DC Animated Universe

"Ace in the Hole" is the twenty-sixth and final episode of the second season of Batman Beyond. It shows the origin of Bruce Wayne's faithful dog Ace and how Bruce took in the dog.


Terry drives Bruce to his chiropractor's appointment and then takes Ace for a walk while he is waiting. Suddenly, Ace catches sight of a strange man and becomes wild, dragging Terry along while chasing after the man, who flees. Terry is unable to stop him, and Ace rips off his leash and disappears.

Bruce confronts Terry, who is baffled as to why Ace chased after the man. Based on his description, Bruce makes a composite drawing of the man's face and matches it against criminal records. He soon comes up with a match: Ronny Boxer, who has been arrested before on suspicions of animal cruelty and illegal gambling — in other words, he is a promoter of illegal dog fights. Both Bruce and Terry are deeply disgusted.

Bruce reports Ace missing to the police and the animal control authorities. Terry wonders why Bruce isn't more worried, but he says Ace will be alright. Terry reveals that he's got his own scheme for finding Boxer. He's picked up the names of some thugs associated with dog fights, and plans to approach one posing as a kid with a vicious dog he wants to sell. For appearances, he wraps a bandage around his arm, claiming his aggressive dog attacked him. Amused, the thug tells him where to show up.

Boxer Ace plans

Boxer has plans for the pup Ace.

While Terry is absent, Bruce stands in the manor gazing at Ace's bone and dish by the fireplace and softly wonders what has become of his dog...

Ace's story is told. As a puppy from a batch, he is sold to Boxer illegally by a corrupt pound attendant, Maddie, who then comments that the pup has large "mitts". Boxer simply smiles and says he'll make him a champ.

Ace is raised to maturity in Boxer's captivity, deprived and tormented to make him as vicious as possible. In his first fight, he is being matched against a much larger beast, which Boxer confidently tells his partner that, should Ace not win, he'll just send him back to the pound. However, just before the fight begins, the police raid the arena and arrest Boxer and his associates. Ace escapes and lives as a stray for some time after that.

Ace meets Bruce

Ace meets Bruce.

One snowy night, while Bruce is making his regular pilgrimage to Crime Alley, he is accosted by a Jokerz member, looking to mug him. Bruce tosses him away, but as he turns his back, the angry Jokerz member lunges at him. Ace appears and pounces on the Joker, who clubs him. Angered, Bruce gives the Joker another thrashing and sends him packing. Seeing that Ace has been hurt, Bruce carries him back to his car and his new home.

In the present, Terry's sting has led him to Boxer's hideout, which is empty when he enters it as Batman. He sees what looks like a chemistry lab, and large containers of Cerestone — the growth hormone. Terry is even more revolted.

Ace wanders the streets for a while but is captured by animal control. Unfortunately, his captor is Boxer's corrupt attendant, who is impressed by his size and strength. He removes Ace's tags and passes him off as a homeless stray before selling him to Boxer for a high price. Boxer recognizes Ace and laughs, saying they must be meant for each other.

Terry tracks down Boxer's latest illegal arena, carved out of the belly of a cargo ship, but Boxer sees him coming and lays a trap. As soon as Terry enters the arena, Boxer seals the doors and introduces him to an early, failed experiment: an unrecognizable beast that may once have been a bulldog, but is now deformed, vicious, and the size of a bull elephant.

Aces Faces Cesrestone Dog

Ace faces the Cerestone dog.

Terry tries to calm the beast, but it is rabid. As he evades its attacks, an impact against the walls of the arena loosens the locks on Ace's nearby cage. Terry manages to hogtie the beast and Boxer decides to shoot Terry with a gun. Ace manages to break free and tackles Boxer, then chases after him as he runs in panic to the ship's stern. The beast manages to snap the bonds and badly damages Terry's suit. Ace returns and jumps down through a hole cut in the arena's ceiling, biting at the beast just as it has swallowed Terry whole.

Ace in the Hole

Ace reunites with Bruce.

In shock, it regurgitates Terry, who takes advantage of the beast's distraction to hook a grappling rope around it and attach the other end to his suit's belt, electrocuting the beast. When Terry emerges from the arena, he follows Ace to the ship's stern, where Boxer is dangling off a rail above the churning propellers, yelling for help. Terry and Ace return to Wayne Manor, where Ace runs gleefully into his waiting master's arms.


Background information[]

Home video releases[]

Production notes[]

  • The episode "Big Time", in which Cerestone is first introduced, was produced before this episode, but it aired much later. This is why Bruce and Terry talk about Cerestone as they already know what it does.


  • This episode establishes that Ace is a "Dane mix".


Actor Role
Will Friedle Terry McGinnis / Batman
Kevin Conroy Bruce Wayne
Sean Donnellan Virtual Announcer
Peter Onorati Ozzie
Bill Smitrovich Ronny Boxer
Chick Vennera Chauffeur
Frank Welker Ace
Jim Wise Maddie
Tasia Valenza Female Cop


Bruce Wayne: What did he do to you, boy?