Wild Cards | Episode 48

Aired: December 6, 2003
Heroes: Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, The Flash and Hawkgirl
Villains: The Joker, Harley Quinn & The Royal Flush Gang (King, Queen, Jack, Ten and Ace)
Objects: Power Ring, Nth Metal, Justice League Communication Link, Joker Card, Batwing, Javelin, Novelty Weapon, Laughing Gas, Flying Cards, and Utility Belt (Pliers, Grappling Gun, Binocular, Exploding Batarang, and Batarang)
Places: Justice League Watchtower and Las Vegas
Written By: Stan Berkowitz and Dwayne McDuffie
Directed By: Dan Riba

Wild Cards | Episode 49

Aired: December 6, 2003
Heroes: Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, The Flash and Hawkgirl
Villains: The Joker, Harley Quinn & The Royal Flush Gang (King, Jack, Ten and Ace)
Objects: Utility Belt (Batarang and Exploding Batarang), Justice League Communication Link, Nth Metal, Power Ring, Novelty Weapon, and Joker Card
Places: Las Vegas and Justice League Watchtower
Written By: Stan Berkowitz and Dwayne McDuffie
Directed By: Dan Riba


Review written by The Detective

A plot hole filled, awkwardly paced, ill logical, rousing good time. (Don't worry if I sound like I'm contradicting myself it all gets explained) The teaming of the Joker and the Royal Flush Gang is not so unheard of to make their pairing here seem a stroke of genius but it was a great move with a lot of potential. Throw in Las Vegas and you have what seems to be the formula for a perfect Joker episode.

Indeed the Joker aspect of this episode was probably the best. Here in true form is Batman's arch foe, the insane Joker. While this is not as goofy as some of his episodes, nor as sadistic as others, he strikes a nice balance here between his two extremes. His constant quips at the Justice League and rants about ratings were hilarious. Harley was a welcome sight though her role was minimal and predictable. (How many times now has she led Batman to Joker's hideout?)

But Harley isn't the only card up Joker's sleeve. He introduces the League to The Royal Flush Gang. But if you're expecting the aristocratic family of thieves from Batman Beyond (who was much closer to the original comics) then I'm afraid you're in for a surprise. Here they are nothing more than a pack of mutant misfits boasting the Teen Titans voice cast. In theory powering up the Flush Gang wasn't necessarily a bad idea but the Gang really loses a lot for it. I really enjoyed The Flush Gang of Batman Beyond and don't think they're lack of powers would have made them less of a credible threat. They did pack some very destructive weapons. The Flush Gang here had no depth, no flair, just brainless go to guys for the Joker. The plot twist with Ace to was expected. (The particular nature of the twist wasn't necessarily so but it was predictable that something was going on with here)

The Joker's whole scheme plays out differently than one might expect. In a clever satire of reality TV the Joker puts his whole plot on the airwaves. This was a change of style and though not badly somewhat awkwardly. It pushes the League more to the backdrop but at the same time allows the Joker to be...well the Joker. As previously stated his quips and rants were hilarious, especially the jabs at ratings and the censors. The counter got in the way but added to the whole feeling that you weren't watching a TV show, but actually watching this as if it were really happening on TV.

Then comes the rousing fun. The episode devolves to action sequences and that isn't a bad thing in my book. This is Justice League after all. I expect action. This kind of works against itself in a way though, because the hilarious Joker quips I mentioned earlier are constantly interrupting and I can't help but think the shoe horned origin could've been told in a better way. The second half had some more fun fights but then it turns into bizarre effects that were just...weird. Ace's powers seemed ill defined, does she cause permanent insanity or just temporary? What did she do to Joker? Was Joker lying when he said he was immune to her powers or is it a giant plot hole? Then of course all of the Leaguer's just kind of disappear with explanation....

But now it's time to get to the good part. The Hawkgirl and Green Lantern relationship, while an ongoing plot thread since "War World" has been enjoyable but it's come full circle in this episode. It didn't start out that good, just some cliche remarks (to think you almost died without me telling you....please that is so worn out) But at the end...wow. That was one awesome unmasking. The light coming in, the mask slowly being removed, just wow. And well....let's just say when they decided to do a facial design for Hawkgirl they didn't do too shabby. Definitely one of the best looking (all right I said it, I'm a nerd I admit it) DC animated characters. The ending was just well constructed and pulled off nicely.

Thanks to the ending which pushes it up a little I give it three stars.