The Phantasm is the secret identity of Andrea Beaumont, a vigilante who would come to cross paths with the man she loved: the Batman.
Before The BatAndrea Beaumont was the daughter of Carl Beaumont, a successful businessman who found himself in debt to Gotham crime boss Salvatore Velestra. Unaware of the serious nature of her father's problems, Andrea would stumble into a chance meeting with young Bruce Wayne at her mother's gravesite while the future Batman was visiting his own parents' graves. The relationship quickly blossomed into something much more serious, and the subsequent emotions created feelings of doubt and guilt in Bruce. The son of Thomas and Martha Wayne had spent more than a decade on "the plan" which had prepared his body and mind for his imminent declaration of war on Gotham's underworld. But in all of his planning, Bruce had never counted on love and happiness. For the first time since his parents' death, Bruce found himself nearing an inner peace, and he proposed to Andrea Beaumont.
Unfortunately for Andrea and Bruce, Carl Beaumont's mob ties turned from sour to deadly. Fearing for his life, Carl forced Andrea into hiding with him. Knowing only that Andrea was leaving and would not return, Bruce fell into despair and threw himself back into "the plan" by becoming the Dark Knight.
Carl and Andrea attempted to disappear into anonymity, but they were soon found by Sal Velestra's chief hitman: a murderous thug who, years later, would become Batman's greatest enemy. Carl Beaumont was killed, with Andrea left alive to mourn him...and to plot her revenge. She covered up Carl's death, using his remaining money to establish a life for herself and acquire the weapons and equipment she would need to exact revenge on the men who ordered the death of her father.
Becoming the PhantasmThe Phantasm first appeared during Batman's bust of a gambling operation, causing the death of Chuckie Sol, one of Sal Velestra's old partners. Since the Phantasm had not actually been sighted publicly, it was strongly suspected that Batman had been the actual killer. Andrea Beaumont returned to Gotham soon afterward, contacting Arthur Reeves, an old friend who had carried a torch for her while she'd dated Bruce; Reeves had also been an assistant to her father. Returning to her mother's grave, she caught a glimpse of Batman watching her from behind Thomas and Martha Wayne's gravestone. Since it was at this very spot that they'd met, Andrea quickly realized that Bruce Wayne was the man behind the mask. The next of Velestra's old partners to fall victim to the Phantasm was Buzz Bronski, who was killed while visiting Chuckie Sol's gravesite. This time, Batman caught a glimpse of the murderous vigilante and began to suspect that the Phantasm was actually Andrea's father Carl. A fearful Sal Velestra turned to the Joker for help in protecting him from Batman, who was still the prime suspect in the mob killings. Joker later killed Velestra, using the dead mobster's grinning corpse as bait for the mystery vigilante, and discovered via video camera that Batman was not to blame at all. Realizing the motivation behind the Phantasm's murderous intentions, the Joker correctly guessed that Andrea, not Carl, was the Beaumont behind the killings; after all, it had been the Joker himself who had killed Carl Beaumont in his previous life as a common mob hitman.
After rescuing Batman from the police, Andrea moved against the Joker at the Clown Prince of Crime's hideout: the abandoned site of the old Gotham World's Fair. Batman discovered that Arthur Reeves had been the one who sold out Carl Beaumont to Sal Velestra in exchange for a payoff, and also realized that Velestra's old hitman was now the Joker. Phantasm and Batman argued over the Joker's fate, but both found themselves fighting for their lives against the Joker's booby-traps. After Batman subdued the Joker, an unmasked Andrea Beaumont disappeared with the Joker into a cloud of smoke as the fairgrounds exploded all around them.
But either through the circumstances of the explosion or perhaps simply a change of heart due to Bruce, Andrea Beaumont did not kill the Joker, who would soon reappear to plague Batman for years to come. Andrea herself disappeared once more, never again to contact Bruce Wayne.
Andrea's career as the Phantasm apparently continued, though the details of her later life were never clearly depicted. Decades after Andrea Beaumont's disappearance, Amanda Waller hired the Phantasm to assassinate the parents of Terry McGinnis, whose father's DNA had been cloned to match that of Bruce Wayne (making Terry, in essence, Bruce's biological son.) Waller hoped that the tragedy of such a loss at a young age would drive Terry to become an agent of justice as Bruce Wayne had before him. However, at the last minute, Andrea refused to go through with the job and angrily berated Waller for planning the attempt at all. Terry would later become Batman II through a different set of circumstances.
Since Waller had hand-picked the Phantasm for that particular step of "Project: Batman Beyond," it is entirely possible that Andrea Beaumont had spent at least part of her later years working under Waller, whether at Cadmus or simply as a covert agent.
Weapons and AbilitiesAs the Phantasm, Andrea outfits herself with a protective bodysuit that shields her from most minor impacts. She wields a special gauntlet on her right hand that is fitted with a razor sharp blade and a smoke dispenser which can provide cover for her movements. The Phantasm "death's-head" mask has a built-in voice changer and a breathing filter. Presumably, the eye lenses contain some sort of night vision, since she is able to move somewhat freely amongst her own cover smoke.
Andrea Beaumont is a normal human woman who has undergone extensive self-defense and martial arts training since her teens. She is an excellent athlete and is still an active mercenary/vigilante at a fairly late age, making it obvious that she's stayed in fighting shape over the years.
Behind the Scenes
Andrea Beaumont's first name was supposedly chosen because of Andrea Romano, who did the casting for the original Batman animated series and for this movie. Star Kevin Conroy, who voiced Batman, had flirted with Romano, leading to a relationship between Conroy's character and Romano's namesake.
The Phantasm is somewhat based on the DC Comics character The Reaper, who according to revised comics continuity was a former vigilante who had been active in Gotham City twenty years prior to the first appearance of Batman. The Reaper was not above killing criminals but had disappeared from the public eye until the Batman's early adventures brought him out of retirement. The comics story (Batman: Year Two) was more straightforward than the mystery of Mask of the Phantasm and had several major differences; among other things, the Reaper's alter ego actually is father of Bruce Wayne's love interest, and the secondary villain of the piece is Joe Chill, the killer of Thomas and Martha Wayne.
- "Epilogue" (Cameo in flashback)