CREDITS: Written by Hilary J. Bader and Shaun McLaughlin; directed by Curt Geda.
REVIEW: Now THIS is a Jokerz story that makes them seem dangerous and sinister, despite the school setting and the head Joker of the story reminding one more of Casey Jones than the Clown Prince of Crime. This particular cell of the street gang has cool gimmicks - boxing glove guns, biting chattering teeth - but its leader, "Terminal", has a cold deadpan delivery and the original Joker's chaotic unpredictability. Also, no sense of humor. Maybe he's not in the right gang. Well, he's also in with the popular kids at Terry's school as Carter Wilson, which shouldn't be too hard to figure out even before his admittedly cool reveal. His problem: One student is doing better than him academically, and it could cost him the Valedictorian speech. You know your parents are jerks when you're a fraction of a percent off a perfect score on your SATs (sorry, GATs) and they're still disappointed someone did marginally better. For me, it was sending a letter to my dad telling him I didn't believe in competition with others, only with myself, at age 11. For Carter, it's joining a crazy street gang. Almost the same.
The student in his way is Maxine "Max" Gibson who doesn't really care about grades (girl after my own heart); she's super-smart AND athletic, runs TOWARDS danger - basically superhero material - and on her spare time, crunching numbers to figure out who Batman is. For fun! When she becomes a target, she turns her program to ferreting out students who might be moonlighting as Jokerz, and Terry turns up at the top of the list. He's obviously leading a double life!
After surviving several attempts on her life, including one involving janitorial robots Joker-moded to spray acid, Max figures out that Terry is Batman, and she immediately becomes his ally, not just in the fight on crime, but in keeping his secret identity intact. Dana's got TWO liars to contend with now. This isn't the making of a new Robin - Max warns against it - but Terry definitely gains his own version of Alfred, even if her origin is closer to that of the comics' Batgirl. I really like her and can't wait to see her have cool moments as the series progresses.
SOUNDS LIKE: Terminal is played by Michael Rosenbaum, the Lex Luthor of the Smallville TV show, and the Flash of the Justice League cartoon. Jill Eikenberry (L.A. Law) plays his mom.
REWATCHABILITY: High - GREAT Jokerz for once, and the all-important introduction (if not first appearance) of Max Gibson.