Paul Dini intended each of the flashbacks into Batman's love life to "have a tendency to get worse, when you hope things will get better." Bruce's relationship with Andrea, which at first shows promise, eventually turns into turmoil. At first, Bruce and Andrea are set for marriage, but then Bruce is given a farewell note from Andrea cutting off their relationship. This eventually leads into Bruce's decision to become Batman. Richard Corliss of Time felt this scene paralleled Andrea's decision to avenge her own parents and reject love when she finds her own father murdered. Both events transform the two people (Bruce becomes Batman, Andrea becomes the Phantasm). One scene depicts Bruce Wayne at his parents' tombstone saying, "I didn't count on being happy." According to Reaves, this scene was to be a pivotal moment in Bruce's tragic life, as he denies himself the opportunity to live a normal life. Reaves also stated: "When Bruce puts on the mask for the first time, [after Andrea breaks their engagement], and Alfred says 'My God!' he's reacting in horror, because he's watching this man he's helped raise from childhood, this man who has let the desire for vengeance and retribution consume his life, at last embrace the unspeakable."
DC Comics released a comic book adaptation written by Kelley Puckett and drawn by Mike Parobeck. The comic book adaptation was later included with the VHS release. Kenner, who had already released toys for the cartoon series, produced several tie-in figures for the film, including Joker and the Phantasm (packaged unmasked, spoiling a pivotal plot point in the film). Batman & Robin Adventures Annual #1: Shadow of the Phantasm is a comic book sequel to the film. It was written by Dini and released in 1996. In 2015, a DC Collectibles action figure 2-pack featuring Batman and Phantasm was released.
While Batman is busting an illicit counterfeiting operation, gangster Chuckie Sol attempts to make his getaway on wheels from a high-rise parking garage. He is suddenly confronted by a shadowy figure in a cape, which he assumes to be Batman. However, it is instead a different costumed figure, with a deep, echoing voice, a ghostly mask, and a vicious blade on the end of one arm. A frightened Sol tries to run down the new threat, but his target disappears in a cloud of smoke. Sol instead smashes through the wall of the parking structure and crashes into an adjoining building, dead on impact. Witnesses note Batman's arrival on the scene and most jump to the conclusion that he has finally let one of his normally non-lethal pursuits go too far.
Batman confronts the vigilante, chasing him across several rooftops, but is then confronted by a police task force with orders to arrest him. As the vigilante vanishes in a cloud of smoke, Batman flees and is pursued into a construction site by a tactical squad under Harvey Bullock's command. Seeing Batman above, one over-eager officer empties his submachine gun at the building, hitting a propane tank and igniting an explosion that knocks Batman senseless. He is forced to buy time by removing his cape and cowl and sending them flying up toward the police helicopter, distracting the task force while he escapes to the ground floor. Now unmasked, and severely dazed by the explosion, he stumbles to the end of an alley, with the police right behind him, and no means of escape until Andrea appears in her car and tells him to get in. Bruce jumps in and she speeds away, leaving the police behind.
In a flashback to fifteen years ago during Bruce's college days, Bruce is seen meeting Andrea in a cemetery while visiting his parents' grave. At this point, Bruce has vowed to avenge his parents' murder by dedicating his life to fighting crime. Later, wearing a ski mask, Bruce thwarts an armored car robbery. However, when Alfred asks how the fight went, Bruce is discouraged that the robbers considered him a clownish vigilante at first, and realizes he needs to adopt a persona that will strike fear into the hearts of wrongdoers. While he is laying the groundwork for crime-fighting, Bruce is also dating Andrea, and doing things with her such as visiting a future exposition, which contains a car prototype that catches Bruce's eye. He also meets Andrea's father Carl Beaumont, who is a businessman and Arthur Reeves, who worked as Beaumont's legal adviser at the time. In his study, while talking to portraits of his parents, Bruce wonders what his parents really want for him; to avenge their deaths as a crimefighter or to continue the Wayne bloodline by marriage and fathering children? Later, Bruce tells Alfred he has made his choice: he will abandon his crime-fighting career and focus solely on his work at Wayne Enterprises, and has also bought an engagement ring for Andrea. However, Andrea mysteriously leaves Gotham with her father, ending her engagement to Bruce in a Dear John-style letter. Believing that he has lost his only chance of having a normal life, Bruce proceeds with his other choice, to avenge his parents' murder and spare other families his pain. After seeing a bat fly in the night sky, Bruce realizes he has the perfect image of terror for wrongdoers, and finally dons the mask of Batman.
In the present, the killer finds and kills another gangster, Buzz Bronski, who is killed at the graveyard shortly after mourning Chuckie Sol. Batman discovers evidence linking the two murdered gangsters; they were both lieutenants of retired mob boss Salvatore "Sal" Valestra. Valestra himself, despite already close to dying from old age and lung cancer, fears that the killer has a pattern, and that he is next on the list. He seeks the Joker, with whom he had a prior working relationship, and offers him a large sum of money to assassinate Batman for him. Unfortunately, he foolishly trades one assassin for another; rather than going after the killer, the Joker kills Valestra with Joker Venom instead. The Joker then sets up a trap for Batman, planting Valestra's boobytrapped corpse in a chair in Valestra's living room while monitoring via a camera. He then suddenly realizes Batman is not the killer when he sees a hooded figure with a skull mask triggering the bomb, but the Phantasm survives by jumping out the window. Batman, who is nearby and is attracted to the scene by the explosion, tries to catch the Phantasm, but is hindered by the Gotham Police who still believe that he is the killer and attempt to apprehend him for the string of assassinations while the Phantasm escapes. Rescuing Batman in her car, Andrea explains that she and her father had been hiding in Europe, from the Valestra mob, to whom he owed a lot of money. Carl Beaumont eventually repaid them, but that did not satisfy them; they were angered by the fact he skipped town on them and wanted "payment in blood". Batman believes that Andrea's father may be the killer.
The Phantasm confronts the Joker in his hideout, which is the abandoned future exposition that Andrea and Bruce visited years ago. During their fight, the skull mask is lost and reveals her as Andrea, who is intent on avenging her father's death by killing the mobsters to whom he owed money and whom ordered Beaumont murdered. In the middle of their struggle, Batman arrives. Bruce begs Andrea to give up her desire for revenge but she refuses stating that Joker and Valestra ruined her chances with Bruce and that he himself is constantly fighting for revenge. Andrea then vanishes and Batman battles with the Joker in a miniaturized replica of Gotham City. After a protracted battle which injures both of them badly, the Joker surrenders to Batman, but Andrea shows up again, determined to finish what she started. She picks the Joker up and both of them vanish in the confusion of fire and smoke with the Joker laughing maniacally, with Batman barely escaping through a waterway while a series of rigged explosions goes off.
Andrea Beaumont strolls back into town, rekindling an old romance with Bruce Wayne. At the same time, Batman is mistaken for a masked vigilante assassin who has begun systematically eliminating Gotham's crime bosses. Now on the run, Batman must solve the mystery, while navigating his relationship with Andrea.
Chuckie Sol and his thugs have gathered to exchange some money in the penthouse of a building when they are suddenly busted by Batman, who takes down most of the thugs except for Sol, who manages to get away and makes his way to the parking lot of the building. However, before he can make it to his car, he is confronted by a mysterious and menacing masked man, who wants to take Sol's life. Sol cowers in fear towards his vehicle and the hooded man attacks the gangster with a hooked blade he keeps in his hand. Using his vehicle, Sol attempts to run over the masked man, but the mysterious shadowy figure vanishes in a burst of smoke, causing Sol to drive his vehicle off the building and drop several storeys below until he crashes against the nearby building, dying. Batman arrives in time to see the unfortunate outcome, but he is unable to catch the attacker and only gets a glimpse of the mysterious man leaving the scene while many witnesses notice Batman's presence at the crime scene.
However, Bruce was already about to start his quest as crime-fighter and during one of those nights, he went out wearing only a black ski-mask, a black leather jacket and a utility belt to stop a robbery. Despite Bruce's menacing demeanor, the thugs fought back fiercely and Bruce struggled to capture them all. Eventually he stopped them, but he was badly injured. Bruce learned that while his fighting skills were appropriate for his quest, criminals were not afraid of him. Later as her was training in Wayne Manor, Andrea came to visit and the training was postponed in favor of sharing time with her.
However, those days are long gone now and Bruce Wayne returns to his usual activities as well as the investigation of the mystery behind Chuckie Sol's murder. Meanwhile, Buzz Bronski a former associate of Chuckie Sol goes to pay his respects to the deceased at the cemetery, where he is attacked by the same masked figure and murdered in a merciless manner in the graveyard. Bronski's henchmen arrive too late to save their boss, but they spot the masked figure leaving the scene and they come to the conclusion that it is Batman. 781b155fdc