|First appearance||Batman Beyond
|Team affiliations||Iniquity Collective|
Inque (pronounced "ink") is a fictional character from the DCAU series Batman Beyond. She is a shapeshifting femme fatale with an aversion to water, electricity, extreme cold and dehydration. Inque can turn into a dark liquid and slide through the smallest cracks, or apply herself to the surface of an object in order to avoid detection. In some ways, Inque can be compared to the original Batman villain Clayface. She was voiced by actress Shannon Kenny.
In every one of Inque's five appearances, she proved to be one of Batman's most powerful adversaries, as Batman was not able to defeat her alone, requiring assistance from Bruce Wayne (twice), Superman, the Justice League, and even Inque's own daughter, Deanna. (Although Inque, in turn, was once rescued from defeat at his hands by Aaron Herbst, her associate/pawn.) Out of Terry's entire rogues gallery, Inque has come the closest to killing him on several occasions, a feat not even Blight or The Joker have accomplished.
Appearances in Batman Beyond
Inque first appears as an industrial saboteur hired by Derek Powers, the CEO of Wayne-Powers. Batman encounters her several times, and she eventually attaches herself to the outside of the Batmobile as it returns to the Batcave.
When she is discovered after Bruce Wayne notices that the Batmobile is carrying extra weight, Inque attempts to escape the Batcave (however, she does not know exactly where it's located due to several factors such as it being dark that night and Terry's speed and recklessness driving the Batmobile). Though she very nearly kills Terry, she is defeated when Terry uses Mr. Freeze's freeze gun to immobilize her in a block of ice, preventing her from shapeshifting any longer. The block of ice containing Inque is then delivered to Police Commissioner Barbara Gordon.
Some time after her last battle with Batman, Inque is released by Aaron Herbst (voiced by Academy Award-nominee William H. Macy), a man infatuated with her (but ultimately betrayed by her). However, she was no longer able to change back into her human form, so she desperately seeks a cure for her condition, as well as vengeance against Batman and Bruce Wayne.
With Herbst's help, Inque manages to cure herself, capture Batman (despite being subdued herself initially), and by using his communicator, she sends a message to Bruce, calling him out. Despite having a heart problem, Bruce dons a powerful exo suit and comes to Terry's rescue. Inque is seemingly killed when Terry smashes a skylight and rain falls on her, washing her into the sewers.
In this third season episode, Inque returns, fully recovered. Her latest job is to sabotage a satellite launch. Batman attempts to intervene. Inque demonstrates a new trick to avoid freezing (she curls up in a ball to protect most of her mass, then breaks free), but Batman reveals he installed electroshock circuitry to counter her smothering attempts. She succeeds in her mission, but is betrayed by her client, who uses a particle weapon to destabilize her molecular structure. Wounded and in need of more mutagen to heal herself, Inque turns to the one person she can trust: her spoiled daughter, Deanna Clay (voiced by Azura Skye).
Inque explains that she has been channeling money into her daughter's bank accounts since she abandoned her as a child, and convinces Deanna to steal more mutagen for her. Deanna returns with the mutagen just as Batman arrives to apprehend Inque. Inque uses the mutagen to restore herself and battle Batman. Though she has the upper hand at first, a solvent added to the mutagen by her daughter causes her to dissolve. When Inque asks why her daughter did such a thing, Deanna explains coldly that now that she has the access codes to her mother's financial accounts, she no longer needs her.
With Inque 'dead', Deanna has full access to her mother's immense bank accounts, and is last seen living the high life in her own mansion, away from Gotham. However, Batman arrives to warn her that Inque has cheated death many times before and that her remains have disappeared, leaving Deanna to curl up nervously. As expected, the eye of a very alive Inque appears among the shadows, but Deanna's fate is left unrevealed.
The Call, Part 1
While running from Batman, she attempts to capture a bystander, only to discover (a little too late) that the man is actually Superman. He defeats her easily by spinning like a tornado and rendering her into dizzy pieces.
Other television appearances
Justice League Unlimited: Epilogue
Inque makes a final appearance, along with several other of Batman's villains, during the season one finale of Justice League Unlimited. The episode re-visited the Batman Beyond time line. During the episode, Inque battled the futuristic Justice League. Capturing her was Kai-ro the future Green Lantern, who encased Inque in a green cage. Inque easily escaped, but the Green Lantern captured her once again, this time in a glass bottle. (According to episode writer Dwayne McDuffie, however, this was a dream sequence, though it is reasonable to infer that she is still alive and active.) This episode concluded the Batman Beyond series, and with it Inque's story as well.
Inque also made appearances in both versions of the Batman Beyond comic book series.
In #6 of the first mini-series, Inque appears in Permanent Inque Stains, where she and Batman ally against a cyborg scientist who had enslaved Inque using bio-implants. Though she seemingly sacrificed herself to save Batman's life, somehow she once again managed to survive. She later appears in #2 of the 2000 series, Ebony Tears, where she learns she can control people by wrapping herself around them, a talent she uses on Batman for her latest crime spree.
In #8 of the 2011 series, Inque recounts her backstory to herself as she proceeds to escape with a small wireless trigger from a military base, despite her body constantly losing cohesion from her mutations. Having grown up in a war-torn country and having nearly died from disease, Inque was smuggled into America and was forced to grow up on the streets of Gotham City. While still pregnant with her daughter, Inque agreed to undergo mutagenic experiments in exchange for food and shelter, only to later be cast back out onto the streets when the scientist no longer deemed her useful. As her body began to mutate, Inque left an infant Deanna in front of a church and began a mercenary career with her new powers to earn money for her daughter, in hopes that she can live the life Inque herself could only dream of.
The story concludes with Inque giving the trigger to her employer, who pays her with a dosage of mutagen to hold her unstable body together and tells her that she will continue to work for him in exchange for more. She then proceeds to visit Deanna, who is currently hospitalized from the same disease that her mother once had. Despite her daughter's betrayal, Inque desires nothing more than Deanna's well-being, pausing only to feed a small droplet of herself into Deanna's IV cord before leaving into the shadows again.
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