25 Years Of Batman The Animated Series: The Demon's Quest

Batman The Animated Series made it's debut in the Fall of 1992.  This year is the 25th Anniversary of the shows debut and we plan to celebrate throughout the year.  We will look at some of our favorite episodes, along with memorabilia and fun stuff from the show's run.  Enjoy!

Staff Pick: Batman: The Animated Series Episodes 60 & 61
"The Demon's Quest" Parts 1 & 2 May 3  & 4, 1993
- Written By Mark Neiser

This fan favorite episode features a villain that at the time of it's airing may have not been one of Batman's more popular adversaries.  Batman: The Animated Series and years later Batman Begins have helped Ra's al Ghul gain a much bigger following than he had before.  It's safe to say now that he's an A-list for for the Caped Crusader as much as Two-Face, Penguin, or any of the other rogues in Batman's gallery.  For this edition we look at the two part episode that introduced us officially in the animated series to the seemingly immortal Ra's al Ghul.

     As a life long Batman fan I must admit Ra's was not a villain I was all too familiar with.  I was a sophomore in high school when Batman The Animated Series began to air and one thing even the show did for me was introduce me to some of the rogues that weren't named Joker, Two-Face, or Penguin.  Ra's was one of those and now today he is one of my favorite villains! Ra's creates such an interesting dynamic against Bruce Wayne's ideology as a crime fighter as a man who truly believes he is in the right even if he uses some not so legal ways to run the League Of Assassins and get what he wants.   It's a nice contrast to Batman's version of justice as a vigilante believing he is sometimes above the law.  In "The Demon's Quest", we are introduced to some of these ideals in which we are introduced to Ra's as he and Batman form an uneasy alliance to find Talia al Ghul, Ra's daughter, and Robin who have gone missing!  Talia had made an appearance earlier in the show in the episode "Off Balance"in which Ra's made a very brief showing as well.  That's why this is his proper introduction and why it was all ready shown that Batman and Talia had a history together.  When Robin goes missing Batman begins to look for clues when Ra's al Ghul shows up in the Batcave with his guard Ubu asking for Batman's help as Talia has also gone missing.  Batman agrees to help as it seems the same people that have Robin also have Talia.  On the quest we learn that Ra's leads the Society Of Shadows (the League's name was changed for television) and that he is seemingly immortal by bathing in the waters of the Lazerus Pit's to restore his youth.  We also learn that through Ra's own investigations he was able to discover that Bruce Wayne was Batman and the fact that his daughter Talia had seen him without his mask on and was in love with Bruce.  As Ra's, Ubu and Batman go to Calcutta to find Talia and Robin it seems that Ra's  health is getting worse as he coughs and almost collapses a few times.

     Eventually the quest leads the trio to the Himalayas in which they arrive in Ra's helicopter.  As Batman jumps and deploys his parachute he sees a missile seemingly blow the chopper up with Ra's inside.  Batman continues the mission entering the secret lair where he finds Robin tied up inside.  He also finds Ra's al Ghul, Ubu, and Talia as Batman realizes it was all a set up by the Ra's himself.  Ra's is looking for a successor to the Society Of Shadows and asks Batman to take his place telling him that he is the perfect man for the job.  Batman refuses the offer of course and as Ra's gets angry he starts to cough again and collapses.  Talia tells Batman they must get him into the Lazarus Pit which is in the lair.   Batman places Ra's in the pit but when he reawakens he is enraged and attempts to throw his daughter into the pit as well.  Batman saves her and once Ra's calms down he once again asks Batman to take his place but when the Dark Knight refuses he and Robin are trapped in the lair as Ra's and his men escape.  The Dynamic Duo escape of course and track Ra's to his stronghold in the Sahara Desert.  Batman arrives and after sneaking in he is eventually outnumbered and captured by Ra's men.  Ra's takes Batman's utility belt but allows him to keep his cowl for honor and explains that he has placed bombs in the Lazerus Pits around the world and will detonate them releasing the chemicals onto the world killing millions of people.  Batman is taken away but not before receiving a kiss from Talia with a special message attached!

      It would seem the kiss allowed Talia to place a lock pick inside Batman's mouth and it isn't long before the detective escapes.  Batman makes it to the main court yard of the fortress just as Ra's Al Ghul is about to detonate the bombs.  Batman creates a distraction to keep the other members of the Society Of Shadows busy but once Ra's sees what is going on he decides that it is time for a final battle between himself and the Batman.  He challenges Batman to a sword duel.  During the fight Batman uses his sword to stop the device that will detonate the bombs but in doing so he allows Ra's to have the upper hand as the fortress burns all around them.  As the battle gets more intense the two men fight on the edge of a Lazerus Pit and Ra's falls over the edge hanging from the sword that Batman grabs to try to save him.  Ra's though realizes he won't make it and falls into the Lazerus Pit and presumably to his death with Talia watching it all.  Talia then tells Batman that she is now worried for her future but Batman simply kisses her and walks away.  Once on the plane with Robin they discuss whether Ra's is really gone or not and while Batman believes so, the episode ends with Ra's hand emerging from the pit with an evil laughter accompanying it.

      The two part episode is full of suspense, intrigue, action, and great story telling.  Good enough that it could have been a theatrical film on it's own.  It's the perfect introduction to Ra's al Ghul and shows Batman out of his element of Gotham city.  The two part episodes were adaptions of a couple of Batman comics.  Batman #232 and #244, both written by Denny O'Neil and drawn by Neal Adams.  O'Neil even wrote part one of "The Demon's Quest" and consulted on the second part.  Excellent comics which made for an excellent story in animation.  A lot of the two part episodes of Batman: The Animated Series were extremely well done and you can bet we will talk about more of them.  "The Demon's Quest" is among the best of them and the perfect jumping on point for people wanting to discover a villain that isn't one of the big three or four Batman rogues!

The Demon's Quest was based on these two Batman issues!