“Wait, I’m too young to gamble!”

Batman Beyond volume 2 #23

DC Comics (September, 2001)

“Family Day”

WRITER: Paul Storrie

PENCILER: Craig Rosseau

INKER: Rob Leigh

COLORIST: Shannon Blanchard

SEPARATIONS: Digital Chameleon

LETTERER: John Costanza

ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Michael Wright

EDITOR: Bob Schreck

Terry isn’t happy about spending a day with his family after he hears about the Royal Flush Gang recruiting. This gets him in trouble with his mother but he also has to get Ten’s help in finding this new gang. Jack has declared himself the new King, which doesn’t sit well with the old King, who rats out one of the hideouts they found after Ten left to reform. With her help Batman brings the Gang down and after a conversation with Bruce tries to make up for flaking during the “family day”, inviting Bruce along because he’s become family. (If only he knew and boy do I not like that revelation.)

What they got right: I kind of like seeing Melanie as a crimefighter. Maybe she could become Batgirl Beyond someday? Maybe? Please? It’s not like Max is ever going to put a costume on. We also get a nice moment at the end where Terry tries to make up for his mistakes and forms a stronger connection to Bruce.

What they got wrong: This could just be me, but the theme of family feels like it’s just barely there but not quite connecting for some reason. Maybe with a bit more time to establish the theme it could have worked? They also don’t mention the tie-in comic idea that there’s a set of twins and nobody thinks to mention Ten’s aunt and uncle, who once tried to take over the roles. It’s not canon to the show but it is canon to the Adventures tie-in continuity.

Recommendation: A good story that’s worth looking into, even the theme doesn’t quite connect.

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About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

9 responses »

  1. Hyatt says:

    I don’t really like this one. It undoes the happy ending for Melanie at the end of her last episode, and IMO it undermines the lesson that the crime family setup is bad for all the kids. Having Jack leave the RFG because his sister cared enough to bail him out and get him a job sends the message that redemption isn’t just for hot girls who have a romantic thing with a hero, which is a story we could use more of.

    I also don’t want Melanie to become a crime fighter. Throughout her episodes what she always wanted most was the stability of a normal life, and being a crime fighter is antithetical to that. I want to see her settle down and go to school and become a juvenile defense lawyer, someone who looks to help children who were in the same position she used to be in and use the law to ensure they’re treated as victims and not accomplices like she was.

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    • You may have a point about Mel NOT becoming Batgirl. I just thought she and Batman worked well together in the story. I don’t think it undermines Melanie’s happy ending just because they decided Jack hating a dishwashing job, but you could make the case that it undoes Jack’s. Sometimes reforming isn’t for everyone, which is why it didn’t bother me as much as it does you, but if Melanie can get out of her family’s influence for good, maybe become a councilor for children of criminals or something, she might do more good and be happier.

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      • Hyatt says:

        I consider it undermining her happy ending because at the beginning she’s clearly not that happy. Her family is still stressing her out, even when she’s away from them, and she’s still pining over Terry and is bitter when she thinks he wants nothing to do with her. But by the end she’s reconnected with her brother and now has someone she cares about back in her life, which was much better than how she started the episode. Jack going back to crime robs her of that and leaves her lower than the start of “King’s Ransom” because she’s been betrayed and doesn’t even have the hope for her crush returning to her.

        I also want Jack to accept redemption because I consider what the RFG did with their children to be child abuse and he’s as much or even more of a victim of it as she was. He didn’t have the same longing for stability that she had, or as strong moral qualms against what their parents wanted them to do (though he did hesitate to follow an order to kill), but he got the lion’s share of the physical abuse. I also got the sense that he wasn’t really valued as more than space-filler; he’s literally named after his place in the Gang, King and Queen talk about Melanie taking over as Queen with her future husband as King as if it’s a foregone conclusion and Jack will never be King, and he doesn’t seem to have any special training or unique skills, compared to Melanie who’s the youngest but also the expert security cracker.

        I guess I should be glad that the story wasn’t about Melanie becoming Queen, which I’ve heard was the original idea for an episode before it got pushed to the comics and reworked into this. That wouldn’t just have been undermining her happy ending, it would’ve undermined her entire character arc.

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        • When I thought about it I kind of thought that’s where you were going with “Melanie’s redemption” and that does actually make sense. It does leave her alone again since Terry is back with Dana and she doesn’t have anyone else. Maybe if a future story had given her someone else that could be fixed but I don’t think she shows up again after this story. So on that level, yes it is a shame.

          As for Jack you make good points as well and I do love a good redemption story. However, if I may defend the decision narratively Jack taking over the Gang as King is in fitting with his character. With his parents locked away (one of the rules of secession) and “Ten” wanting nothing to do with it I could see Jack so connected to this life after the abuse and just general indoctrination that didn’t stick with his sister that he would see an opening to take over and start his own gang. He even get a girlfriend in his own Queen (although I wonder what Chet, the guy operating the damaged Ace robot in the story, would do if they ever repaired it), and a replacement Jack who seemed more than happy to take over the role. This is the only family and life he knows and while I would want to see him find something better I also understand why he would go back. As far as undoing his happy ending, maybe because it isn’t as bad as what they did to Langstrom/Man-Bat in the “present day” tie-ins (although they did finally fix that mistake) but I’m at least accepting it even if I would wish something better for him.

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        • Wait, they were planning to have Melanie fall as the new Queen? Who would be King? Yeah, I am glad they didn’t go that route. That would be ruining her character growth and would be a narrative mistake. The only reason I don’t see modern DC do that is that their Batman Beyond still focuses on Bruce’s life last I saw.

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        • Hyatt says:

          That’s what TVTropes says. They link to a podcast interview with Glen Murakami that supposedly discusses that and other abandoned story ideas, but the link is dead and I haven’t been able to find it uploaded elsewhere.

          DC doesn’t seem likely to make Melanie Queen; at the moment they’re having her as not-Batgirl with her criminal past mainly used to justify her skills (when not being damselled for Terry to scream over) and for Bruce to reject her as an official partner. IIRC neither 2.0 nor the current run have featured Jack or even explained what happened to him, they just have Melanie on her own until she re-enters Terry’s life.

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        • Well, Terry has a criminal past and “uses” the Batman identity to sort of repent for sins past. As far as not letting Ten in, he didn’t let Spoiler in for the longest time either so who knows?

          If you ever do find that interview again let me know. There might be some article fodder in there but beyond (no pun intended) that it sound like a fascinating interview.

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        • Hyatt says:

          That’s why Bruce’s distrust of Melanie is so arbitrary; Terry was also a criminal, and not a coerced and reluctant one like her, but Bruce doesn’t bring that up. He also doesn’t bring up the more valid point that she re-entered Terry’s life by breaking into his room in Wayne Manor to steal a photo, which is stalker behavior. She’s also stated to be a crimefighter primarily to impress Terry, and personal redemption is a secondary goal which she also measures based on whether Terry forgives her or not.

          The podcast was called Cast of Characters, if you want to try searching. My Google-fu wasn’t strong enough to find places where it’s actively hosted, just ones where it used to be.

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        • I know Bruce is regular DC continuity (which the new comic takes more from than the DCAU version) is slow to take new people in but it seems like they are messing with her character. I see why you’re against her being Batgirl Beyond. Do DC writers even care anymore? Does DiDio just hire the most non-DC fanboys he can?

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