestra, and Buzz Bronski. When they learn that Beaumont has embezzled from them, they demand immediate repayment. Unable to quickly access the money he had stolen and subsequently invested, Carl flees with Andrea and eventually settles on the Mediterranean coast. By then, he has parlayed the money he'd stolen into a sizeable fortune and pay off his debt. However, when Beaumont father refuses to make donations to Arthur Reeves, a politician formerly in his employ, the young politician sells information on the Beaumonts' whereabouts to the mob. Although Carl has repaid them, the vengeful gangsters want "interest compounded in blood" and plan to use the information to have him killed. They send their hitman (who would later become the Joker) to kill Carl Beaumont. Andrea encounters the killer as he leaves her villa, and discovers her murdered father only moments afterward.

Consumed with hatred, Andrea waits patiently for 10 years, planning the demise of the men who destroyed her happiness. When she returns to Gotham, she dons a costume reminiscent of the Grim Reaper, complete with a smoke-generating device and scythe-bladed gauntlet. Disguised as such, and mistaken by everyone as Batman, she kills Sol and Bronski. After Bronski's death, she learns that Batman is, in fact, Bruce Wayne. Batman quickly discovers the link between the mobsters and Carl Beaumont and questions Andrea, but she rebuffs him. When the Phantasm attempts to kill Valestra, she nearly falls into a trap laid by the Joker, which she escapes. Batman attempts to apprehend her as she flees from Valestra's residence, although she easily evades him and the police. When Andrea realizes that the police will arrest Bruce in her stead, she quickly changes out of her costume and helps him elude the authorities. In a final attempt to conceal her identity, Andrea tells Bruce that the Phantasm is her father, and that she has returned to stop his murderous rampage. The two then spend the night together.

Andrea tracks the Joker to his hideout at the derelict Gotham World Fairgrounds, but the Clown Prince of Crime has deduced her identity, and is ready for her attack. The two fight hand-to-hand in the "Home of the Future" exhibit before he lures Andrea to a giant turbine. He attempts to kill her by sucking her into it, but Batman intervenes, breaking the machine moments before its blades would have crushed her. Andrea attempts to justify her actions: "They took everything, Bruce! My dad, my life...you.I'm not saying that it's right or even sane bt it's all I've got left...Look what they did to us! What we could've had! They had to pay!" She asks him to let her carry out her vendetta without interference. For once completely helpless, Batman begs her to leave. Andrea agrees and disappears in a cloud of smoke. After a battle between the Dark Knight and the Joker, Andrea reappears to claim the defeated maniac. As the fairgrounds explode, Andrea disappears with the Joker.

After escaping the inferno through a series of sewers, Batman assumes that Andrea and the Joker have perished in the blaze. However, she survives (as, presumably, does the Joker) and leaves a locket for Bruce in the Batcave as a keepsake. In the penultimate scene of the film, Andrea stands on the vespertine deck of an ocean-liner, alone.

The Dark Knight returns in 75 days!

1 comment:

Kurtis said...

I think it's worth noting that the Phantasm was inspired by the Reaper from Batman: Year Two (Detective Comics #575-578).