Batman writer Tom King has revealed that he considers the animated movie Batman: Mask of the Phantasm to be canon in his upcoming DC Comics miniseries. Widely considered the best Batman film ever made, Mask of the Phantasm made a minimal splash at the box office, but has become a fan favorite in the years since its release.
The basic premise was lifted from Batman: Year Two, in which Batman faced off against Gotham's original vigilante, The Reaper. The animated series reinvented that character as 'The Phantom,' a hooded reaper with a grudge against some of Gotham's hoods, and her methods left a lot to be desired. She was eventually revealed to be Andrea Beaumont, Bruce Wayne's first love, a woman who tempted him to consider giving up on the Batman mission early in his career. Unfortunately Andrea's family got involved with organized crime... forcing her to abandon her engagement to Bruce Wayne and leave Gotham, returning years later with a grudge.
Now Batman writer Tom King is bringing the Phantasm into the comics for the first time. King has taken to Twitter to confirm that he considers the Phantasm's comic book history to roughly mirror the plot of Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. Which is bad news for the 'happy ending' fans hoped for in the new Batman/Catwoman miniseries...
For Bat/Cat we are treating the events of the animated movie as cannon, with the exception of some of the Joker origin stuff. https://t.co/Bd7YGRamBa— Tom King (@TomKingTK) September 21, 2019
Joker origin stories were all the rage back in the '90s, and Batman: Mask of the Phantasm was no exception, writing the Clown Prince of Crime into the Phantasm's origin story. He was originally one of the hoods Andrea's father got involved with back in those early days, before he ever became the Joker. As such, he became one of the Phantasm's targets on her return to Gotham City. That went about as terribly as most would expect, since the Phantasm was very much out of her depth when she attempted to take down the Joker.
The most important addition that the movie made to Batman canon was that the Dark Knight once fell in love. Fell so deeply, in fact, that he begged at his parents' graves for permission to let them go. To not hold onto his grief and anger, and instead allow himself to have a life of happiness with Andrea. That fact alone--that he came close to choosing married life over his vigilante career--is massive. It's also a mirror of Batman and Catwoman's own arc in King's run; Catwoman broke off her own engagement to Batman because she feared he would be unable to continue being the Dark Knight if he was ever truly happy.
The disturbing question, though, is how the Phantasm will react if she hears Batman has finally found love again. Batman and Catwoman have gotten back together - but it looks as though they could be facing a very personal new threat, a woman who can mess with Batman's head in a way none of his other foes can.