Batman: The Animated Series 25th Anniversary #18: Beware The Gray Ghost

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Beware The Grey Ghost was first broadcasted on November 4, 1992 with a script by Garin Wolf & Tom Ruegger from a story by Dennis O’Flaherty and Ruegger and directed by Boyd Kirkland.

Simon Trent, an actor best known for his past role as “The Gray Ghost”, is on the verge of bankruptcy thanks to his declining career. To save himself, he sells off all of his Gray Ghost merchandise. Immediately afterwards, a series of crimes related to the old show begin to occur. Batman, having himself been inspired partly by the show to become the crimefighter he now is, goes to Trent for help, and they team up to put an end to the crimes, and also revive Trent’s career.

Simon Trent is played by the original TV Batman, Adam West, and having an older Batman involved with the newer Batman, you do stand to have that risk of just getting an older Batman for fan service but in this show’s case, they not only succeeded in avoiding just being fan service but they give Adam West a great reason to be involved here.

I really love the opening sequence where they show how similar both Batman and The Grey Ghost are and where Bruce got some of his inspiration to become Batman.

Where the episode really gets a lot of its’ great moments is in the brilliant chemistry between the two Batmans of different generation, Kevin Conroy and Adam West, the two work off each other so very well and it’s just so much fun to watch the two interact off each other throughout the course of the episode. Even series creator Bruce Timm has a role in this one that’s actually kind of fun to watch, won’t spoil who he plays but it kinds of makes sense once it all comes together.

The animation is once again spectacular, this is Spectrum Animation Studio once again, they also did the animation for On Leather Wings, Heart Of Ice, It’s Never Too Late, P.O.V., and the movie, Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm and the animation here is absolutely gorgeous to look at.

The story is also nicely done too, you’ve got this great satirical element about showing how some actors get tight casted to the point where they can’t get other work after playing a superhero, keep in mind, this was back in the early 90s when superhero movies and TV shows were not as successful as they are today and for every Batman & Batman Returns, you had a Captain America or Roger Corman’s Fantastic Four.

It’s also cool to see that Batman is pretty much like us that he has this hero that he loved as a kid and used a lot of influence on and also to see some happy moments with Bruce as a kid with his dad.

The music in this episode is also great too, the late Shirley Walker does such a terrific job of giving the Grey Ghost his own musical score to go off of, not just with the theme for the Grey Ghost but also the first scene we see of Simon Trent, the music in this is just excellent all around.

Beware The Grey Ghost could’ve easily have just been a fan service episode where you had Kevin Conroy and Adam West just there for no reason but the Batman: TAS team took a lot of care to make sure that West got as much time as they needed as Conroy. The two working off each other helps carries the episode through along with the gorgeous animation, the great music, the great action, the great storytelling, this is another classic Batman: TAS episode that is very much a must watch if you’re going back to watch the original series, definitely check this one out.

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