The episode begins with an episode of ''The Gray Ghost'', a television series Bruce watched as a boy. In this particular episode ("The MadBomber") a series of bombings rock the city, with a ransom of a million dollars demanded to prevent future attacks.

Cut to present day Gotham, where a series of bombings rock the city, with a ransom of a million dollars demanded to prevent future attacks. Batman realizes that the bombings are the same as the ones in ''The Gray Ghost'', but since he cannot remember exactly how they happened (as he fell asleep before the episode was over), he begins to investigate what the connection is.

His attempts to locate the old episode fails, as he learns the studio behind it burned down in a fire that also destroyed the entire ''Gray Ghost'' archive. He instead tracks down the show's main actor, Simon Trent, who is now a broke recluse who cannot find work since the role typecast him for life. In fact, he's just had to sell off almost all his remaining ''Gray Ghost'' memorabilia to toy collector Ted Dymer just to pay the rent.

Batman buys the merchandise and returns it to Trent's apartment as a goodwill gesture, along with a note to meet. When Trent realizes it's the ''Dark Knight'' looking for him, he's understandably nervous, but agrees. No sooner do they meet than another bombing strikes Gotham, with Trent taking the opportunity to flee. Batman is not deterred, however, and waits for Trent at his apartment. Angry at being stalked, Trent threatens to call the police, but Batman believes Trent knows something about the bombings and convinces him to help. Trent reveals he has film reels of ''all'' of the old show episodes and reluctantly gives "The Mad Bomber" to Batman, before telling him to leave him alone.

Bruce watches the film Trent gave him, with fond memories of watching ''The Gray Ghost'' with his father. Watching the "Mad Bomber" episode, he discovers toy RC cars delivered the bombs, something Bruce finds unbelievable. Nonetheless, Batman calls Commissioner Gordon with the information, who positions police and SWAT outside Gotham Library, the next bomb target.

Sure enough, the toy cars appear. The first one is sniped. Batman takes out the second with a flamethrower, but the third escapes. Batman chases it down but finds it was only a decoy. More bomb-cars are sent after Batman, but someone drops a rope for him to escape: it's Simon Trent, dressed as the Gray Ghost. Batman shows him the toy car and asks for his help in investigating. Intrigued, Trent agrees.

Trent is taken to the Batcave, which leaves him in awe, as it is modeled after the Gray Ghost's lair. Batman had in fact used him as an influence, and shows Trent the memorabilia he has collected in a shrine. The computer picks up fingerprints on the toy car belonging to Simon Trent, but he denies being involved. Under interrogation he realizes that Ted Dymer, to whom he'd sold some of his toy cars earlier, must be the Mad Bomber.

Batman confronts the collector. He reveals he turned to crime to fund his toy collecting, and sets more bombs after Batman. Trent smashes through a window and knocks Dymer into a bookshelf, which causes the toy shop to catch fire and explode. Batman saves him, before he breaks down in front of Batman and Trent over losing his precious toys.

When the incident hits the papers, the Gray Ghost hailed as a hero for assisting Batman in capturing the Mad Bomber. Trent is filled with new purpose at his revitalized image; he also hands over his film reels of ''The Gray Ghost'' to be published to video, restoring his income and career. At a later signing event, Bruce asks Trent for his autograph and hints that he is really Batman.

!! Tropes in this episode include:
* AdamWesting: With the real Creator/AdamWest, no less, playing a character very similar to his [[Series/{{Batman}} live-TV Batman]].
* AscendedFanboy: As a kid Batman was a big ''Gray Ghost'' fan. He was strongly influenced by the show and the character when he created his Dark Knight persona, right down to modeling the Batcave after the Gray Ghost lair.
* BadassLongcoat: The Gray Ghost costume includes a trench coat, along with goggles and a fedora.
* BecomingTheMask: Trent becomes the Gray Ghost for real near the end of the episode. Batman is thrilled.
* BeneathSuspicion: The HiddenVillain MadBomber is [[ChekhovsGunman the young toy collector]] that bought Simon Trent's ''Gray Ghost'' memorabilia earlier in the episode. When Simon Trent had his EurekaMoment, he cannot believe it:
-->'''Simon Trent:''' But I'm not the Mad Bomber, Batman. I'm not! I sold my ''Gray Ghost'' cars months ago to pay for my... ''No, it can't be him.''
* BrokenPedestal: Batman was such a fan of the fictional Gray Ghost, even ''he'' has a hard time with the realization that his childhood hero was just an actor in a role who's become a bitter and jaded man.
** RebuiltPedestal: Of course, Trent comes through in the end, actually becoming the hero he never really was before.
* ButIPlayOneOnTV: An in-universe example: Simon Trent played a Batman-like superhero named the Gray Ghost in an immensely popular TV show which little Bruce was a big fan of. Decades later, Trent is now facing poverty partly because he cannot get any roles because [[IAmNotSpock everyone still thinks of him as the Gray Ghost]]. Then Batman comes along on a case and ropes him in to assist him. Much to his own surprise, Trent makes a passable superhero (and more importantly, learns that the Big Badass Batman was primarily ''inspired'' by his portrayal of one). A fairly meta example, when you consider the [[AdamWesting actor voicing Trent]] is none other than Creator/AdamWest.
* CaptainErsatz:
** The Gray Ghost is inspired by Radio/TheShadow, who himself also inspired Batman.
** The Gray Ghost is also a CaptainErsatz of early DC pulp-hero the Crimson Avenger, who wore a Shadow-like costume. Unfortunately, Batman supplanted him a year or so after his debut.
* CrackIsCheaper: An in-universe example--Ted Dymer turned to crime to finance his toy-collecting habit.
* CoolOldGuy: Simon Trent, who in turn is voiced by real life Cool Old Guy Creator/AdamWest.
* DarkerAndEdgier: Simon Trent/the Gray Ghost, who is not only less concerned with criminals' welfare than Batman, but is darker than Creator/AdamWest's portrayal of Batman.
* TheDogWasTheMastermind: The HiddenVillain MadBomber is [[ChekhovsGunman the young toy collector]] that bought Simon Trent's ''Gray Ghost'' memorabilia earlier in the episode.
-->'''Simon Trent:''' What did you find?\\
'''Batman:''' Fingerprints on the toy car. And they belong to you, Simon Trent!\\
'''Simon Trent:''' That's not possible.\\
'''Batman:''' Your prints are on this car. You had the only copy of the show. The Mad Bomber followed the show step by step.\\
'''Simon Trent:''' But I'm not the Mad Bomber, Batman. I'm not. I sold my ''Gray Ghost'' cars months ago to pay for my... ''[[BeneathSuspicion No, it can't be him.]]''
* EarlyBirdCameo: The below FreezeFrameBonus takes place two episodes before Hagen makes his [[Recap/BatmanTheAnimatedSeriesE20FeatOfClayPart1 official debut]] in the series.
* EurekaMoment: Simon realizes the toy collector is the Mad Bomber, before ''Batman'' no less.
* FreezeFrameBonus: At the end of the episode, look at the top of the blown-up ''People'' magazine cover when they pan up to show it clearly, and you'll see "Matt Hagen: Man of a Thousand Faces" across the top above the People logo.
* {{Homage}}: The plot device of remote-controlled RC car bombs comes from ''Film/TheDeadPool''.
* IWantYouToMeetAnOldFriendOfMine: The Gray Ghost (a thinly veiled black and white ''Series/{{Batman}}'' TV show copy) is voiced by Adam West.
* InkSuitActor: The toy collector-cum-Mad Bomber is one for ''Creator/BruceTimm himself'', who also voices the character!
* JadedWashout: Simon Trent, the typecast actor who played the Gray Ghost, years after the show was cancelled.
* KillItWithFire: Batman bursts out of the Gotham Library with a flamethrower to destroy one of the car bombs.
* TheKnightsWhoSaySquee: Subdued, as is most of Batman's emotion usually, but Batman and Gray Ghost aren't this trope's image for nothing.
* LoonyFan: Oddly enough, subverted; although Ted Dymer is something of a self-deprecating joke on behalf of Creator/BruceTimm and the rest of the creative team, and still enthusiastically buys Trent's old props despite low customer demand, he's willing to destroy the remaining cars in his scheme. Even despite being inspired by the old show and the toys themselves to re-enact the fictional Mad Bomber's scheme, his goal was never to bring the Gray Ghost out of "retirement" for a fight--he just needed money for his true love of toy collecting. In other words, he's much more loon than fan.
* MadBomber: Played straight. It is even the name of the villain.
* MeaningfulEcho: Invoked. When Trent visits the Batcave, Batman shows him his old Gray Ghost memorabilia and tells him "As a kid, I used to watch you with my father. The Gray Ghost was my hero". Later on, when Bruce meets Trent at the signing event, he says the same exact phrase, cluing Trent to his identity.
* MythologyGag: Batman says the Gray Ghost is the hero he aspired to be as a child. Sure enough, without Radio/TheShadow, Batman might not have existed, and without Creator/AdamWest he might never have become as popular as he is today.
* OldSuperhero: Sort of. Trent is merely an old actor who played a superhero. Until he takes up the mantle of said hero for real.
* RageAgainstTheReflection: When Trent learns he's just been turned down for a role again, he smashes most of his ''Gray Ghost'' memorabilia collection in a rage, before collapsing in the corner of his apartment, [[TearJerker sobbing]].
* RedHerring: The show makes it look like the video store manager is a suspect.
* ShoutOut: While the Gray Ghost is similar to Batman, his appearance and style is closer to Radio/TheShadow, one of Batman's chief influences at the time of his creation.
* TypeCasting: In-Universe: Simon Trent was unable to get any parts since a lot of people (the ones who still even remember) still see him as the Gray Ghost. At the end of the episode, things are looking up for him (later, a ''Grey Ghost'' movie marquee appears in the ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague'' episode [[Recap/JusticeLeagueUnlimitedS2E13Epilogue "Epilogue"]]).
* TheUnmasking: When Batman shows Trent the ''Gray Ghost'' shrine he says, "As a kid, I used to watch you with my father. The Gray Ghost was my hero." He says the same thing as Bruce at an autograph signing.
* YouHaveGotToBeKiddingMe: Bruce's reaction to the toy cars.