Batman:The Animated Series Wiki

"Read My Lips" is an episode of the first season of Batman: The Animated Series. It is notable for introducing The Ventriloquist and Scarface to the series.

"Read My Lips" was the 64th produced episode and the 59th episode aired.


Gotham Police are baffled by a series of crimes executed with clockwork-like precision. Batman investigates and discovers that the crimes are planned by a mob boss known as Scarface. He traces Scarface to his lair -- a deserted mannequin warehouse -- and discovers, to his astonishment, that the crime czar is a wooden dummy, manipulated by a mild-mannered man called the Ventriloquist.


There is a robbery after a great boxing match between Dynamo Dave and Mad Dog Ted, at the Gotham Square Garden by a very organized gang. After their first successful crime, the leader of the band tells them that they are going to own Gotham City. The following weeks, all the news are related to the crime spree and it seems like the Gotham City Police Department can't figure out a way to stop the new gang in town. Commissioner Gordon summons Batman to discuss the situation, and he tells Batman that they have no clue of where to start looking as the gang is very well organized and they haven't seen or heard of the gang leader at all. However, they obtained a video recording of the gang escaping the crime scene of one of their robberies and he gives it to Batman for further analysis.


Batman confronts Rhino

At the Batcave, Batman plays the video in the Batcomputer several times but is unable to identify any of the men in it because they are all covered with masks and gloves. Batman stops the video at a certain point and notices that while escaping, one of them gets his sleeve torn apart, revealing a tattoo. Batman searches for a matching tattoo in the criminal database and finds that the tattoo belongs to a man named Charles Daly a.k.a. Rhino.

Batman follows Rhino on the streets and confronts him in a dark alley about the latest crimes and also questions him about his boss. Rhino is not giving Batman any answer and instead he fights the dark knight. After a while, the police arrive at the scene and Batman gets out of sight before the officers watch him. Rhino also gets on his way after his encounter with Batman and the police. Batman follows Rhino to the secret base of operations to learn who is the mastermind behind the crimes. Batman watches as Rhino tells an old man to get the boss because he has important news for him. The man goes to get the boss, who is sleeping. The old man comes back to the main room, where Rino and is waiting with Ratso and Mugsy, the other gang members.


Scarface and The Ventriloquist appear

The boss speaks to them in an angry way for waking him up when he has gone to bed, but Batman is surprised to see that the "boss" is actually a ventriloquist dummy that calls himself Scarface, because of the "scar" on its face, and is controlled by the old man, called Arnold Wesker; or The Ventriloquist as he is known among the gang. Scarface asks them what is so important that they needed to wake him up and one of the thugs starts talking to the Ventriloquist, which makes Scarface angry. The dummy wants to be talked to him and not to the "hired help". Rhino then tells Scarface that Batman is on their trail and Scarface concludes that there must be a squealer among them and he warns them to be faithful to the gang if they don't want to get themselves killed. Scarface goes back to sleep and Rhino praises the genious Scarface and disregards The Ventriloquist. Batman is very confused at the whole situation.

Moments later, Batman sneaks into Scarface's bedroom and examines the dummy, which is laid in a very fancy bed and the room itself is very ostentatious. The dummy opens its eyes and Batman is scared at first but then he closes the eye lids again. At that point, the Ventriloquist comes into the room to make sure that Scarface is alright and Batman grabs him from behind and pulls him back to his bedroom, which Batman notices is much smaller and poor in comparison. Batman wants some answers, but Wesker is completely honest when he tells Batman that Scarface is the brains of the gang and that only he knows the location of all the stolen goods. Then, somehow, Scarface calls for the Ventriloquist from the other room and the man, completely scared of what Scarface might do to him if he learns that Batman is in the room, answers his boss' call. Batman puts a microphone bug in the bow tie of The Ventriloquist, while Scarface "tells" the Ventriloquist to close the window. As Wesker does per request, he notices Batman leaving the place.

Back in the Batcave, Batman shows Alfred the skills of the Ventriloquist in voice throwing and changing voice tones with help of the microphone. Alfred is amazed to learn that Scarface and the Ventriloquist are the same person and Batman explains that even the Batcomputer is confused. Batman himself knows a bit of ventriloquism from his training with Zatara, but he knows that The Ventriloquist can teach some lessons to Zatara. Batman also deduces that Wesker suffers from multiple personality disorder and that Scarface and The Ventriloquist are in fact two different persons in the same body. Batman keeps listening and Scarface tells the gang that last night he had a hunch that someone in the gang will double-cross him in the future, and also he tells them the plan to steal a shipment of platinum.

At night, Rhino and the other two men go to the ship and get inside it to steal some of the platinum just as Batman arrives and tries to stop them. Batman takes the man driving the boat and then he attacks Rhino before going for the last man standing However, Rhino recovers fast and pushes a pile of platinum bars on top of Batman, knocking him down.


Scarface is shot and "killed"

After a while, Batman recovers consciuosness and he finds himself hanging above some spikes carved out of old mannequins. Scarface talks to Batman and tells him that the robbery of platinum was a trap from the beginning since The Ventriloquist told them about his encounter with Batman and Scarface found the bug on the bow tie. To make some time, Batman tells Scarface that one of his gang members told him about his secret place and Scarface believes him since he had a hunch of a double-cross. Scarface is not sure of who could it be and Batman tells him that it is The Ventriloquist. Wesker turns Scarface to his face and he starts having a discussion with the dummy. Batman uses his own ventriloquism skills and says some offensive words to Scarface in the voice of Wesker, which only makes the mob boss angrier. He tells the henchmen to kill Wesker, but they aren't sure of it since without The Ventriloquist, there would be no Scarface. The doll turns again and decides to finish Wesker himself, as he pulls his automatic gun and points it to The Ventriloquist's face.

During all that time, Batman unties himself and tosses a Batarang to Scarface, taking off his hand and preventing him from Killing Wesker. The thugs notice Batman and they focus their attention on him but Batman takes them down with ease except for Rhino, who doesn't seem to be affected by Batman's attacks. In the end, Batman finds a way to knock Rhino by smashing his head on a shelf and causing it to fall down on top of him. The event causes The Ventriloquist to drop Scarface and at that moment, one of the thugs picks up the machine gun and starts shooting at Batman, where there was also the Scarface dummy. Batman gets cover behind the fallen shelf and the Scarface dummy is shot and completely destroyed in front of The Ventriloquist, who screams in desperation.


The New Scarface

When the shooting stops, Wesker gets near the broken doll and cries over his "dead boss".

The Ventriloquist is taken to Arkham Asylum and some time later, the doctors think that Wesker is making progress and has left his other personality in the past. However, during the crafting sessions, The Ventriloquist have been carving a new dummy, and when the face is almost completed, he takes a scalpel and carves a scar on the cheek.


Actor Role
Kevin Conroy Batman
Bob Hastings Commissioner Gordon
Efrem Zimbalist Jr. Alfred Pennyworth
Earl Boen Rhino
George Dzundza The Ventriloquist and Scarface
Joe Piscopo Manager; Mugsy (uncredited)
Neil Ross Ratso