Your Angel of Death Awaits
Earlier this week, Tom King and Clay Mann dropped a major reveal on their social media pages: The Phantasm, the titular villain of the fantastic Batman: Mask of the Phantasm animated feature, is coming to their new series Batman/Catwoman. While DC has yet to officially confirm this, the fact that Tom King and Clay Mann revealed this information and have kept it up on their different feeds is proof enough that she’s coming to the DC universe, and I couldn’t be more excited.
While The Phantasm has appeared in numerous comics that are tied into the various DC animated series, she’s never actually appeared in the main DC universe. Part of that is because the inspiration for the character is from The Reaper, a villain that Batman faced in his early career as a crimefighter that has a very similar look and weapon to the Phantasm. But what makes Phantasm such a compelling villain, honestly one of my favorite villains, is her connection to the Batman, which is something that The Reaper doesn’t have. .
Known as (SPOILERS FOR A MOVIE YOU SHOULD HAVE ALREADY SEEN) Andrea Beaumont, The Phantasm was once Bruce Wayne’s fiance in the time before he became the Batman (and she started murdering gangsters and thugs), but after he completed his training. Of course, we all know that Bruce Wayne ends up becoming Batman, so the fact that his and Beaumont’s engagement is called off shouldn’t be that big of a surprise, and her leaving Bruce serves, at least in the Animated Series continuity, as the final push for Bruce to embrace his destiny and become the Batman.
That relationship is what makes the Phantasm so compelling. Even in her relatively short career as a Batman villain, she makes an impact because of her connection to Bruce Wayne BEFORE he became Batman. Her very existence is a reminder of what Bruce Wayne could have had under better circumstances, and serves as a reminder of the pain that Bruce went through when she left. In a lot of ways, The Phantasm is the most personal of Batman’s rogues, which is pretty remarkable given what little real estate she takes up in the hallways of Batman’s villains.
Of course, it remains to be seen how Tom King and Clay Mann plan to use the Phantasm in Batman/Catwoman. For all we know, they could just be using the character in name only and putting their own spin on it. But there’s a huge part of me that hopes they keep a lot of aspects of the character that have already been established. She was extremely effective in the animated series universe, and putting her in the main DC universe proper could lead to some really awesome and effective stories.