Discovering Batman's secret identity
Hugo Strange had developed a machine that allowed him to read people's thoughts. He used it to his advantage by learning their darkest secrets. One of his victims was Judge Maria Vargas, who had caused an accident when she was a child which resulted in a big fire. When Batman found her with two of Strange's goons who were there to collect the blackmailed money in exchange for keeping her secret by handing over the videocassette, he went to investigate as Bruce Wayne.
During a theory session, Strange had hooked up Bruce to his machine, and discovered that he was Batman. Rather than use Bruce's secret to blackmail him, Strange instead contacted the Joker, Two-Face and the Penguin to auction a tape revealing the secret. However, Bruce made a false recording of Strange going on about how he would use the machine to con the supervillains, and then destroyed the mind-invading device. The destruction was noticed by Strange, but not the altered video. Strange remarked how a lifetime of work was ruined with the destroyed machine, but then calmly remarked "No matter", arguably not upset in anticipation of the tremendous amount of money he stood to make. When the villains saw Strange's modified video, they furiously turned on him. Strange tried to escape in a plane, grabbing as much cash as he could, but the villains beat him to the punch. Strange told them Batman is Bruce Wayne, but that was ironically dismissed by Two-Face, who remarked he was a friend of Bruce Wayne and found such a claim ludicrous. Batman eventually stopped the villains, but Strange still believed that he had won as he could tell the world Batman's secret identity. While Batman restrained Strange, Bruce Wayne then appeared, causing Strange to rethink his mind-reading was wrong, and people would not believe him seeing both Batman together with Bruce Wayne. He was later delivered to the police. In private, Batman commended "Bruce Wayne", who was actually Dick Grayson in disguise.
Recruited by Cadmus
During the initial running of Batman: The Animated Series, writer Michael Reaves originally wrote an episode sequel to "The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne", entitled "Mind Games". In the episode, Strange was to wipe out the memories of Batman, Robin and Alfred Pennyworth of their crime fighting lives, allowing for the villains to go on a crime spree. The episode would have had culminated with Strange being lobotomized. However, as Strange was an especially popular character on the show, the episode was never produced.
Coincidentally, a similar premise was written for the 3-part finale of The Batman Adventures tie-in comic series. Running from issues 34-36, the story involved Hugo Strange creating a weapon to wipe out his memories of a traumatic night wherein one of Rupert Thorne's men shot and killed his son David in front of his eyes. In the process of developing the weapon, Hugo accidentally erases Bruce's memory of his life as Batman starting from his parent's deaths.
According to Dwayne McDuffie, Hugo Strange's cameo in the Justice League Unlimited episode "The Doomsday Sanction" was a set up for a later appearance (presumably the interrogation scene with the Question in "Question Authority"). But because of the Bat-embargo, the character became off-limits so Doctor Moon was used instead.
- "The Doomsday Sanction" (Cameo)
- Wise, David (story) & Reeves-Stevens, Judith, Reeves-Stevens, Garfield (teleplay) & Paur, Frank (director) (October 29, 1992). "The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne". Batman: The Animated Series. Season 1. Episode 29 (airdate). Episode 37 (production). FOX Kids.
- McDuffie, Dwayne (story) & Goodman, Robert (teleplay) & Riba, Dan (director) (February 19, 2005). "The Doomsday Sanction". Justice League Unlimited. Season 1. Episode 16 (airdate). Episode 16 (production). Cartoon Network.
- "Mind Games" at MichaelReaves.com
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