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"Prophecy of Doom"

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Batman: The Animated Series episode
Prophecy of Doom-Title Card
"Prophecy of Doom"
Airdate: October 6, 1992
Production Number: 19
Airdate Order: 22
Animation Services by: Akom Production Co.
Teleplay by: Sean Catherine Derek
Story by: Dennis Marks
Directed by: Frank Paur
Episode images (11)

"Prophecy of Doom" is the twenty-second episode of the first season of Batman: The Animated Series. It depicts the appearance of Nostromos: a self-proclaimed psychic that has conned several rich individuals to put massive amounts of money into a trust fund to prepare for a "great fall". Things turn quite sour when Nostromos orders an attempt on Bruce Wayne's life to scare his followers into believing him. Now Batman must expose this fraud for what he truly is.

Plot

A ritzy casino boat courses out in the middle of the sea while people gamble their money and dance their night away. However, unbeknownst to them, a bomb is in the boiler room and it goes off. The ship instantly sinks and the people flood into the lifeboats leaving the doomed ship to disappear beneath the waves.

Nostromos' flyer

Nostromos' flyer.

Later, in Gotham City, Bruce Wayne talks with a friend, Ethan Clark, who tells him about a fortune-teller, Nostromos, who warned him not to go out to sea on the gambling cruise. Ethan's daughter, Lisa Clark, is skeptical, claiming it's a coincidence but he points out other predictions that came true, and invites Bruce to a party he is holding in Nostromos's honor. When they are alone, Lisa complains to Bruce that her father now doesn't make the smallest move without the fortuneteller's say-so. Lisa confides in Bruce that she thinks Nostromos makes his predictions come true.

Bruce attends the party and listens to Nostromos's ludicrous words for a while. Nostromos seems to notice Bruce's skepticism and claims that someone there is in grave danger: Bruce himself. As soon as Bruce is singled out, his glass breaks, astonishing everyone at the party.

In the Batcave, Alfred wonders about Nostromos's powers, but Batman has them figured out as cheap gimmicks, thinking a sonic wave was used for the glass. While at the party, he managed to get some of Nostromos's fingerprints and analyzes them. They belong to an ex-con and actor, Carl Fowler. He also brings up files on his associate Lucas, a special effects man. It's now obvious how the events occurred but not what their purpose is.

The next day, Bruce goes to work as usual and enters into his personal elevator. As he does, a guard tells him that the elevator's been repaired. Bruce is momentarily confused, as he wasn't aware that anything was wrong. He enters the elevator and as it goes up, an unknown saboteur throws a wrench into the gears and pours acid onto the cable. Fortunately, Batman is able to escape using his grappling hook. Batman chases after the saboteur but he manages to escape after a brief skirmish using the acid.

The saboteur, Lucas, returns to Nostromos and tries to excuse his failure to kill Bruce Wayne. Nostromos is unhappy, as he had planned Bruce's death to cement his followers' faith in him. However, he receives a call from Ethan and learns that Bruce has "seen the light".

In person, a shaken Bruce tells Nostromos that his brush with death has convinced him that Nostromos really does have divine power and Ethan nominates him for membership into the Brotherhood. Overhearing, Lisa is appalled, thinking that both Bruce and her father are succumbing to greed. She swears that Bruce will be the last person Nostromos swindles, but Nostromos is confident that she'll become a believer after the "Great Fall".

Nostromos predicts

Nostromos predicts the "great fall" to his followers.

Ethan takes Bruce home and explains that Nostromos has predicted a massive economic collapse, and every member of the brotherhood has contributed to a trust fund to guard against the disaster. Ethan assures Bruce that it's on the level, since Nostromos can't touch the funds without Ethan's signature. Bruce now understands what's really going on but still plays along.

At a meeting of the brotherhood, Nostromos announces that the Great Fall will happen soon and that society will fall into chaos. As he tells his stories, he "levitates" (actually being lifted by a wire) into the air, further astonishing his followers. Unbeknownst to him, however, Lisa sneaks in and witnesses Lucas working the special effects for Nostromos's performance. But before she can warn her father, Lucas catches her and takes her away.

Later, Alfred is shocked to hear that Bruce has given the brotherhood ten million dollars. Batman says that it's just for appearances, and Alfred is even more shocked to hear that the fund now totals over three hundred million. Batman knows that Nostromos intends to blackmail Ethan into giving him control of the fund.

Alone with Lucas, Nostromos "predicts" that he and Lucas are about to become very rich men. Ethan arrives in response to Nostromos's summons and is told that the fund is in danger and must be converted to gold bullion. Ethan hesitates, deciding that he needs to consult the other members first. Nostromos warns him to sign because he sees "a bad moon rising" and points to the miniature solar system hung on the ceiling.
Nostromos' fate

One prediction that just may come true.

Lisa is tied to Mars and gagged. Ethan is shocked that he's been betrayed but signs the papers. He is then tied up and gagged and told that the place is set to explode. However, Nostromos suddenly starts flying around erratically and realizes that someone is tampering with the controls. He and Lucas track the mysterious saboteur to the upper catwalks, and discover Batman.

Batman and Lucas fight for a while and Nostromos decides to flee, but first he accelerates the model planets, causing them to swing off course and crash into one another. Lisa is in grave danger and while Batman is busy with Lucas, there's no one to help her. Batman finally manages to beat Lucas and leaps to save Lisa. Taking advantage of the situation, Nostromos tries to take the signed paper giving him control of the fund but Batman unhooks the model earth from its cable and the giant globe runs him over. Batman then saves Lisa just before she's crushed by Saturn.

Lucas and Nostromos are taken to jail and Ethan is rueful at having been so gullible. Bruce admits he was just as foolish and quotes Shakespeare: "The fault lies not in the stars, but in ourselves".

Background information

Home video releases

Production notes

  • Bruce Timm disliked the way how Akom animated the final sequence in the orrery.[1]

Production inconsistencies

  • Nostromos has global clocks, but they are way off. The London clock gives 11:08, the New York clock 07:22 and the Tokyo clock 11:32. The correct times for New York and Tokyo would be 07:08 and 20:08 respectively.
  • When Lucas says that Nostromos didn't predict Bruce Wayne would die, Nostromos exclaims, "Fool!", and points his finger right in Lucas' face. In the next shot, however, Nostromos is a few inches away.

Trivia

Men at some time are masters of their fates:

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings.

— Cassius, Julius Caesar, Act I: Scene 2


  • In one scene Batman throws a batarang that lodges itself into a criminal's leg. However, due to censorship, no blood was shown.
  • During the climatic scene in the planetarium, the background music has a distinct similarity to the Mars: The Bringer of War movement of the Planets Suite by Gustav Holst.
  • Nostromos tells Ethan Clark he "sees a bad moon rising". This is a reference to the Creedence Clearwater Revival song "Bad Moon Rising".

Cast

Actor Role
Kevin Conroy Batman/Bruce Wayne
Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. Alfred
Security Guard (uncredited)
Michael Des Barres Nostromos
Aron Kincaid Lucas
Man (uncredited)
Heather Locklear Lisa Clark
Woman (uncredited)
William Windom Ethan Clark

Quotes

Nostromos: We are but radios for the cosmic transmitter, tune your receivers, hear the inner voice...


Alfred: But how did the glass break, sir?
Batman: (Mystically) Psychic vibrations, Alfred... though I'd bet on a high-frequency sonic device.


Lucas: No one could've predicted Batman would spot me. Not even the great Nostromos. Besides, how do you know Wayne survived?
Nostromos: The news said he got off the elevator right before it fell, you pathetic amateur!
Lucas: Well, you didn't predict he would die, exactly...


Lisa: You know what my inner voice tells me, Nostromos? You've ripped off your last victim!


Alfred: You gave them ten million dollars, sir? And to think I was fretting over the electric bill.


Nostromos: I predict... you and I are about to become as rich as pigs!


Lucas: You're about to fall out of orbit, Batman!



Previously produced episode:
"Beware the Gray Ghost"
Episodes of
Batman: The Animated Series
Next produced episode:
"Feat of Clay (Part I)"
Previously aired episode:
"Vendetta"
Next aired episode:
"The Forgotten"


References

  1. "[On Prophecy of Doom] If that whole end sequence with the spinning worlds in the observatory had gone to Junio or any other studio, it might have come off, but it went to AKOM. They just weren't able to pull off that level of animation".

    — Bruce Timm [1]

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