DCAU #254: Judgment Day

IN THIS ONE... A new vigilante called The Judge goes after Batman's rogues gallery.

CREDITS: Written by Rich Fogel and Alan Burnett; directed by Curt Geda.

REVIEW: Gotham has a new vigilante and he's helping the show give several villains a send-off before the series ends. Penguin, Croc, Riddler and Two-Face all make their final appearances in the New Adventures. With extreme prejudice. They go out severely injured or almost killed. The Judge is actually a pretty cool character, with a terrifying look, and several weapons that fit his theme - Blind Justice's sword, a giant gavel, and magnetized manacles. The action is lively and nicely animated, and includes interesting fight environments, visual puns like the Riddler getting the book thrown at him, and even the rarely seen moment of Bruce Wayne changing into Batman.

What makes the episode, however, is the mystery of who the Judge is. Batman doesn't rely on detective work as much in this era, but there's enough of it here to make the antagonist's secret identity the focus. Corrupt councilman Corcoran is an early suspect, even if he needs to pull a Tyler Durden to manage some of his scenes. And why not a split personality? Two-Face is in this story, and the  Judge is already stealing his judicial background. And that's the other thought that comes over you watching this. What if Two-Face has grown a third personality? Or is it another character entirely? A disabused Gotham judge who has yet to be introduced? Perhaps Corcoran's father. All we have to go on is that the big gavel was a Marshall Award that went to a judge or lawyer whose name makes Batman and Alfred gasp.

Well spoiler, it WAS Two-Face, or the part of him that thinks he's guilty as sin and deserves, like the rest of his cohorts, to be executed. No doubt something grown out of his Harvey self who, by now, must resent Two-Face's hold on him. His alibi is that Two-Face was a target, but in that sequence is the key that reveals his guilt. The Judge knew too much about Dent's security systems and escape plans. The real fake-out was those discs Corcoran gave the Judge, making us think maybe that information was on there. Wouldn't have made a lot of sense, but it's enough to trick you. And it's great to see Corcoran get his own comeuppance after using the Judge for political advantage; you always knew his slimy side would come out and make him a target.

IN THE COMICS: The Judge was never turned into a mainstream DC character, though Batman did go up against a villain called the Judge way back in Detective Comics #441 (1974).

SOUNDS LIKE: Malachi Throne (nerds like me know him best as Commodore José Mendez in Star Trek's "The Menagerie" or as Spock's friend Senator Pardek in TNG's "Unification") supplies the Judge's voice. Councilman Corcoran is played by Steven Weber (Wings).

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - Nice action, but Judgment Day has an engaging mystery, which is something that's been missing from the show.

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