DCAU #37: Joker's Wild

IN THIS ONE... A casino owner in debt makes his resort a target for the Joker to collect insurance.

CREDITS: Written by Paul Dini; directed by Boyd Kirkland.

REVIEW: AKOM simply has to go (and it's about to) because this is a perfectly good Joker story, with a somewhat adult twist about insurance fraud, that they've gone and mangled. Distorted faces, wobbly heads, bizarre gestures, off-model characters, missing frames, and at their very worst, elements completely obfuscated like the sign on the Jokermobile reading WAN THE CIRIN GNAL JOKERNOCILE instead of WIN THE ORIGINAL JOKERMOBILE. And it's really too bad because Dini and Kirkland are injecting the story with nice little visual moments, like Poison Ivy absent-mindedly stroking a plant in Arkham, or that Bugs Bunny cameo. The Joker-themed casino looks interesting, especially the giant Joker roulette, and even AKOM can't really ruin Batman's escape from its lethal embrace. Could have been cool.

The story keeps you guessing, at least. Why IS Kaiser goading the Joker with the obvious theft of his image? Could he really think his gaudy theme would charm Gotham's wealthy elite? Is the Joker playing a long game and engineering these events from afar to trigger an escape (his reason for swooning and getting dumped in the low-security infirmary? The truth is one you realize mere seconds before Batman makes his accusations. A fine mystery. And I like that the Joker is willing to listen to reason, though that doesn't exactly help him. Bruce Wayne plays an interesting part too, frustrating the Joker as a simple rube who doesn't know he's talking to the Clown Prince of Crime, though he knows very well who he's talking to. There's enough here that you can mostly ignore the bad animation.

IN THE COMICS: A newspaper clipping mention a war between the Joker and the Dragon Gang. While there is no entity with that exact name in the comics, it could be a reference to the Ghost Dragons, a gang the third Robin ran into the year before. The Jokermobile has appeared sporadically in the comics, from as early as Batman #37 (1946).

SOUNDS LIKE: Harry Hamlin, yet another L.A. Law stalwart (Michael Kuzak), voices Cameron Kaiser. Ernie Hudson from Ghostbusters has a small role as a security guard, but he'll be back as Ron Troupe on Superman. And we've also got Brion James as a henchman called Irving; he was Leon in Blade Runner, and would return to the DCAU as the Parasite.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium
- A fun Joker story with terrible animation.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't have the photoshop skills to do it, but I want to take that "Bruce Wayne has dyslexia" image and have "WAN THE CIRIN GNAL JOKERNOCILE" floating out of the book.

Siskoid said...

Hahaha! That would be, well, wild!

Andrew Gilbertson said...

I think this one was pretty forgettable. My evidence? Looking at that screenshot and having several seconds of 'what the heck was that?' before vaguely going 'Oh yeah, that one exists. There's a casino, and something that... spins at the end, I think.' So, first one you've reviewed that left almost no impression. :-)

 

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