Batman:The Animated Series Wiki

Maria Vargas was a respected Gotham City judge.


As a child, Maria Vargas liked to explore. Disobeying her parents' warning not to go anywhere without their permission and not to use matches by herself; both would go horribly wrong for her. One night she was exploring an abandoned warehouse. After she dropped a burning match, most of the Gotham City Docks burned to the ground. She carried the guilt with her for years.

Although she grew up to become a lawyer and eventually her current career as a judge, her childhood incident would come to haunt her once again as a full-grown woman. Whilst on a relaxing trip to Hugo Strange's resort, the doctor recorded the image of her mind and blackmailed her on the basis that she could be impeached from her judgeship if it is learned she caused the infamous Gotham dock fire. Snap and Numbers went to collect the money for Strange on the condition that the incriminating tape would be handed over to Judge Vargas, who would presumably destroy it. However, Numbers saw that Judge Vargas did not give the agreed sum, and Snap said that she now owes an extra $100,000, which she could ill afford. Batman intervened, but in the fight, the tape flew out of the hands of the thugs and onto a crossbeam. While Batman was subduing Numbers and Snap, Judge Vargas crawled towards it, but after she had retrieved it, she was afraid to go back. After immobilizing the hoods, Batman was shocked to see Judge Vargas attempt a dangerous stunt, and yelled for her to stay calm. She fainted and slid off the crossbeam. Though Batman was able to catch her, the tape fell into the river below. She was rushed to the hospital, where she had fallen into a coma. While she was unconscious, Batman wondered why a sensible woman like Judge Vargas would go to extremes and deal with the likes of Numbers and Snap, and did his own investigation, leading to his discovery of Dr. Strange's methods. While looking at tapes of Strange's patients, he found a copy of the VHS tape Judge Vargas had been desperate to get rid of, which replayed her as a little girl causing the great Gotham fire. This led to Batman's realization that Dr. Strange pretended to be a holistic healer, but in actuality was a cheap crook who misused his genius to blackmail people by exposing problems of their past should they not pay him large amounts of money. After Batman brings Strange to justice, Judge Vargas wakes up from her coma where she confessed everything to James Gordon. Commissioner Gordon said the worse problem was Dr. Strange's blackmail, not the fire, and that she had no reason to be ashamed of an accident.

Judge Vargas later ruled the case of the Jazzman. Pending trial, she sent him to Stonegate Penitentiary.