"Chill of the Night!" is the eleventh episode of the second season of Batman: The Brave and the Bold.
Batman is pitted against the villainous Abra Kadabra, who attempts to plunder a museum exhibit showcasing the props used by some of the most famous magicians in history, such as Harry Houdini. As Kadabra gloats that the valuable props are his, Batman arrives, pummeling the criminal with his fist. Kadabra, however, struggles to his feet, boasting that the Caped Crusader's antics are no match for his magic skills. Batman counters that he has bought an assistant: the famed Zatanna. After taking a quick bow to the stunned museum audience, Zatanna orders Kadabra to surrender, lest she repeat the warning backwards into a spell. Kadabra notes her backwards spells, but uses one of his own: Abra Kadabra. With that, the villain releases a bolt of green energy at Zatanna, and Batman is forced to save her by tackling his fellow hero to the floor in order to dodge the mystic blast. The green energy strikes the museum door instead, producing three doves out of thin air but doing little damage. Zatanna retaliates by casting one of her own spells, ordering a wardrobe behind Abra Kadabra to open and release iron manacles to bind the villain. However, Kadabra breaks free using a laser in his gimmicked wand. He then casts a spell over several museum staff and bystanders, turning them into his mindless puppets and ordering them to attack the heroes.
Zatanna rushes forward to shout one of her spells, but Abra Kadabra seals her mouth with a purple handkerchief to prevent her from using her powers. Batman is thus left alone to battle the mindless citizens turned helpless drones. Although he knocks down seven of the zombified tourists with a well-aimed batarang, and battles the others with his fists, they soon overpower the Dark Knight and chain him up by his legs from the ceiling. Kadabra causes a large tank of water to appear under Batman, and begins lowering him into it. However, Batman breaks free using a lockpick concealed in his glove. Upon doing so, he knocks Abra Kadabra's wand from his hand, causing it to land at Zatanna's feet. She seizes the opportunity, freeing her mouth with the wand and then snapping it in half. With the wand's power broken, the citizens under Kadabra's spell return to normal. Upon seeing this, the dismayed Kadabra flees past an infamous iron maiden and towards the exit, only to have Zatanna cast a spell that causes a whirlwind to suck the villain into her hat. The result: A temporarily miniaturized Abra Kadabra inside a tiny cage. Looking on in wonder, Batman remarks that he has had to train for years to fight crime, and yet all Zatanna has to master is talking backwards.
The Phantom Stranger and the Spectre are in space reviewing the life of Batman. Their flashback shows them who Batman is and how he came to be: One fateful night, after viewing the film "The Mark of Zorro", physician Thomas Wayne, his wife Martha, and their son Bruce were walking home through an alley. Bruce recounts how he was skeptical at first, but the movie turned out well after all. He and his father have a brief conversation about Bruce becoming Zorro when he grows into an adult, but Martha Wayne is worried about Thomas encouraging his son, fearing he will have nightmares about the action and violence of the film at night.
Suddenly, the happy family is confronted by an armed mugger. Thomas stands in front of Bruce to protect him as the man draws out a revolver. He demands Martha's necklace, but the enraged Thomas charges the thug instead, and is subsequently shot dead. As Martha rushes to his aid, a second shot is fired, claiming her life as well. That night, the young Bruce Wayne, alone with only the Wayne butler, Alfred Pennyworth, swears a solemn vow to avenge his parents' deaths by spending the rest of his life warring on all crime. Over a period of years, Bruce works hard to fulfill his promise by training his body to incredible physical feats. He discovers a cave of bats under Wayne Manor, learned skills, became an expert chemist, and fashioned his first weapons for his crusade.
When Bruce Wayne deemed himself ready, he donned a costume inspired by a bat to strike fear into the hearts of criminals, becoming the Batman and begins getting trained by the Justice Society of America and trains Robin.
Having reviewed the life story of Batman, the Spectre and the Phantom Stranger look on at a set of scales helping to better illustrate Batman's life: One side of the scales, marked "Justice" is weighing model figures of Batman, the Flash, Black Canary, Aquaman, Red Tornado, Dr. Fate, Blue Beetle, and Green Arrow, while the other side of the scales, marked "Vengeance" is balancing model figures of some of Earth's worst supervillains, including Two-Face, Gentleman Ghost, Solomon Grundy, the Penguin, Gorilla Grodd, and the intergalactic criminal Wotan. The Phantom Stranger notes that Batman, a mere ordinary mortal, became the greatest champion for the cause of Justice. The Spectre, however, disagrees. He believes that there is no Justice without vengeance, since a "slap on the wrist" is only an invitation for evil to continue. The Phantom Stranger notes that without his strict moral code, Batman would be very alike to the Spectre, dispensing fatal punishment without mercy, and becoming as dark as the villains he battles. Both discuss the mutual knowledge that Batman's darkest hour is at hand, since he will soon confront his parents' killer. The Spectre predicts that Batman will deliver the final stroke...of vengeance, by retaliating against (and murdering) the man who took his family from him. The Phantom Stranger predicts that Batman will adhere to his srict moral code. The two agree to wager on it, with the Spectre hoping to eventually put Batman under his personal control, turning him into another Spectre-like figure who targets and destroys those who deserve punishment without mercy. As the two figures conclude their meeting, Batman poses as a chaplain administering the final confessions for dying underworld figure Lew Moxon. Entering the hospital and bypassing Moxon's bodyguard in his disguise, Batman enters the old gangster's room, and Moxon admits to some of the things he has felt bad about over the course of his life. He also confesses that he had ordered the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne, due to the fact that he had been thrown into Blackgate Penitentiary because of a past event involving the young doctor. Moxon regrets the murder of Martha Wayne, something that was not part of the original plan. Batman demands the name of Moxon's hired killer several times, but Lew avoids the question. Finally, with his dying breath, he gasps out a single word: "Chill". Leaving by the back entrance, Batman discards his clergyman's disguise and prepares to reopen the Wayne murder case.
Batman hurries to the Tiki Tavern, a shady nightclub in downtown Gotham City. Here, a meeting of several notorious ganglords headed up by the flower-themed criminal Louie the Lilac and a former henchman of Lew Moxon hold a memorial toast for the deceased mobster. Batman crashes the meeting violently, landing directly on the dinner table and scattering customers and criminals everywhere. Batman seizes the former henchman of Lew Moxon and demands information about the Wayne murders. The henchman insists that he was still in reform school when the killings happened and they were so long ago that most of Moxon's current associates cannot recall them. Louie the Lilac and the other gangsters, along with several villains then attack Batman, resulting in a chaotic barroom brawl. After beating the criminals senseless on the floor, Batman turns away, having no more interest in the small fry. He turns his attention back to his original target, and holds the man by his tie over a vat of boiling water, intending to force more information out of him. When it becomes obvious the henchman knows no more, the Phantom Stranger appears to Batman, reminding him to restrain himself. The Stranger is not put off by an unusually frosty and rude reception by the Caped Crusader, instead voicing his opinion that Batman is conducting his latest investigation in a most alarming manner.
The Phantom Stranger then takes Batman back in time, offering him an insight into his parents' demise. The two go back over three decades to a costume party held in a lavish ballroom. A poster over the doorway is marked: "3rd Annual Charity Gala. Tonight's theme: Winged Creatures!" The Stranger and Batman notice many guests milling about, dressed as winged creatures, including bees, eagles, moths, crows, and dragonflies. Batman is at first mildly annoyed, seeing no meaning in their current setting. Because at a costume ball, few guests take notice of their strange appearances. Batman then turns and sees a couple strolling into the room: Thomas and Martha Wayne.
Stunned and taken aback at the sight of his long-dead parents, the shaken Batman examines their costumes from a distance, resisting the urge to run to them and greet them. Martha is dressed as a butterfly, and Thomas as...a bat, complete with a gray and blue costume, cowl, and a yellow belt strongly resembling Batman's utility belt. Batman notes the odd costume and observes to the Phantom Stranger that he vaguely remembers the outfit when he designed his own disguise for his war on crime. The Stranger gives one final reminder that as a visitor to time long passed, there is nothing he can do to alter any part of history, including his parents' unfortunate fates. He then remarks that Batman's creativity on his costume has not gone unnoticed, and walks away, vanishing into the crowd of guests.
Batman turns aside, and much to his surprise, sees his very parents approaching him. Thomas Wayne unknowingly approaches his own son, noting with surprise the similarity in their costumes. He shakes hands with Batman, who introduces himself by his most common alias, Matthew "Matches" Malone. Thomas Wayne likewise introduces himself and his wife. Batman embraces her for the first time in over thirty years, and is sobered by the thought. Suddenly, Batman's reunion with his beloved parents is interrupted as Lew Moxon and his gang of mobsters crash the costume party, intent on raiding the charity donations box. Both Batman and his father instinctively order the thugs as they hold the other guests and gunpoint and grab the charity box, to keep their hands off. The team of father and son beat back Moxon's henchmen, but the remaining gangster quickly seizes Martha Wayne, holding her at gunpoint. Even though the man is wearing a mask, Batman peers into his cold blue eyes, recognizing them as those of his parents' killer. Lew Moxon then orders everyone to stay back, since it is fruitless getting hurt over money they were just going to give away anyway. But Batman and Thomas Wayne grab two turkey knives from a nearby poultry tray and hurl them into the ropes holding a giant model bat to the ceiling. The gigantic bat knocks Lew Moxon directly under it and pins him down, but the gunman who had been threatening Martha Wayne makes his getaway.
As Thomas rushes to help his dazed wife, Batman realizes that his parents' future killer is escaping, so he chases the man out of the ballroom and down the passageway. Unfortunately, he soon comes to a crashing halt when his quarry vanishes, followed by the room around him, until he is left standing in empty darkness. The Spectre then approaches him, informing him that that moment has long passed. Batman is angry interrupted with his greatest sworn enemy inches from his grasp, and demands to know what Spectre's interest is in the Wayne murder case. He deduces that at the costume ball, he had finally uncovered the motive for his parents' murder. Since Thomas Wayne thwarted his attempted robbery and sent him to prison, Moxon decided to get revenge later in life—by ordering one of his men to murder Wayne and his family. But Batman knows he is missing the most crucial part of the puzzle in his investigation....the identity and name of the man who pulled the trigger. He also turns on the Spectre, easily coming to the conclusion that the Spectre, as the spirit of vengeance, has already found out the name of the murderer. In response, the Spectre turns to leave without another word. Batman is incensed, and when he shouts at the eternal punisher, the Spectre transports Batman back into the past again, this time to a visitor room in Blackgate Penitentiary. A handcuffed Lew Moxon is seated in a chair, apparently awaiting a visitor. The warden of Blackgate lets in the visitor, naming him as "Chill", which Batman recalls as being Moxon's last word—the name of the gunman that killed his parents!
Moxon, meanwhile, is furious at Chill, voicing his disgust for his thug after he had fled the costume ball after the thwarted robbery, leaving his boss behind to face arrest and imprisonment. Chill apologizes, but Moxon vows to make him even sorrier, since he holds Chill partially responsible for his capture. Chill shifts the blame to Thomas Wayne, offering to help Moxon get revenge. The gunman promises to make sure that Wayne suffers...along with his entire family. Moxon thinks about it, then gives his permission, ordering Chill to make the murder look like an accident. Batman is even more enraged by what he sees, since Chill and Moxon signed away his parents' lives, without remorse, not even blinking an eye.
The Spectre is pleased at Batman's anger, and at the Dark Knight's request, he transports the hero to the Batcave. Batman then strides over to the Batcomputer, where he enters the keyword "Chill". The computer soon comes up with all available information on Joe Chill, small-time criminal in Gotham City. Batman at last has a name to go with the features he'd memorized from the man who shot down his family in cold blood. The Spectre views the Batcomputer's results; he asks Batman what he will do with the knowledge he has gained. Batman himself is uncertain, but promises one thing: The Wayne Murder Case will conclude before dawn.
Leaving the Spectre behind in the Batcave, Batman drives across Gotham in the Batmobile. The car's built-in computer feeds out more information on Joe Chill, reporting his current whereabouts and criminal operations. As it turns out, Chill is now a shady arms dealer who sells high-tech weaponry to Gotham City's villains on the black market. He operates out of an abandoned warehouse in the city's industrial section.
Meanwhile, Chill is setting up his latest sale. Within the unused warehouse, several costumed villains are in attendance, including the Joker, the Penguin, Two-Face, Poison Ivy, the Mad Hatter, Solomon Grundy, and Mr. Freeze. Poison Ivy has also bought along three of her henchmen to ensure no trouble erupts. As the villainous auction crowd awaits the beginning of the sale, Joe Chill, dressed in a dark suit, takes up his post on a small, makeshift, wooden stage. Displayed on a desk upon the stage is an odd-looking gun. Chill begins his sales pitch, introducing his latest item up for auction as the 'Sonic Disrupter', capable of emitting a sound-generated pulse so strong that it vaporizes anything it is fired at. After modeling the weapon, Chill asks for his first bid. However, the villains display no real interest in it, and an awkward silence follows. Chill, however, quickly revives their interest by firing the Sonic Disrupter into an armored truck, blowing it to pieces in a fiery explosion. He then turns back to his auction audience and reminds them that if the weapon can cause that much destruction an armored truck, they can only imagine what it would do to Batman. As the villains turn to reconsider the Sonic Disrupter, Poison Ivy makes up her mind and bids ten thousand dollars. She is soon topped by Two-Face, who places a bid of fifteen thousand. The Joker then makes an offer of "two bids". As the other villains and Chill stare at the Clown Prince of Crime in surprise, the smirking Joker explains he was just trying to lighten the mood.
As the villains are preoccupied with this, Batman throws a giant smoke bomb into the warehouse through the skylight, and it bounces to the Mad Hatter's feet, landing directly behind Two-Face and Mr. Freeze. The smoke bomb explodes, leaving all of the crowd coughing and coking in anger and surprise. The Joker is the only one to remain calm, insisting that the bomb was not one of his gags. As the villain dashes through the smoke, he is confronted by Batman, who sends him flying with his fist. Poison Ivy orders her henchmen into the smoke to battle the Caped Crusader, but they all go down as his fists crash among them, leaving the villains alone on the field. Two more smoke bombs bouncing off the Penguin's chest incapacitate most of the remaining criminals. Through the smoke, Batman takes out the villains one by one, first reaching out of the smoke and dragging the Mad Hatter down, followed quickly by Two-Face. Stumbling blindly in the smoke, Poison Ivy is easily subdued and knocked unconscious. Seeing her fall, Mr. Freeze makes the mistake of panicking and forgetting watch his back, and although he fires his ice gun at Batman, the blast misses and Freeze is the next to go down. As Solomon Grundy is targeted next and falls crashing to the floor, Joe Chill realizes that the battle has already been lost; his potential bidders have been defeated and the building is Batman's. In blind desperation, Chill flees through the smoke created by Batman's bombs and ironically, away from the exit. Batman closes in on him as Chill runs to the door of his office, only to have the terrified man find it locked. With the strength of a madman, Chill forces his way inside and latches the door from the inside, but Batman crashes into the room through a large window. Joe Chill is now horrified at the sight of the Dark Knight Detective, but a well-aimed batarang thrown into the door prevents him from unlatching it and fleeing back into the warehouse again. Batman finally approaches the cornered Chill, and the two see face to face for the first time in over thirty years.
Chill is armed with a revolver, but Batman easily disarms him and the gun clatters to the floor. Hurling Chill over his office desk and into a corner, Batman approaches him and confronts him with the knowedge of his murder of the Waynes. He states that Chill murdered them in cold blood, without mercy or regret. Chill is shocked that Batman knows about the Wayne murder case, of all the crimes he has perpetrated over his lifetime, but Batman reveals that he possesses this knowledge because he was there. He is the son of the people that Chill murdered: Bruce Wayne. In a fit of anger, Batman pulls off his mask for Chill, revealing his secret identity. In that moment before the unmasked Batman, Chill realizes all of his secrets and also how he indirectly caused them. The shocked Chill rushes at Bruce, intending to overpower him, but Wayne defends himself and hammers blow after blow into Chill, venting his anger. After pounding and battering Chill into submission and beating him down nearly senseless on the floor, Bruce has him at his mercy. It is here he reaches the decisive moment in this encounter.
The Phantom Stranger appears alongside Wayne, reminding him that Joe Chill has been beaten and the man who is Batman must let his devotion to Justice temper his rage. The Spectre then also appears to Wayne, reminding him that Chill took his parents, and ruined any chance he might have had to lead a normal life. He also observes that Chill now knows who Batman really is under his mask, thus, if he lives, it will mean the end of Batman's career.
Bruce Wayne comes to perhaps one of the greatest decisions in his life. He notes that while Batman may die, but Bruce Wayne never will. He then lets go of Chill, and the Spectre, along with the Phantom Stranger, leave him as he replaces his mask over his face. Chill, meanwhile, picks up his dropped revolver and flees out of the office and back into the warehouse, where the supervillains are starting to pick themselves up from the earlier brawl with Batman and decide on their next course of action. Running back to the site of the auction, Chill begs the villains for help. He explains vaguely that he killed a man a long time back, and that the man's son has come back for revenge on all criminals—Batman. At this, the Joker starts to laugh uncontrollably, and the villains shoot Chill cold stares as they process what he has been telling them. They correctly conclude that because Chill is indirectly responsible for the creation of Batman, it is really his fault that the Caped Crusader is always onto them, thwarting their schemes.
The enraged villains surround him, and the Joker and Mr. Freeze beat Chill to the ground out of fury. Chill falls at the feet of Batman, and cold sanity returns to the costumed criminals as they remember that they still have the Batman himself to worry themselves about. Mr. Freeze fires his gun at Batman, but the blast misses and instead blasts the wall behind him into a block of ice. The Penguin, and Two-Face put up a furious fight, but Batman easily defeats them as they attempt to rush him. He then catches sight of the Mad Hatter escaping towards the exit. A Bat-Rope wraps around the Hatter's ankles, sending him landing with a heavy thud in the floor. Batman then heaves the Hatter into the remaining villains. Batman knocks Solomon Grundy headfist into one of the support pillars for the warehouse, bending it nearly in half causing it to crumble dangerously. The Joker, meanwhile, takes advantage of Batman's fight with Grundy to retrieve the Sonic Disrupter, still laying on the auction table. Batman grabs for it as well, and as the two wrestle over the weapon it goes off, leveling part of the warehouse roof. Already weakened by the crumpled support pillar, the roof sways dangerously and starts to cave in. The Joker thinks the better of trying to fight Batman under the collapsing building, and lets go of the Sonic Disrupter. The villains flee the building, and they run off and disappear. Joe Chill, meanwhile, staggers for the exit on their heels, but an additional part of the roof mysteriously and unexpectedly crashes down on top of Chill, burying him in the rubble.
As Chill lies dying, Batman frees him from under the debris and stands over him. Chill notes the irony of the entire night's incident: Because he had started Bruce Wayne off to become Batman, the villains had made him pay dearly. With his dying breath, Joe Chill admits that perhaps, in his own way, Batman did get him after all.
Meanwhile, the Spectre and the Phantom Stranger meet again to see how Justice, not Vengeance, has truimphed. The Spectre is disappointed over losing the wager, and the Phantom Stranger notes that Batman made the right choice, since in the end, it was fate that delivered the final blow. The Stranger, however, also observes that it was certainly mysterious how Chill just happened to be under that part of the crumbling roof that unexpectedly came down when it did. The Spectre only grins innocently and brushes away the statement casually.
In the Batcave, Bruce Wayne locates his father's original Bat-costume, collecting dust in storage. As he solemnly places it behind glass in his trophy room, he notes the Wayne murder case as closed.
Voice Cast and Characters
- Diedrich Bader as Batman and Solomon Grundy
- Will Friedle as Blue Beetle
- Corey Burton as Red Tornado
- James Arnold Taylor as Green Arrow and Wotan
- John DiMaggio as Aquaman, Mr. Freeze and Gorilla Grodd
- Grey DeLisle as Black Canary
- Alan Tudyk as The Flash
- Adam West as Thomas Wayne
- Julie Newmar as Martha Wayne
- Peter Onorati as Joe Chill
- Richard Moll as Lew Moxon and Two-Face
- Mark Hamill as The Spectre
- Kevin Conroy as Phantom Stranger
- James Garrett as Alfred Pennyworth
- Jeff Bennett as Abra Kadabra, The Joker and Mobster
- Jennifer Hale as Zatanna and Poison Ivy
- Stephen Root as The Penguin
- Greg Ellis as Gentleman Ghost
- Louie the Lilac
- Impostor Mad Hatter
- Adam West, who portrayed Batman in the 1960s Batman Television Series, fills in the first speaking role of Thomas Wayne.
- Julie Newmar, who portrayed Catwoman during the 1960s Batman Television Series, fills in the speaking role of Martha Wayne.
- Kevin Conroy, who voiced Bruce Wayne/Batman in the DC Animated Universe guest stars as the Phantom Stranger.
- Mark Hamill, who voiced The Joker in the DC Animated Universe guest stars as the Spectre.
- Richard Moll, who voiced Two-Face in Batman: The Animated Series, voices Lew Moxon and briefly reprised his role as Two-Face once again, until later in "The Mask of Matches Malone!", he was voiced by James Remar again.
- "Chill of the Night!" is the first Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode to fully feature Poison Ivy. Her brief speaking role in this episode is by Jennifer Hale, until later in "The Mask of Matches Malone!", she is voiced by Vanessa Marshall.
- Jennifer Hale reprises her role as the Mistress Of Magic Zatanna from Justice League Unlimited in this episode.
- Unlike previous episodes, the Mr. Freeze depicted in "Chill of the Night!" is based on his 1977 appearance in The New Adventures of Batman.
- "Chill of the Night!" is the first Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode to feature Batman fully unmasked as Bruce Wayne.
- This is the third series in animation to depicted the origins of Batman. The first was in an episode of the Super Friends entitled "The Fear", in Batman: The Animated Series various episodes showed flashback sequences rather than the full sequence. It is seen in full in a dream sequence in Justice League Unlimited episode "For the Man Who Has Everything".
Phantom Stranger: [Concerning Joe Chill] He is beaten. Let your devotion of justice temper your rage.
Spectre: He took your parents, ruined your life. Fulfill your destiny. Become what you have trained to be, an agent of vengeance. He knows who you are, if this man lives, Batman dies.
Bruce Wayne: Batman may die... but Bruce Wayne? Never.
Young Bruce Wayne: You know, Dad, that movie was pretty good after all! Can I be Zorro when I grow up?
Thomas Wayne: Absolutely, son. We'll need to get you a bigger sword...
Young Bruce Wayne: [runs down the alley] Take that, you wicked tyrant!
Martha Wayne: Dear...
Thomas Wayne: Oh, Martha. Let him play.
Martha Wayne: Thomas Wayne, when he has nightmares tonight, you can be the one to calm hm down.
Thomas Wayne: Okay, that's enough for now, Bruce. We'll start you on fencing lessons when you're older. Say... 30?
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