DC Animated Universe

"Spellbound" is the tenth episode of Batman Beyond. It depicts the first appearance of Spellbinder. Gotham City is overcome by a rash of strange crimes by seemingly normal people, each of whom claims to have experienced hallucinations after meeting a man dressed in a strange suit and a magic eye. Batman eventually meets up with this strange Spellbinder and discovers that even he isn't immune to his powers. Now Batman must try to discern fact from fiction while battling this strange enemy.


Chelsea returns home from a date with her boyfriend, Rick. When he asks if she's all right walking alone the last few feet to her door, she says nothing ever happens around their block.

Spellbinder mesmerizing

Spellbinder guides Chelsea.

Before reaching home, Chelsea notices a strange wind picking up and is approached by a man dressed in a strange costume. He tells her not to be afraid and shows her a large eye in his hand, inviting her to an "adventure". Chelsea stares into the eye and suddenly finds herself wandering through a jungle. She enters an ancient temple and picks up a small idol in the center. She then follows the strange man to a pool of lava and drops the statue down. In reality, she has entered her home, picked up a statue from her father's study, and dropped it off the riverbank outside her door. When her father confronts her, she snaps out of it and expresses confusion. Neither of them notice the man fly away with the statue in hand. The next day, Terry talks to his friend Jared and notices Commissioner Barbara Gordon walk by. He follows her and eavesdrops on a conversation between her and Ira Billings, the school psychologist.


Ira Billings, the counselor.

Billings says that, in his expert opinion, Chelsea commits acts like this to get attention, and her "mystery man" story is likely made-up as an excuse. Barbara accepts this explanation and leaves.

Terry is suspicious, but even Bruce doesn't see anything wrong, believing that it's just Chelsea's personal problems.

Night comes and the mysterious man picks off another victim, Mr. Deakins, an auction house manager. Mr. Deakins is hit by the power of the eye and soon after he knocks one of the security guards unconscious and locks himself inside. As the police arrive, and tend to the guard, Deakins drags a valuable dress (once belonging to Princess Audrey) up to the roof. In his mind, he's in the middle of a jungle war, dragging a wounded comrade to safety while trying to evade the enemy. On the roof, the mystery man is waiting, where Deakins sees his vehicle as a rescue helicopter. He loads the dress onto the craft. Batman arrives but Mr. Deakins sees him as an enemy soldier and attacks him, telling the "helicopter" to run for it. After a brief fight, Batman manages to knock Mr. Deakins into the wall, thereby snapping him out of his delusion. Mr. Deakins also expresses confusion.

Now that there have been two sightings of the same villain, whom the media dub "Spellbinder", the police re-open the case and Bruce realizes that he was wrong. Terry announces that he has a personal gathering to attend.

Borrowing some formal wear from the mansion, Terry goes to the wedding of Jared's mother, admiring the large jewels she's wearing. However, as the bride walks down the stairs, a magic eye concealed in a video camera hits her and she suddenly sees herself in a nest of gigantic insects. She runs in terror. Catching a glimpse of Spellbinder hiding in the crowd, Terry runs down to his motorcycle and pulls out the Batsuit.

In terror, Jared's mother jumps off the hotel balcony. Batman grabs her, but she sees him as an insect too and tries to escape him. Eventually, she sees even her jewelry as insects and tears them off, before falling onto the train tracks in the path of an oncoming train. Batman manages to save her but cannot stop Spellbinder from stealing the jewels.

Spellbinder craft

Spellbinder awaits for his loot outside Wayne Manor.

Spellbinder, however, isn't gone, and Batman takes off in pursuit. As he catches up to him, Spellbinder turns and zaps him with his magic eye. Terry sees himself on the top of a tall tropical waterfall and takes a high dive toward the pool below. In truth, he is falling towards the street. Fortunately, Bruce manages to snap him out of it before he hits the ground, though his escape is narrow and the suit is damaged in the process.

The next day, Billings expresses concern for Terry's mental health, given the recent loss of his father and the new stress caused by his job. He invites Terry to tell him about his experiences working for Bruce. Terry is a little reluctant but finally caves in.

That night, Bruce hears an intruder alarm sounding. He goes upstairs and finds Terry stealing valuables from his home. Terry sees himself as being a contestant on a shopping spree game show and even attacks Bruce when he tries to stop him. Bruce, however, snaps Terry out of it.

In the Batcave, Bruce reveals Spellbinder's true identity: Billings. All of the victims either had therapy with him, or had children who did, which is how Billings "cased" their houses. He does not suspect Terry's secret identity, but only used him to get access to Wayne Manor — which means that at that moment Spellbinder is waiting outside for him.

Terry confronts Spellbinder as Batman, but is hit by the magic eye. Things don't seem to alter, and he claims that he's okay but soon sees a pack of zombies crawl out of the ground and they attack. As the illusory zombies gang up on Batman, Spellbinder explains his motives for the crimes: Having gotten poor compensation for treating many of the students with connections to wealthy families, he decided to get what he believed he was entitled to and strike back at the rich, with Spellbinder also using the illusions to sneak attack Batman. Bruce watches through the suit's video link, but can see nothing, meaning the zombies are illusions. Spellbinder attacks Terry, practically invisible through the illusions. However, Bruce manages to help him evade the attacks.

Spellbinder unmasked

Caught and unmasked.

The images eventually fade and Batman sees Spellbinder standing just in front of a cliff. He runs after him but Bruce warns Terry that it's an illusion. Terry freezes, stopping just short of where the real cliff is. Spellbinder attacks from behind, but falls off the cliff himself after Batman evades the attack and captures him.

With the trouble ended, Bruce calls up Barbara and has her take Billings away, with Terry explaining how they caught him, while keeping the fact that he did it as Batman a secret. Barbara questions Terry and though she doesn't let on, she knows his secret.


Background information[]

Home video releases[]

Production notes[]

  • The original version of Spellbinder in Bob Goodman's script for "Spellbound" was much different than the one that eventually appeared on screen. "In the script he was described as being dressed like an old magician with a top hat and cape and everything," noted Bruce Timm. "I thought that didn't work. Glen and I spent the better part of a day just throwing ideas back and forth and sketching out ideas for his look." Ironically, the two were unaware of the pre-existing DC character of the same name. Timm further remarked "the very next day, one of our artists brought in this comic from the '60s that had Spellbinder in it. He showed us a drawing of him, and it was exactly what we drew, even the same color scheme."[1]

Production inconsistencies[]

  • When Spellbound comes up to Chelsea, he shows her his "eyeball" with his left hand, which has an orange glove, but in the next shot the glove is black. Moreover, his "eyeball" is later shown to be built in on his right glove, not his left one.
  • When Barbara Gordon is interrogating Ira Billings, his chair changes from a large office chair to a backless one, and then to an office chair again in-between shots.
  • The lapels on Dick Grayson's suit coat disappear when Terry is wearing it.
  • When Terry is entering Ira's office, the sign on the door is missing an "i", misspelling the name "Billngs".
  • When Bruce is analyzing the possible connections between Spellbinder's victims, he pulls up pictures of three victims: Chelsea, Mr. Deakins and Jim. However, only the first two had been mesmerized, Jim wasn't. So, the line up should either have shown the actual ensorcelled victims (Chelsea, Mr. Deakins and Lorraine) or Ira Billings' patients (Chelsea, Carey Deakins and Jim).
  • When Ira is arrested and taken away in the police car, he is wearing glasses. However, when Terry unmasked him only moments earlier he had none. His suit also doesn't appear to have pockets where he could have kept them.
  • Ira's last name is spelled "Billings" on his office door. Bruce later pronounces it likewise, but in the closing credits, it is misspelled "Billing".
  • When Terry returns to the Batcave after Spellbinder makes him hallucinate a waterfall, he tells Bruce he could smell the water. This would be impossible, as water is odorless.


  • Chelsea's fantasy is an obvious homage to the opening scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
  • When Terry is ensorcelled and ransacking Wayne Manor, he hallucinates being on a game show called "Supermarket Spree". This lampoons Supermarket Sweep, a very popular cable game show that ran from 1991 till 2005
  • Mr. Deakins' dream setting seems to have resemblance to the Vietnam War due to the uniforms worn and a Bell UH-1 Iroquois helicopter being seen.


Actor Role
Will Friedle Terry McGinnis / Batman
Kevin Conroy Bruce Wayne
Jon Cypher Dr. Ira Billing / Spellbinder
Stockard Channing Commissioner Barbara Gordon
Yvette Lowenthal Chelsea Cunningham
Sam McMurray Mr. Cunningham
Omar Gooding Jared Tate
Vernee Watson-Johnson Lorraine Tate
Dorian Harewood Jim Tate
Bodyguard (uncredited)
Andrew Bowen Rick
Richard Sanders Mr. Deakins


Terry: Guess you're the expert on troubled kids. You collect them, right?

Terry: Wayne, you alive?
Bruce: Very funny.

Terry: It's over, Billings! I know who you are!
Spellbinder: Well, I'm glad that makes you feel superior, but you haven't caught me yet.

Spellbinder: For years, I fought the demons in the heads of those ungrateful little snots! While their coddling parents paid their garbage men more than me! Now I'm taking what I've earned!

  1. "Batman Beyond First Season Episode Guide" by Dennis Fischer - AnimeFantastique vol. 1 No. 4 (Winter 1999).