"Disappearing Inque" is the eleventh episode of Batman Beyond. It depicts the return of Inque. After being turned down for a raise and fired by his boss at the cryogenics lab, Aaron Herbst becomes disgruntled and releases Inque from her icy prison. Having had to listen to him for months, Inque decides that he'll make a suitable partner for the time being and uses him to get the mutagenic chemicals she needs to heal herself and assume her human form again. After being healed, Inque captures Batman and tries to lure Bruce into her trap too. Now Inque has both Batmen to deal with.
Out at Gotham Cryogenics, a disgruntled employee, Aaron Herbst, walks in on Inque, trapped in a block of ice. He starts talking to Inque about his problems, including that he's been turned down for a raise, but then gets a call that his boss wants to see him. Just for luck, he kisses the ice holding Inque. However, his boss tells him that cameras have been monitoring his "conversations" with Inque, and he's being fired. In revenge, Aaron cuts off the power to Inque's cell, allowing the ice to melt and freeing her.
Being shown around the displays in the Batcave, Terry admires an exosuit on display next to the costumes, and asks about it. Bruce says he built it when he first started losing his strength and endurance to old age—the suit greatly increases both, but he soon realized that using it put too great a strain on his heart.
An alarm goes off alerting both men to Inque's escape, and a news report shows that she is holding employees at the cryogenics plant hostage. Remembering their last confrontation, Terry suits up and takes along Mr. Freeze's cold gun.
Inque releases the hostages but Batman notices that one of the officers is wearing a black coat. Deducing that this coat is actually Inque he attacks. However, the police start to fire on both Inque and Batman. Worse, Inque manages to destroy Mr. Freeze's gun and escapes.
In his apartment, Aaron watches a newscast about Inque's escape and chuckles. Inque also arrives, and as they talk, Aaron is surprised to learn that she's been able to see and hear him during her imprisonment. Aaron is initially embarrassed about going on and on about his problems, but Inque says she won't tell anyone if he helps her. Aaron eagerly says he'll do anything for her.
Meanwhile, as Terry reinforces the Batcave's stone superstructure with Plasti Steel, Bruce analyzes a sample of Inque's bio-residue and discovers that her human DNA has been damaged to the point of preventing her assuming of human form, probably from being frozen, and that this was the reason she posed as a black overcoat in her escape earlier. As Terry realizes that there wouldn't be many doctors or labs available that could provide what she needs, Bruce gives him a list of such places, a special electrified batarang in lieu of the loss of the freeze gun and sends him out.
That night, Inque and Aaron break into a chemical lab and steal the chemicals she needs. Before they can leave, Aaron asks for his reward: to be mutated into a shapeshifter like her. Inque agrees, but before she can make good on her promise, Batman arrives. Inque attacks him and manages to dodge his special batarang, leaving him with nothing. Batman continues to fight Inque but she easily gains the upper hand. However, after a failed attempt to drown him in her body, Inque is forced to release Batman when he activates his thrusters, breaking free long enough to grab the electric batarang. Inque is downed, but Aaron beats Batman and knocks him out with an industrial haptic feedback robotic arm and saves her. Inque wants Batman dead, but decides to wait until she can get "the old one too".
Inque and Aaron go to an abandoned sporting arena and Inque drinks the mutagen, healing herself. Meanwhile, restrained to a post of the center ring with chain, Batman has contacted Bruce and reveals information of where he has been taken. They continue to talk until Batman stops, causing Bruce to become worried. Inque has approached Batman and hears Bruce calling out to him through the communicator, discovering it's the old man from before Inque demands Batman to reveal their location, but he refuses to speak. Seeing that Batman refuses to talk, Inque instead reveals to Bruce they are at the Gotham Hills Arena and warns him to come alone or she threatens to kill Batman. Batman warns Bruce not to come, trying to reveal she would kill them, until he is prevented from revealing anymore information by Inque who forcibly kisses him. After the transmission she wonders who the old man is but drops the subject as she will soon find out and leaves. Aaron follows her once again demands his reward, and Inque injects him with the mutagen.
Bruce arrives at the Arena wearing a trench coat that seems unusually bulky on him, along with a hat, scarf, and sunglasses to conceal his face. As he walks through, he sees Aaron, who is now a shapeless, unstable blob: Aaron mumbles that Inque only gave him half the treatment—robbing him of his cohesion, but leaving him unable to shape-shift like her. There is nothing Bruce can do for him.
Looking past him, Bruce sees what looks like Terry, free, and comes closer. However, this Batman is actually Inque in disguise. As Terry watches, Inque snares Bruce with her arm, then begins twisting it to slowly crush him to death.
Then, armor plates snap shut over Bruce's body, and he bursts out of the trench coat. Terry is horrified to see that Bruce has donned the exosuit to fight Inque, despite the risk to his heart. In the armor, Bruce manages to send Inque flying into the far wall, but she attacks with a vengeance and throws him to the ground. As she advances, preparing to kill him, Aaron crawls between them, moaning, "You promised... you promised!" She sneers, "Loser!" and tries to swat him aside, but Aaron, enraged that he gave up everything for nothing, wraps his shapeless body around her. As she struggles to get free, she accidentally knocks down the center ring, allowing Batman to free himself. As she throws Aaron aside and advances on Bruce again, Terry throws a batarang at the glass ceiling, smashing it and letting in the rain. Inque begins to melt away. She lurches desperately towards the flask containing the remaining mutagen, but falls short and dissolves away into the drains.
Bruce recovers from the fight without ill effects.
In the last scene, Aaron has been recovered and thanks to Inque's deciet is rendered an invalid. With no hard tissues, he has no substantial locomotion and is kept in a simplified glass enclosure with a blanket, and can only eat liquid foods fed to him through a funnel. Now he is the one trapped with an annoying and cheery attendant, who tells him about all her problems and is likewise unaware that she too is being monitored, to prevent her from going down the same path as Aaron.
- This episode makes several references to "Black Out":
- Bruce gives Terry Mr. Freeze's gun before he goes after Inque, because that's how he had defeated her before.
- Inque destroys the gun and asks Terry "What are you going to do now?".
- Terry reminds Bruce that Inque had broken into the Batcave.
- Inque refers to the assignment given by Derek Powers to kill Batman.
- Inque asks Batman whether the man behind the radio was his "father or grandfather". In the Justice League Unlimited episode "Epilogue" it's revealed that Terry is Bruce's biological son. This is one of three foreshadowing remarks about their kinship (see also "Inqueling" and "The Call").
Home video releases
- Batman Beyond - Season One (DVD)
- Batman Beyond - The Complete Series (DVD)
- Batman Beyond – Tech Wars and Disappearing Inque (DVD)
- None of the Gotham City Police officers wear long overcoats, yet the one whom Inque attaches herself to is surprised when his outer garment suddenly comes to life, without having noticed the wrong garments earlier.
- Further confusing the viewer, the officer wearing the Inque-coat is shown to be African American in one scene, then in the next he's Caucasian, and then his racial rendering switches back to being African American.
- Terry is reinforcing the Batcave with a metalloid-alloy called Plasti Steel, which is described on its canister as being an "industrial bealant"; this is likely an animator's typo with "bealant" probably intended to have read as "sealant".
- Bruce gives Terry an electrical-discharge Batarang and indicates it is the best defensive device against Inque that he can construct on short notice. However, Terry had previously employed that type of Batarang in episode "Black Out" meaning he had such gadgetry in his suit's cache already.
- Inque's attempt to kill Batman by smothering him within her body was a tactic also used by Clayface in "Mudslide".
- When Bruce activates his armor a version of the Batman: The Animated Series leitmotif starts playing.
- At the end of the episode, Bruce looks at Inque and says, "Poor deluded fool". He could also be saying "diluted" which means to add water to a liquid to weaken it, but Terry looks at him in surprise, implying that he was playfully insulting Terry for underestimating him.
- Despite it being destroyed, Mr. Freeze's gun later reappears on display in the Batcave in future episodes. It's possible that Bruce rebuilt it after its destruction, or he may have kept a few of Mr. Freeze's old guns in the cave.
Aaron: Maybe you'd like to wash up, then?
Terry: Someday you're going to tell me the real reason why you stopped being Batman.
Terry: She can huff and puff all she wants but she's not going to blow this place down.
Bruce: You got away?
Bruce: (having just risked a heart attack to fight and defeat Inque) Now do you believe me about why I retired?