The story describes the origins of Batman as it follows the Dark Knight's attempts to capture the elusive, deadly Phantasm who kills a crime lord and makes it look as if Batman did it, causing a media smear campaign against the Caped Crusader. At the same time, millionaire Bruce Wayne holds a party at his mansion. There he meets Councilman Arthur Reeves, the man behind the accusations. Reeves derides playboy Wayne for allowing his college sweetheart Andrea Beaumont to leave him. Suddenly Wayne flashes back to his pre-Batman days. He remembers how he met her while visiting his parents' graves to renew his vow that he would spend his life fighting crime to avenge their wrongful deaths. He has already devised an early version of his alter-ego Batman, but that is nearly forgotten when he falls in love with Andrea. The story then jumps from past to present and back as the mysterious Phantasm strikes again. Batman continues his investigation and discovers a disturbing link between Andrea, who suddenly shows up after many years absence, and the villain. Meanwhile, the Phantasm, feeling that Batman is too close to learning his/her identity hires the Joker to kill him. But the Joker has his own agenda and much action ensues before the mystery of the Phantasm identity is solved, Batman clears his name, and justice is served.
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