DC Animated Universe

You may also be looking for the supervillain Shriek.

"Shriek" is the seventh episode of Batman Beyond. It depicts the birth of the villain Shriek. After failing to impress Derek Powers with his new sound suit, Walter Shreeve takes an assignment to kill Bruce Wayne, who is currently working to prevent Powers from decimating Crime Alley. However, after Batman prevents Bruce's death and exposes him to the police, Shreeve goes crazy and becomes the villain Shriek. Meanwhile, Bruce is hospitalized so Terry must now stop this new villain on his own.


Derek Powers sits alone in a dark room while listening to a presentation from acoustician Walter Shreeve, who explains that sound is the first warning of danger and is under-appreciated. Just after that, Powers hears the sound of a locomotive racing towards him and stares into its headlight. Just as he screams in panic, the illusion ends and Shreeve points out that it was only to prove his point. At first, Powers is angry at the mediocre demonstration. However, Shreeve shows his financial benefactor the real reason for his visit, this being the invention of a profound acoustical amplification/manipulation suit capable of easily destroying solid objects through use of focused infrasonic frequencies. Shreeve expresses his desire to use this suit to revolutionise the construction industry, but Powers is still unimpressed. Seeking though to make use of Shreeve Sound Laboratories' research & development which has been made possible by Wayne-Powers funding, Powers conceives a specific use for the young scientist's cyclopean sonic-suit: he propositions Shreeve to eliminate the elderly Bruce Wayne.

Bruce before council

Bruce speaks before the Wayne-Powers board of directors.

Later, Bruce makes a speech to his board of directors expressing his disgust with Powers' idea to tear up Crime Alley, now known as Gotham's Historical District due to being left unchanged from the city's development and build an industrial complex. He proposes that they hold a stockholders' meeting for a vote. The proposal is quickly seconded and Powers has no choice but to allow the meeting to take place. Nevertheless, he's sure that his plan will succeed.

Bruce meets up with Terry and takes him to Crime Alley, where he explains why he's fighting so hard to keep the place preserved: it includes the theater where his parents were killed. The city council is trying to preserve the area, "but you know what it's like getting extra tax money." Terry is confused as to why Bruce would want to keep that particular memory alive when he could easily allow the area to be torn down and forget it, but Bruce quietly compares it to Terry forgetting the memory of what happened to his father.[1] As Bruce reminisces, Ace starts acting strangely. Terry goes up to check on him while Bruce continues to wander, arriving at the old Gotham Police Department headquarters. When he gets near what was once Commissioner Gordon's office, however, the building begins to shake; having been clued in by Ace's growling at the GPD, Batman arrives to assist him. Bruce notes that it's not an earthquake when Shreeve enters in his sonic-suit and starts attacking with sound blasts powerful enough to tear up the floor which severely damages the old building. Getting Bruce and himself out of the way of several attacks, Batman tries to engage Shreeve away from Bruce, but when Shreeve shows he's only interested in harming Bruce, Batman damages Shreeve's right hand sound generator with a Batarang. The sparking and arcing unit hurts Shreeve and forces him to eject it; the distraction allows Batman to retrieve it, grab Bruce and run out of the GPD before it completely collapses. Batman and Shreeve are okay, but Bruce faints from the exertion.

Terry takes Bruce to the hospital and the old man gives the staff a horrible time. He fumes over the fact that he has to stay there overnight and is skeptical of Terry's ability to deduce the identity of the attacker on his own.

Bruce Voices

Bruce starts to hear the voices.

Back at Wayne-Powers, Powers is displeased that Bruce is alive and now guarded in the hospital. However, Shreeve believes he can still get to his target. Bruce suddenly starts hearing a voice claiming that there's something he must do. The voices order him to go to the window and open it. The voice indirectly encourages him to jump from the window, which would cause him to fall to his death. Bruce screams and alerts the staff but they cannot hear the voices. When Bruce tries to force his way out of the room, the orderlies come and sedate him.

Meanwhile, Terry manages to get the Batcomputer to complete an analysis of the sound generator from Shreeve's suit and discovers it to be comprised of acoustium, an alloy developed by Shreeve Sound Laboratories. With this lead, he disguises himself as a misdirected pizza delivery boy and cons his way into Shreeve's lab with free pizza. Shreeve shows Terry some of his inventions such as a miniature radio receiver and transmitter and device to cancel out sound. However, when Terry asks about sound vibrations, Shreeve becomes suspicious and attacks him. Terry manages to escape and the police learn of Shreeve. Terry rushes back to the hospital to inform Bruce, but the nurse informs him that he has been transferred to the psycho ward, apparently on Powers' advice and under Powers' care. A bitter exchange between Terry and Powers leads to a brief physical altercation, but the orderlies subdue Terry. Powers brushes him off with a threat to commit him as well before returning to his office.

Looking for revenge, Shreeve prepares to kill Powers, who casually talks him out of it, telling him that he now has real power, and is dangerous. He renames him "Shriek", who decides to find a use for his newfound power. Powers then reminds him that he still wants Bruce killed and if Batman intervenes, Shriek should kill him as well.

Batman pays a visit to Bruce in the psycho ward and discovers the source of the voices: one of Shreeve's miniature radios hidden in Bruce's bandage. He apparently bribed a nurse to place it there. Together, the two leave the hospital and trace the signal back to Shriek. Batman finds him in a car factory and the two start to fight. Shriek has the advantage with his formidable sonic blasts and Batman attempts to hide. Shriek's suit artificially allows him advanced auditory abilities and he is able to locate Batman with the sound of a screw dropping. Desperate to neutralize this advantage, Batman turns on the factory's machinery, causing a concert of noise. Shriek, however, reveals another of his sonic-suit's acoustic abilities: the projection of a dampening field that cancels out all ambient sound waves (for Batman as well as himself), after which he isolates and amplifies the echo of Batman's footsteps from a distance.


Shriek realizes he has lost his hearing.

Batman is pursued out of the factory in eerily complete silence, nearly getting killed not only by Shriek, but a series of dangers that he's unable to detect without sound. However, as the cancelled sound waves are apparently only the ones within human hearing range, Ace is still able to hear and Bruce unleashes him; the canine saves Terry from being hit by a truck. Just as Shriek finds them, Batman once again damages his right-hand sound generator with a Batarang, causing the dampening field to suddenly cut out and Shriek's ears are overwhelmed by the various sounds of the city which are collectively amplified exponentially by his sonic-suit. Screaming in pain, Shreeve collapses and receives a shock when Batman removes his helmet: he has gone deaf.

With the trouble over, Bruce appears at the stockholders' meeting opposite Powers. They explain their relative positions and ask the stockholders to vote. The vast majority votes "Nay" and the motion is defeated.

As everyone disperses, Terry expresses his hopes that Shreeve will eventually decide to testify against Powers. Bruce answers that he might if his hearing returns (if it ever does). Terry then asks Bruce why he didn't think the voices were coming from his head. He gives two reasons: First, Bruce knows he is not psychotic. Second, to which Terry hopes is more convincing, the "voice" was calling him Bruce, but that's not what he calls himself. Eventually realizing what he means, Terry asserts "that it is his name now". Bruce sarcastically remarks, "Tell that to my subconscious".


  • Derek Powers' plans to demolish Crime Alley in order to make way to a new industrial complex were previously developed by businessman Roland Daggett in the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Appointment in Crime Alley".
  • Shriek next appears in the episode "Babel" in which it is revealed that he has adapted his suit to allow him to hear while wearing it, but his deafness otherwise remains. This episode also sets up the reason for Shriek's agenda: revenge on Batman.
  • It is explained why Bruce never refers to Terry as "Batman" during his investigations. However, Bruce later does once in the episode "Ascension", mainly because he is publicly saved by Terry from Blight, albeit with slight hesitation.

Background information[]

Production notes[]

  • Shriek was designed by Glen Murakami and placed in the shows villain file until Alan Burnett pitched an episode idea recalling an old Bruce Timm pitch from a brainstorming session years earlier. "I mentioned to him that I wanted to do a show where the climax was silent, that we had a villain whose powers were controlling sound." After Burnett's pitch, Stan Berkowitz came up with the villain Shriek, and the character was paired with the design.[2]
  • In the DVD commentary, Bruce Timm says that BS&P wouldn't allow them to have Shriek explicitly tell Bruce to jump out of the window of the hospital.

Production Inconsistencies[]

  • When Barbara is on the phone with Bruce at the end, her blue eyes turn black, then back to blue.


  • This episode marks the first time Ace helps Batman.
  • The only episode after "Rebirth, Part I" to feature Derek Powers without showing any sign of his Blight persona.
  • The car that Terry is driving resembles the Batmobile from Batman: The Animated Series.
  • When Shriek is revealed to have gone deaf, there was a high-pitched ringing tone in scenes shot from his point of view, implying that he had actually acquired tinnitus as a result of the malfunction of his suit.
  • A wanted poster featuring The New Batman Adventures model of Joker can be seen on a wall in the old police headquarters building, marking the last time that model would be used before the character's redesign in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker.


Actor Role
Will Friedle Terry McGinnis / Batman
Kevin Conroy Bruce Wayne
Sherman Howard Derek Powers
Chris Mulkey Walter Shreeve / Shriek
Ian Patrick Williams Andrews
Lauri Johnson Nurse
Gregg Berger Computer


Bruce: That theatre: it was where my parents and I went the night they were...
Terry: I think you'd want it torn down, so after all these years you could finally forget.
Bruce: Do you want to forget what happened to your father?

Powers: You should know something about the psycho ward here: there's always room for one more!

(Shriek prepares to kill Powers)
Powers: That's not going to help.
Shriek: No, but it'll make me feel better.
Powers: You should be feeling fine anyway.
Shriek: And why is that?
Powers: Because your costume gives you power. Real power. Ever had that before?
Shriek: No. Not really.
Powers: It's no small thing. Trust me.
Shriek: But I can't show my face anymore! Or use my name!
Powers: The face is no loss, and if you miss your name, I'll give you another one. One that fits your new persona... "Shriek".

Bruce: The voice kept calling me "Bruce". In my mind, that's not what I call myself.
Terry: What do you call yourself?... Oh yeah, I suppose you would. (lowers voice) But that's my name now.
Bruce: (amused grunt and smiles) Tell that to my subconscious.


  1. Burnett, Alan, Dini, Paul (writers) & Geda, Curt (director) (January 10, 1999). "Rebirth, Part I". Batman Beyond. Season 1. Episode 1 (airdate). Episode 1 (production). Kids WB!.
  2. "Batman Beyond First Season Episode Guide" by Dennis Fischer - AnimeFantastique vol. 1 No. 4 (Winter 1999)#