The Matt Signal Beyond – Episode 12: Disappearing Inque

Plot summary: Inque is freed by a poor sap who has fallen in love with her, and sets her sights on revenge against Bruce and Terry.

After completing the original run of Batman The Animated Series, Matt Waters looks to the future each Saturday and Sunday with recaps of every episode of Batman Beyond, building an overall ranking along the way. Plus best performances, the ever-popular Villain Watch and more!

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Notes

Episode Title: ‘Disappearing Inque’

Original Air Date: May 8th, 1999

Directed: Curt Geda (5)

Written: Stan Berkowitz (4)

This episode contains one of a trio of references to a big reveal coming waaaay down the line. If you know, you know, if you don’t, try to remember this when we finally get to it.

One of the GCPD officers switches race twice due to a production error. Likewise, Bruce gives Terry an electrified Batarang as if for the first time, despite him having used them against Inque in ‘Blackout’.

Bruce’s disguise when he tries to rescue Terry greatly resembles that of The Shadow, the original inspiration for Batman and in turn The Gray Ghost.

Recap

Aaron Herbst, a worker at the facility where Inque is kept on ice, bitches about his boss to her. The poor guy is hopelessly in love, going as far as to kiss the ice… which he is promptly fired for because security cameras are a thing that exist.

Bitter, he sneaks back in that night and sets free his beloved, who easily cuts through the guards and takes hostages.

Elsewhere, Bruce shows Terry a giant Batsuit he designed to dramatically boost his strength, but it put too much strain on his heart so he never used it. Terry tries to get him to share why he gave up being Batman, but is called away to deal with Inque.

Attacking one of the guards in a suspiciously long coat, Terry’s hunch is proven right when Inque reveals herself, destroys his Cold Gun and escapes during the chaos between Batman and the police.

Inque infiltrates Aaron’s apartment, confirming she could see and hear everything he did while frozen. She exploits his embarrassment and attachment to her to make him a willing assistant.

Terry gets to work fortifying the Batcave, remembering Inque knows how to get in, but Bruce’s study of a DNA sample from the brief melee reveals that she sustained long-term damage from the effects of cryo-stasis.

They correctly deduce that Inque has broken into a chemical lab to gather the materials to fix her condition. Aaron asks Inque to make him like her, but Batman interrupts and they brawl until Aaron attacks Terry from behind and assists his beloved in her full recovery, allowing her to return to her ‘human’ form.

Noticing Terry talking to Bruce via radio, Inque challenges him to try and save his protégé. He does exactly that, strolling through the front door, only to find a hideously mutated Aaron, given the ‘reward’ he sought.

Bruce reveals he’s wearing the power suit from the start of the episode. Terry worries for his heart and breaks free, smashing a hole in the ceiling, exposing Inque to the rain, melting her.

Aaron ends up kept in the same facility he used to work in, where a lonely woman feeds him liquid food and rants about her day to him. Ah, sweet poetic justice.

Best Performance

Shannon Kenny was perfectly fine last time, but excels when asked to give Inque more personality. It’s delightful to hear her flip between toying with Aaron’s affections and finding him detestably dull, but she also brings the villain’s grudge towards Bruce and Terry to life with tremendous unhinged rage. A brilliant character given extra dimensions by a superb voice performance.

In a great get, William H. Macy played Aaron, which makes sense given his proclivity for sad sack characters. He’s perfectly fine, but I suppose he’d be going against his assignment if he’d outshone Inque.

Props to Kimmy Robertson for her brief but memorable cameo as Margo the motor mouth fixated on Aaron as he was on Inque. It’s pure Lucy from Twin Peaks, and in a lesser episode, she’d steal this category.

Ranking

Taking the show’s best villain and running it back for an even better spotlight episode is a sure-fire formula for success. Terry vs Inque is peak cartoon violence, thanks to his suit being established as sturdier than Bruce’s, and her semi-liquid physiology, allowing them to absolutely wail on each other without anybody getting really hurt. Seriously, he kicks a hole through her at one point!

It also helps that the show found its groove in the time since ‘Black Out’. Bruce guarding his reasons for stepping down from the role of Batman, his playful banter with Terry and finally trying his best to suit up and save his pupil are all fantastic uses of Old Man Wayne compared to the disappointing one or two line appearances he made until recently.

The central premise is great, with an incel creating a one-sided relationship with Inque, helping facilitate her recovery, only to be strung along by her and ultimately meeting a hideous, ironic fate. Do you need any of that when Inque already holds an intense grudge against our heroes and was an obvious candidate to make a return? No. Does it make for an even more compelling episode? Absolutely.

  1. Meltdown
  2. Disappearing Inque (NEW ENTRY)
  3. Spellbound
  4. A Touch of Curaré
  5. Shriek
  6. Rebirth Part I
  7. Black Out
  8. Rebirth Part II
  9. Dead Man’s Hand
  10. Heroes
  11. The Winning Edge
  12. Golem

Villain Watch

Inque (Shannon Kenny) (second appearance)

Already the coolest villain on the show, this second appearance infuses her with far more personality as she’s operating solo rather than as hired muscle for Derek Powers. Turns out she’s a bit of an irritable slob! Which is a somewhat unexpected direction to take a femme fatale assassin for hire with wacky shapeshifting powers, but not a bad one by any means. I loved her lazing about Aaron’s apartment and her hypocritical rage after he plays along with her ruse that they’re canoodling in an alley to fool the police.

There’s more of her badass power-set, as she stretches, slimes and slides around, kicking major ass. Seriously, at one point she was a banshee spider creature and even disguised herself as Batman. Last time she tried to drown Terry by pouring herself into his mouth, and this time she inverts the idea, pulling him inside her forcing him to absolutely blow her back out… not in a sex way. In a Clayface way.

Bonus points for outright inviting Bruce to try and fight her, and the horrifying condition she leaves Aaron in. This show has one(1) queen.

  1. Inque
  2. Mr. Freeze
  3. Shriek
  4. Spellbinder
  5. Curaré
  6. Derek Powers/Blight
  7. The Terrific Trio
  8. J-Man (and the Jokerz)
  9. The Royal Flush Gang
  10. Willie Watt
  11. Dr. Stephanie Lake
  12. Howard Hodges & General Norman
  13. Jackson Chappell
  14. Mr. Fixx

Plugs

Eager for more long-form coverage of Batman? Why not check out my podcast with Mike Thomas, The Tape Crusaders, which reviewed every Batman movie including Return of the Joker.

My other recap column, Marvel Mondays, concludes coverage of What If…? with a season review.

There Will Be Movies continues Ben & Matt’s look back at the 90s each Wednesday. This week we head to North Dakota for some quirky noir action in Fargo.

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Matt Waters

Brit dude who likes both things AND stuff and has delusions of being some kind of writer or something. Basketball, video games, comic books, films, music, other random stuff.

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