Black and blue
Batman Beyond EP 3
Inque is a comic book and carton anti-villainess making her first appearance in the animated spinoff, Batman Beyond. She is voiced by Shannon Kenny.
Inque is a recurring anti-hero femme fatale featured in the futuristic Batman spinoff, Batman Beyond. Introduced as a secret saboteur employed by Derek Powers, she was tasked with secretly attacking corporate competitors to his enterprise, but after her first defeat, became a mercenary for hire. In all of her appearances, Inque has proven herself to be Batman's deadliest foe, even more so than the revived Joker and the main antagonist Blight. Essentially, she is one of the strongest slime girls ever seen in media. Like many villains in the series, Inque was conceptually modeled after an older Batman villain, in this case: Clayface. Beneath her criminal-eccentric deeds is a caring mother who only fights for the sake of her daughter, Deanna.
Inque is a very deceptive and cunning adversary and is not above using seduction tactics to lure men to do her bidding as seen when she seduced the infatuated cryogenics employee Aaron Herbst. She is also shown to be flirtatious when she silenced Terry McGinnis by kissing him instead of using other means, when Terry tried to warned Bruce Wayne. It is also alluded that she possess some degree of sadomasochistic tendency as seen when she tried to drown Terry by constricting him and pouring herself down his throat. She also tried to smother Terry on multiple occassions by engulfing him inside her bosom or her body. Yet, unlike most other villains, Inque does not beat around the bush when it comes to taking down her enemies, not taking any chances for an efficient kill nor does she possess the traditional arrogance seen in other rogues in the series nor the psychotic malice seen in villains such as the Joker, Riddler, Blight etc.
However, she is shown to be vindictive. She does not hesitate from revenge if it chance upon her as seen when she tried to kill both Terry McGinnis and Bruce Wayne for imprisoning her in the cryogenics prison. Regardless, in her field, Inque has proven herself to be a top tier professional who for the right amount of money will do anything to accomplish her tasks. Derek Powers (Blight) is one of her most regular client who used to be one of her favorite as he pays her a lot of money for his clandestine works.
Beneath her cold exterior, however, is a highly emotional woman with a caring maternal side. She uses some of the funds she gained in her jobs to provide her daughter , Deanna Clay, with enough wealth to get by, although this charity is denied due to her not being there for her as a mother. In spite of this love not being reciprocated, Inque still very much loves her daughter and wants only the best for her.
By default, Inque appears as a young and voluptuous woman of Eastern-European descent of medium height in a seemingly skin-tight black suit with blue hues that present an almost ripple-like design with long black hair, lips and big u eyes and a blue skin tone to complete her look. During a job or in battle, Inque assumes a more surreal form that possesses an exaggerated hour-glass figure and three digit claws. Her face and head is reconfigured to feature a white oval that takes up nearly half of her head that serves as her eyes, although this is by no means a weak point. Uniquely, the blue ripple patterns shift to become her outline and light source. Amsong various other forms she assumes, she can transform herself from formless liquid to semi-liquid puddles, from snake like form for increased mobility and agility to spider like form for efficiency. She uses her serpentine form to constrict or arrest her opponents and the spider-like form to either chase or evade her opponents during her missions.
Thanks to an unknown mutagen, Inque's body is compromised entire of black slime. Using this texture to her advantage, she is able to effectively blend in with the shadows. Being made out of liquid, Inque possesses all the basic abilities including liquefying, stretching, regenerative factors, resilience to physical attacks and weapon molding. However, what separates her from most other slimes her impressive battle skill. Combined with her powers, she has come the closest to killing both Batmans than anyone ever had.    She often abandons humanoid shapes for the absolute effectiveness, from turning into waves of slime or a spider-like creature. Being an effective saboteur, Inque can easily destroy computers and electronics with no harm or aftereffects affecting her in the long run. Most frightening of all is her apparent ability to adapt to non-physical attacks such as ice or electricity. It appears that at optimal strength, she can resist both of these attacks and immediately counterattack. She also appears to have some control over the volume of her mass, able to compress into smaller sizes and increase her size as well regardless of previous loss of her slime. In the comics, she possesses parasitic abilities, being able to attach herself to other lifeforms and absorb their energy to sustain herself as well as possessing limited control over their bodies.
Despite her power and skill, she has weaknesses. Water is her one consistent weakness, diluting her if doused in sufficient amounts though a year later, she was able to survive being thrown into the ocean. Ice was also once a weakness but learned to adapt to it. Electricity also worked to a certain extent as well. In Batman Beyond #8, it was revealed that, even in her liquid state, she had been suffering from an unknown poison that to this day, still slowly eats away at her body and only doses of the mutagen that transformed her can keep her body together.
Inque was born into poverty and a survivor of the Civil War. The only thing she held dear to was her parents, a few possessions and dreams of a greater world she and her family referred to as "somewhere else". The war had forced her and her family out of home and into a refugee camp. When word of boats leading to her dreams spread, she had a bit of hope, but the war came to her camp and her mother was killed in the ensuing battle. She would later end up in the black market as a malnourished slave but her father was left behind for he was not considered suitable for purchase. She now only has her dreams to keep her forward, counting the passage of time with the degraded meals she consumed. Eventually, she arrived at America, now in Gotham City but remained homeless. She later discovers her pregnancy, happy that she could share her dreams with a future born. She headed to a nearby hospital for proper carriage. However, the doctors there were more interested in experiments than they were with the infant being born. Luckily, the baby who would later become known as Deanna Clay was born healthy and normal.
For a while, they lived together in a charity ward with only limited English and no money, but she managed to make by although she knew she could not support the dream for the both of them and now only desired for her daughter to live a better life. Unfortunately, months after the experiments did started to take effect on her as her skin begins to melt. Figuring that this was the end for her, she had to leave her daughter to an orphanage, hoping someone would give her the care she couldn't. Now covered in bandages, she returned to the ward to die, but an unexpected turn came as she was instead transformed into a sentient mass of black liquid. Over time, she learned to efficiently control and transform her newfound form and eventually used her talents to enter a life of crime, taking on the name Inque. Having accumulated enough wealth, she was able to monitor her daughter and keep a roof over her head by anonymously sending her funds in fear of her daughter seeing her as a monster. When Deanna become old enough, Inque approached her to tell her of what happened, but she was unable to understand and only wanted the money she provided, albeit visibly upset for not being the mother she could have been. Now accompanied by shame and guilt and a desire to be part of her life, she resumed her charitable funding, but stayed out of her life to give her comfort.
Inque first appears in the third episode of the TV series sabotaging a databank, later appearing the next day in Derek Powers' office for her next mission. Unbeknownst to both however, Bruce Wayne did a little sleuthing and acquired a sample of Inque to study before he left.
That night, she attacks Foxteca, but before she can do any more damage, Batman arrives to stop her, although he was unprepared for such a bizarre foe and is defeated as she makes her escape. She makes yet another attempt and causes havoc at a construction site, Batman once again intervening but unable to gain an advantage due to her liquid body and skill with her powers, once again escaping. She later appears to Powers
explaining why she could not exactly get the job done just before she witnesses Blight's skin shedding and revealing a radioactive layer underneath, due to an accident from a earlier episode but tells her not to mind as she assigns her to deal with Batman permanently.
Attacking Foxteca once more as the calling card, Inque secretly stows away on the Batmobile and as he makes it into the Batcave, she immediately reveals herself and attacks Batman, slamming him into the ceiling and pouring herself down his throat to suffocate him. Just as Batman is about to lose consciousness, Wayne intervenes and sprays her with a hose, splitting her body apart at the waist as her body collapses into a black puddle, Batman literally vomiting pieces of herself still left in him. She later revives and cuts the hose before Bruce can fire another stream. Inque tries to make a break for it, but is sealed in by an electromagnetic door that blasts her away.
With no other way to escape, she takes to the ceiling again and causes a tremor, resulting in a stalagmite rain that wrecks a good deal of the Batcave as Batman's legs are trapped by the giant quarter of Two Face. As Inque moves in for the kill, Batman immediately pulls out a special electric batarang that gives her a powerful shock, although this is not enough. Irritated, Inque rushes in for the kill but Batman pulls through and snatches Mr. Freeze's gun nearby and immediately shoots her, flash freezing her as her frozen form shatters into pieces upon crashing down from a leap.
Inque does not appear for a while until the eleventh episode where she is seen imprisoned in a cryochamber at the Cryogenics Lab.
Months had past since her arrest and she had been under the watchful eye of a cryogenics employee named Aaron Herbst, who had admired her surreal form and found her quite beautiful, eventually growing obsessive. Unfortunately, he had been monitored by his boss and was fired upon realizing he may do something stupid. His move was correct as Aaron approaches the control panel outside and turns off the machine, allowing her to break free and escape. She later takes the entire staff hostage but the police are alerted not long after. Although she tries to sneak away disguised as one of the officer's coats when she releases the hostages, she is discovered by Batman. Coming prepared, Batman attempted to stop her with Freeze's gun, but she manages to snatch it out of his hand and crushes it, making her escape.
She later discovers that the time imprisoned in the cryochamber damaged her genetic makeup, preventing her from assuming her human-like form. She later comes to Aaron and played with him on his infatuation by mildly threatening him and also implicitly promising him a sexual reward, if he help her, although Aaron is willingly compliant due to his obsession
and let her stay in for the night to recover. The next day, they infiltrate the facility containing the mutagens responsible for her form and powers. As Inque collected the mutagens and was about to leave the facility, Aaron confronted her and ask her for her reward. Inque remembered her promise and slithered herself out of the trench coat and assumed an exaggerated voluptuous, hourglass figure in her surreal form and walked towards Aaron sensuously readying herself to let Aaron live his fantasy. That is when Aaron reveals another reason why he freed her: to be just like Inque by gaining her powers and form. Inque is surprised to learn that and promises this reward once she restores her human like form.
As she slithered herself up on Aaron and showed him the mutagen, they are alerted to Batman's presence. Inque gets the element of surprise and attacks him resulting in an intense battle that ends with Batman knocking her out with an electric batarang, although Aaron steps in and knocks Batman out cold using a large mechanical arm and pulls the discharge off Inque's body.
Regaining consciousness, Inque takes Batman hostage as they move to an abandoned stadium. Inque finally administers the cure as it takes effect, temporarily reverting to her human-like form, but falters as she collapses in an incomplete form, urging Aaron to help her drink the rest of the mutagen, finally restoring her
human form completely.
She later tries to coax Batman into finding out who he works for, but overhears Wayne upon hearing the communicator in his mask. She makes an ultimatum for Bruce to come and reveal himself, ending the transmission with a kiss. Before she goes into hiding, Aaron pesters Inque one more time about the 'promise'. She transforms her featureless state to confirm if 'this is how he wants to be', to which he replies 'exactly' Taking the mutagen, Inque applies it to him offscreen, promising 'it'll be everything you're expecting'. Offscreen, she only applied half of the treatment to him, reducing him to a flesh-colored polymorph similar to him, but very sluggish and misshapen.
Wayne appears as expected, with Inque masquerading as Batman, shooting out a tendril try an crush. However, she is repelled as Bruce reveals an armored Batsuit and tries to fight her off, but is no match for her. Before she can step in for the kill, Aaron interrupts the fight, complaining that she promised with a moan. Trying to push him aside, she grabs him by the neck, but Aaron clings to her body, struggling as a morphing mess of black and flesh before she finally knocks him off, causing
the ring to collapse. Before any moves could be made, Batman throws a batarang into the sky screen, causing the pouring rain outside to leak into the stadium, steadily diluting her body. She rushes to get more mutagen, but her legs give way and she collapses into a puddle, leaking into the drainage nearby.
Inque does not appear again for a while until the third season's third episode
where she is once more pursuing her old saboteur job, this time trying to stop a missile launch. It quickly ensues into a short rematch between her and Batman, revealing to now have an immunity to flash-freezing. Having succeeded in her mission for the first time in her series, she escapes. She appears to her client, who had set up for the sabotage as he had been waiting with the crew of the launch. He appears to be ready to pay her, but she is betrayed by her client as he pulls out a blaster rifle and shoots her. The blast drastically weakens her, causing her body to melt and drip, revealing the blast was from a particle destabilizer. It would only be a matter of time before her body would break apart at the seams and die, but Inque escapes before he can administer the fatal shot.
With nowhere else to turn, she comes before her daughter Deanna, just barely alive as her for is still melting even in her human-like state due to the previous blasts and the poisons damaging her. For the next day, Inque is bed-ridden, explaining why she had to leave her daughter behind, although Deanna is angry for not being there for her as a mother nonetheless, but promises to get the mutagen that would restore her form. She gives Deanna access to her own account, the
two sharing a brief period of happiness between mother and daughter. Deanna returns with the cure as Inque is back in her featureless form, her body now constantly giving way and melting, but now has to contend with Batman. She is now no match for him in her weakened state as he shocks her and pulls her into a bag, but is stopped by Deanna. Inque barely pulls herself out just in time for her daughter to throw her the cure. Inque finally injects the mutagen and her form is restored instantly now back at full strength and displaying immunity to Batman's discharge attacks. The battle pulls them into a construction yard as Inque dominates in this battle once again, Batman barely able to put any dent in her.
Crushing him with girders and cement, Inque buries Batman but he quickly recovers and chucks a girder at her, although this has no effect as she simply grabs him and attempts to snap him in two with a bladed knee. Just as she is about to pierce him, her form begins to bubble and burst almost violently as her body begins lose its cohesion. Deanna explains that she added a solvent to the formula, causing it to rip apart at the seams. Inque is shocked by this turn of events, Deanna revealing that she was in it for the money. She turns on her own daughter but Batman saves her as Inque is left to convulse and melt. Inque asks why she betrayed to her to which she reveals 'you never did give me anything except money. How did you think I would turn out?'. And with that, Inque finally evaporates into nothing, Deanna lamenting the loss of her mother. The next day, Deanna is enjoying her newfound fortune, but cannot shake the chilling feeling she is being watched, the camera panning over to the shadows warping to reveal an eye, confirming that Inque had survived. In spite of this betrayal, her maternal instincts only served to preserve her love for her daughter and could not place her blame on her knowing why she did what she did.
Inque makes one last appearance in the Justice League crossover episode: The Call where she is seen
escaping from Batman again. She later takes a nearby man hostage, only to have made costly mistake as the passerby turned out to be none other than Superman himself, whirling in place as he disperses her form all over the place. Weakened and disoriented, she is arrested once more.
Inque later appears to discover that Deanna too had finally succumbed to the poisons that she had unfortunately gained while still in the wombs, only having surfaced as of late and was subsequently hospitalized. Saddened by this, she places a piece of herself in Deanna's IV to help her recover and continues to watch over her daughter, still remaining the ever-loving mother that she hoped that her daughter would one day truly see her as.
In Batman Beyond: Brave New Worlds, Inque allied herself with the AI Brother Eye in his conquest of Neo Gotham by assimilating and converting its citizens into cyborgs, both out of helplessness and ensuring that at least Deanna would be safe. She eventually crosses paths with Barbara Gordan and Batman once more, though it isn't the one she knew, but the second Robin, Tim Drake. During their fight, Tim questions why she sold out humanity to Eye, though she retorts that he wouldn't understand. Inque then hears Deanna's voice and discovers that she's on the moon with Brother Eye itself. With this new discovery, Inque immediately rebels and assists in destroying one of his bases, hoping that Batman will help her rescue her daughter.
Later on, Brother Eye invades Neo Gotham and Inque appears once more, saving Barbara from cyborg attack and the duo team up to fight off the invasion, though her priority is still Deanna. Eventually, she retreats with Gordan and Batman along with another ally, Micron. They arrive at an abandoned building where Tim discovers a teleportation device that would send them straight to the moon. Inque hides herself within Tim's new battlesuit as the two are transported to Eye for a final confrontation. Just as Tim manages to weaken Eye at the cost of the suit, Inque springs forth as a last ditch effort and begins invading Eye's body to destroy the core from within. Tim urges for Inque to retreat, but she simply tells them to return Deanna home immediately, despite their protests. Just as Eye is about to be destroyed, Inque expresses her motherly love to her daughter one last time. Eye's body explodes and with it the entire base, leaving Inque's fate unknown, presumably dead. In the end, one of Batman's deadliest enemies made the ultimate sacrifice to save an entire city and more importantly, her daughter.
- Of all the villains to appear in the DC Animated Universe, Inque has come the closest to killing both Batmans in all her appearances.
Notes and references
- Batman Beyond Episode 3
- Batman Beyond Episode 14
- Batman Beyond Episode 42