Due to his enticing good looks and vast money, Batman has always been a popular hottie among the ladies, but who did Batman have in his heart? Andrea Beaumont, who Bruce has loved for many years and was almost married to, is the woman in question.
Does not sound like the type of person you would connect with being an antagonist, does it? So, what prompted the lovely Miss Beaumont to assume the role of assassin and vigilante? The Origins of The Phantasm are investigated in this episode of The Phantasm.
Born as Andrea Beaumont, Phantasm was first introduced in the animated movie Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. This was the first movie based on the animated Batman series. Andrea is the daughter of businessman Carl Beaumont and his wife Victoria. Bruce and Andrea first come across each other at the cemetery while Bruce is visiting his parents’ grave and he overhears Andrea speaking to someone, who turns out to be her deceased mother.
This random occurrence leads to a whirlwind romance, and even gives us an early glimpse of Andrea quite literally sweeping Bruce off his feet while he’s practicing Jujitsu, showcasing her defense skills. The love Bruce feels for Andrea makes him conflicted about whether or not to still pursue his alter ego vigilante side, as he is happy and does not want to put Andrea in harm’s way. He finally decides to give up on the mantle of Batman and proposes marriage to Andrea which she happily agrees to.
But in a plot twist dear to Batman creators, the very next day Bruce receives a package that contains the ring and a note from Andrea mentioning that she has gone away with her father and is too young to be bound in marriage and needs more time. Heartbroken and betrayed, Bruce continues to pursue his vigilantism and give justice to Gotham’s citizens.
In the present day, Batman is shown in pursuit of mafia boss Chuckie Sol, Batman falls behind as Sol runs away. Sol then has a run-in with a masked man, who says- “Your angel of death, awaits you” and then attacks Sol. Sol tries to shake him off and drive away but ends up falling through the parking lot and into a different building and dies.
Batman tries to go after Phantasm but is unsuccessful, however, many citizens catch his glimpse at the crime scene. A few days later, one of Chuckie’s associates, Buzz Bronski, goes to pay his respects at Sol’s grave, where he too comes face to face with the masked man and dies a horrible death. Buzz’s men witness the figure going away, and the silhouette gives them the impression that it’s Batman.
Now that Batman is accused of two murders, councilman Arthur Reeves tries to instigate the masses and have Batman arrested, but Commissioner Gordon refuses as he claims that Batman would never resort to murder. Arthur then teams up with Detective Harvey Bullock and they try to lure Batman into a trap, but he being aware of the trap, goes to investigate the cemetery.
There he again comes across Andrea, who sees Batman looking at him, but Bruce gets away. Andrea then notices that Batman was looking at her from beside the Wayne grave and deduces that Bruce is Batman.
The Dark Knight then witnesses Andrea out for a dinner with Arthur Reeves, assuming them to be in a relationship, and reminisces about his past relationship with Andrea and how happy they were. The time when he had wanted to spend his life with her and give up his crime-fighting side. But Andrea going away led Bruce to don the Batman guise and he turned the cave beneath Wayne Manor as his base of operations. Bruce then decides to show up in Andrea’s room and interrogate her about the picture he found in Valestra’s house which featured her father. Although Andrea mocks him and sends him away, she breaks down and starts crying.
On the other side of the city, Valestra meets up with the Joker- Batman’s arch-nemesis, who has taken up residence in the run-down World of the Future Fair and seeks for his aide to help him in finding the killer, as he knows he’s going to be the next one on the killer’s list and persuades the Joker as he has a past connection with the gang.
When Phantasm goes to kill Valestra, all that is found is his corpse, which is placed by the Joker along with a camera and the Joker comes to find out that the killer is not Batman. Phantasm makes a narrow escape, jumping out of the window, to save himself from the bomb planted by Joker. Batman witnesses the explosion and chases after Phantasm, but the Gotham Police turn up at the scene, trying to arrest Batman, and amidst the chaos, Phantasm manages to escape.
Batman is chased by the Gotham Police and cornered in a building where he is constantly shot at. With nowhere to run, Batman puts his cape on a dummy to confuse the police and runs away. As the Gotham police catch up to him and are closing in on him, Bruce runs out the alley and Andrea drives up to him asking him to get in so they can make a getaway. Miraculously throughout all this, no one sees Batman’s actual identity, nor do they catch a glimpse of Andrea.
Back at the Wayne Manor, Andrea finally reveals the truth about why she had to run away with her father. Her father who worked with the mob had embezzled money from them which the bosses then found out and were threatening him. To save his and Andrea’s lives, he took them away to Europe, where they hid for many years.
Hearing this, Bruce finally understands everything and the two of them resume their lost relationship. He also assumes that Phantasm is Carl Beaumont, Andrea’s father, who has come back to take his revenge.
While Joker is trying to find the actual killer of his old gang mates, he turns to Arthur Reeves who he assumes to be his top suspect as he is now a councilman who might want to eliminate the mob bosses to bury his secrets, but Arthur reveals he’s not the man who killed them.
At the same moment, he receives a call from Andrea, and the Joker is made aware of her presence in the city. Reeves is then admitted to the hospital having been infected with the Joker venom and uncontrollably laughing. Batman arrives to interrogate him, and between laughs, Reeves somehow admits that he was the one who had helped the Beaumonts run away from the city, and when Carl had refused to help Arthur with campaign funds a few years later, he was the one who had revealed their location to the mob, indicating that Carl was dead and could not be Phantasm.
Batman then arrives at Andrea’s apartment to warn her, but she’s nowhere to be found. The phone rings, and you guessed it- It’s the Joker who calls and talks in a way as if he’s addressing Andrea. Batman sees an explosive device flying towards the building and throws a Batarang at it before it can kill him. The explosion is still strong, and the Joker is heard maniacally laughing, as he assumes that Andrea is dead.
But in fact, Andrea is right outside Joker’s hideout, listening in on him, as she reminisces how a man from the mob had killed her father in cold blood, which had what led her to put on the guise of Phantasm- the big reveal of the movie, to take revenge. Fun fact- prior to the release of the movie, figurines were released, where the same packaging had both the masked and unmasked versions of Phantasm, subsequently spoiling the identity even before the movie was released.
Since Joker has already figured out her identity, she removes her mask when she confronts him, and an altercation ensues. Although Andrea is seen to have an upper hand, Joker leads her out into the open area, where he activates a giant fan, which starts to pull everything towards it.
Andrea is almost shredded to pieces, but Batman arrives and throws the Batcycle towards the fan and breaks it down, in turn saving Andrea. He then asks her to stand down and let him deal with the Joker to which she reluctantly agrees. Then Batman and Joker fight it out in a model of Gotham City, where Joker reveals that he’s set explosives all over the fair and they are going to explode soon, and he runs away.
He then puts on a jetpack and attempts to leave the area, but Batman grabs him and they both crash to the ground. Andrea arrives at the scene and grabs Joker and stares at him as he maniacally laughs. Bruce warns her about the explosives, but she pays no heed to him. The place erupts in flames due to the explosives, and Andrea disappears in a flash of smoke, taking the Joker along with her, while Batman is knocked away into a river.
Bruce is then comforted by Arthur because of his loss, as Arthur tells him it was too late to save Andrea, who had already gone off the edge due to vengeance. The end scene then shows Andrea onboard a cruise ship, as she looks off into the distance, while in Gotham city, a bat signal flashes across the sky.
What makes Phantasm so dangerous?
Phantasm is often mistaken for the Reaper, as the character design is very similar, but they are very different from each other even though Phantasm was inspired by the Reaper. Technically, Andrea does not have any actual superpowers, just like Bruce. Even though it may seem like the Phantasm has supernatural powers, it’s just that the suit worn by Andrea has a smoke propellor in the left hand which casts smoke screens and allows her a quick escape. She wears a scythe over her right hand which usually serves as her main weapon.
Andrea is quite intelligent and has also mastered several forms of martial arts, which can be seen when she bests even Bruce Wayne in combat. She is quite a skilled acrobat as well and a wonderful athlete which helps her stay in fighting shape.
Her mask also has a voice modifier installed, one of the very reasons why her identity is so well protected, and why most people get the impression that Phantasm is a man. She is a master manipulator and has managed to deceive many people, including Batman to reach her goal of vengeance. Despite being a normal person, her extensive set of skills makes her very dangerous and the perfect master of disguise.
Mind-blowing versions of Phantasm in media
After her amazing entry in the animated movie, Andrea Beaumont or the Phantasm appeared in many of DC’s comics and other media adaptations. Her first official return was in the story ‘Shadow of the Phantasm’ which was part of the Batman and Robin Adventures Annual #1(1996). She appeared in the direct sequel ‘Mask of the Phantasm’ in which Andrea returned to Gotham city to aid Batman in defeating Arthur Reeves who had been driven mad by the Joker and was now hell-bent on revenge on Andrea and Bruce.
She makes her return in Batman Adventures: Shadows and Masks when she goes undercover in Black Mask’s organization. The estranged lovers reunite again since Batman is also undercover in the organization, where Andrea demands Bruce to not interfere with her work.
Phantasm makes a cameo appearance in the finale of season 2 of Justice League Unlimited: Epilogue (2005) as an assassin hired by Amanda Waller (the lady who runs the Suicide Squad and enemy turned ally of Batman) to murder the parents of Terry McGinnis, who is the genetic child of Bruce, hoping that a similar trauma would lead Terry to take the pedestal as the successor of Batman. Andrea almost kills the couple but stops at the last moment. She reasons that murder should be not Batman’s legacy, to which Amanda calls off the Batman Beyond operation.
Another seven-part story called the ‘Mark of the Phantasm’ which was featured in the digital comic Batman Beyond 2.0 (2015) has the Phantasm seek out Jake Chill (aka the Vigilante) for the murder of Terry McGinnis’ father.
Andrea makes her official comic book debut with Tom King and Clay Mann’s Batman/Catwoman limited series in December 2020. The cover features a picture of Phantasm with her Scythe and the images of Bruce and Selina reflected in it with the caption- “She awaits you” which is a nod to Phantasm’s catchphrase. Her role is described as a threat to Bruce and Selina’s union and what it entails in their future.
She has also had various minor appearances as easter eggs in many shows like Batman: Arkham Origins, The Lego Batman movie, Batman: L’il Gotham, and more.
Anyone learning about the Phantasm for the first time is sure to be thrown off by the name and will get the shock of their life when they find out her real identity. But that is exactly what makes Andrea Beaumont special. A beauty with brains, with Batman’s heart in her grasp, she is definitely the perfect antiheroine possible.