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Axis Chemicals

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Axis Chemicals
1989AxisChemicals3
General Information
Official name: Axis Chemical Co.
Created by: Anton Furst
First Appearance: Batman
Country: USA
Locale: Gotham City


Axis Chemicals is a chemical plant in Gotham City. It was where Jack Napier was submerged into a vat of toxic chemicals, and was transformed into the Joker.


History

The plant allegedly had ties to Gotham mob boss Carl Grissom, and was a frequent target of investigations by the Gotham Police Department. Grissom, worried about the continued police presence, sends his hitman Jack Napier to destroy any evidence of Axis Chemicals' ties to his empire. This was actually part of a plan by Grissom to have Jack and his men killed in revenge for Jack having an affair with his mistress, Alicia Hunt.

When Jack and his men arrive at the plant, the group breaks in the plant office and breaks open a vault containing the information. After his men remove the locks protecting the vault, Jack finds smoke coming out of the files, indicating that they had already been destroyed. Realizing that his operation was a set up, Jack warns his men to watch for anything suspicious.

At that point, the police, led by Lieutenant Eckhardt and Commissioner Gordon arrive, having been tipped off by Grissom after sending Jack's gang to the plant. The thugs open fire on the police, and Napier makes a hasty escape. Batman soon arrives and assists the police by stealthily taking down several of Napier's men.

Napier turns up several of the plant's machines to dangerous levels to try and create enough chaos to escape, inadvertently causing several of the vats to fill up with an uncontrolled mixture of hazardous chemicals. He makes up to the final gantry, just beyond which is the exit door. Free to escape, Napier prepares to kill Commissioner Gordon. Batman soon stops him, but Bob the Goon puts Gordon at gunpoint - forcing Batman to let Napier escape. The gangster does not leave, but first shoots Lieutenant Eckhart in revenge, killing him then he attempts to shoot Batman. The Caped Crusader deflects the bullet into Napier's face, causing him to tumble over the side.

But rather than fall, Napier grabs the gantry. Batman tries to pull him up, but can't, and Napier plummets into the vat of chemicals below. He sinks into the green slime, quickly disappearing and being presumed dead by onlookers.

Commissioner Gordon orders his cops to get Batman. However, the Dark Knight creates a smoke cloud and disappears into the pipeworks.

We soon see Batman watching over the plant, lit from behind the luminous Axis sign. After he leaves, a deathly white hand rises from the murky wastewater underneath the plant's drainage pipes, and several playing cards float to the surface.

Batman realizes that the only way to stop the Joker's master plan is to destroy the nexus of the poisonous products - Axis Chemicals. Charging in with the Batmobile, Batman destroys the facility, taking with it the Smylex toxins and most of the Joker's goons.

Behind the scenes

While the external set is a model, the internal shots of Axis Chemicals were shot within the now-closed Acton Lane Power Station, which was originally a coal-fired power station near Wembley in west London.

Commissioned in 1899 and closed in 1983, in 1985, the disused power station was used as a filming location for Aliens, where it was significantly renovated and stood in for the interior of the Hadley's Hope Atmosphere Processing Plant.
After filming was completed, the set was left abandoned as it was and was later used as a filming location for Batman (1989), where it stood in for the internal shots of Axis Chemicals.

At several points in Batman (1989), elements of the Atmosphere Processing Plant from Aliens are easy to make out, most notably during the shootout inside Axis Chemicals. In particular, the stairways that Ellen Ripley had to negotiate while searching for Newt are used by Jack Napier in his attempt to escape during the firefight.

Trivia

  • The factory, in name and appearance, is comparable to Ace Chemicals from the comics.
  • In Batman (1989), a map of the Axis Chemicals plant was actually a map of the Capitol Hill neighborhood in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.
  • Axis Chemicals was mentioned in Batman: The Animated Series episodes "Nothing To Fear" and "Batgirl Returns".

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