In preparation for the release of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, we are celebrating the rich history of DC Comics by detailing their characters’ history and legacy through animation. In something we’re calling, The DC Animated Chronicles.
Justice League Wild Cards is an interesting pick. It is far from The Joker’s first appearance in this universe (appearing in the first aired episode), and it isn’t even his first encounter with the Justice League (as he teams up with Lex Luthor’s Injustice League in season one). Instead, I picked Wild Cards because it is the Joker’s FINAL appearance in the universe and the only time he really kind of flies solo against the Justice League. How does that venture go?
The Joker creates havoc in Las Vegas with his Royal Flush Gang.
Wild Cards wears many hats. Being the penultimate, action-oriented, episode of season 2. It begins to tie up loose threads that would eventually pay off in the season finale.
In addition to that, it kind of pays back the future with the origins for the Royal Flush Gang, which were a staple of the previous series, Batman Beyond.
Beyond (no pun) all of that though, I think it was trying to make a compelling story around one of DC’s biggest and most colorful villain against the Justice League, and it absolutely works in this context.
The Joker’s scheme is crazy enough to fit his character, and broad enough to offer the entire Justice League something to do for 30 minutes or so. Ultimately, the episode does come down to a battle between Batman and The Joker, but I heard they were destined to do this for all-eternity.
I think the format of a pseudo-reality TV show also really helped the episode as it gave it some much needed structure and cohesiveness into what could have been several disjointed mini-arcs. But with The Joker and Harley Quinn providing commentary it really helps elevate the entire experience.
The real weight of this episode though comes from the climax of the Green Lantern/Hawkgirl relationship that had been brewing for most of the second season. With their guard down, they finally embrace their feelings. If only it lasted…
Sadly, this week’s memorable scene(s) seems hard to find. There’s a running joke throughout the episodes with an old lady on the slot machine who just won’t leave until she cashes out.
It’s a cute recurring joke, and it does eventually… Pay-Out!