|First appearance||Batman Beyond|
|Voiced by||Shannon Kenny|
|Team affiliations||Iniquity Collective|
Inque (pronounced Ink) is a fictional character from the DC Animated Universe series Batman Beyond. She is a femme fatale and a shapeshifting saboteur whose body is an inky substance she can shape into a variety of forms or liquify herself to slip through cracks and slide across surfaces. 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 formidable 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. 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.
Inque would later join the Iniquity Collective in their fight against the Justice League Unlimited.
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 but Bruce (donning his Grey Ghost attire to hide his identity) uses various traps to keep her contained. 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 (William H. Macy), a prison guard who became infatuated with her. It is established that when she previously stowed away on the Batmobile, Inque did not discover the location of the Batcave because of the dark of night, the vehicle's speed, and Terry's reckless driving. She did, however, deduce that the older man was the original Batman based on all of the evidence throughout the Batcave. The ice prison deteriorated her human DNA to the point where she could not change into her human form, and she uses Herbst to get the necessary mutagen to restore herself.
She and Herbst capture Batman and Inque sends a message to Bruce to call him out, seeking to eliminate Batman's predecessor as well. She ultimately betrays Herbst (who wanted to be a mutant like her) by giving him a diluted mutagen injection that left him stuck in a hideous half-human half-inque form. Despite having a heart problem, Bruce dons a powerful exosuit 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 was a teenaged mother when she gave birth to Deanna; that when she was forced to go on the run and could not take Deanna with her, as Deanna was just a baby at the time, but entrusted her care to people she could trust with custody of Deanna; that she always made sure to send money to those legal guardians to support Deanna, providing Deanna with everything Inque herself was denied as a child (plenty of food to eat, new clothes, a roof over her head, etc.), who led Deanna to believe that the money was all from a trust fund from an inheritance.
Inque then 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, spending like there's no tomorrow, 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, Inque attempts to hold a bystander hostage, only to discover too late that the man is actually Superman. He defeats her easily via centrifugal force.
Powers and abilities
Inque's body is composed of a dark substance and her standard appearance alternated between a semi-human form with her normal human face and a featureless humanoid with a white oval representing her face/brain. As a shapeshifter, Inque can liquify herself to slip discreetly among shadows, through openings, and across surfaces like walls and ceilings. She can form grasping tentacles with superhuman strength and create hardened protrusions to be hurled as projectiles. She can regenerate almost instantaneously if most of her body is destroyed, so long as even a small part of her is still around.
Her body is extremely susceptible to water, which dilutes her liquid form. She is vulnerable to electricity. She can be immobilized by being frozen in ice but she eventually figured out how to overcome this weakness and break free when encased in ice. Solvents and long-term confinement in freezing temperatures can cause substantial damage to the overall stability of her physiology.
Inque has detailed knowledge of chemistry and other subjects related to her mutation and the chemicals she can use to restore herself whenever her physiology deteriorated.
Other television appearances
Justice League Unlimited epilogue
Inque makes a final appearance, along with several other of Batman's villains, during the season two 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, beginning with #6 of the first miniseries (Aug 1999). 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.
In the rebooted Batman Beyond continuity which takes place after Future's End, Inque was forced to work with the villainous Brother Eye after the latter conquered the Earth and had Inque's daughter hostage. After working together with the new Batman Beyond, Tim Drake, she sacrifices herself to defeat Brother Eye on his moon base to ensure her daughter's safety.
Inque appears via downloadable content as a playable character in the video game, Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham.