DC Animated Universe
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"April Moon" is the twenty-third episode of the second season of Batman Beyond. It depicts the emergence of a new gang of ruffians cybernetically enhanced with weapons powerful enough to take on Batman.

Plot[]

A car lands near Gotham Jewelry Planet and four teenagers climb out. One of them is nervous, but their leader insists that they have nothing to worry about. The leader promptly renames himself "Bullwhip" and proceeds to crack a steel whip that emerges from his wrist. He calls to another member of his gang who reveals he has a retractable suit of armor granting him the capability to smash through a steel door. A third member of the gang has chain saws extend from his knees and wrists and uses them to cut through a safe. Batman arrives during the robbery and starts to take on the gang. At first, he has the upper hand and even manages to greatly disable the saw wielding member by smashing one of his knee saws. However, the one member left behind to stand guard attacks Batman with piston-covered fists. The rest of the gang get back up and manage to beat their enemy. However, Batman discovers a servomotor left behind from the injured gang member and takes it with him.

Gang upgrades

Dr. Corso attends to Kneejerk.

Elsewhere, an old man sits up late at night and is surprised to find the gang came to him. He mentions that their being around him wasn't part of the bargain, but Bullwhip insists that the bargain is anything he wants it to be. The doctor tends to the injured teenager, but scolds him on leaving the servomotor behind, as it could easily be traced back to the one who equipped it into the youngster.

Meanwhile, in the Batcave, Terry shows the servomotor to Bruce and comments on how it looks like one of the servomotors in his costume. Bruce agrees and explains that he bought them from a doctor, who had been revolutionary in making artificial prosthetics, Dr. Peter Corso. After taking a look at the servomotor through a microscope, Bruce's suspicions are confirmed, and Terry believes that "the good doctor isn't so good anymore". Bruce mentions that there's something strange about the circuitry and sends Terry after Corso.

Corso finishes up his work for tending teenager's knees and is offered jewels by Bullwhip, but refuses them as that's not what he wants. Bullwhip tells him to be patient and he'll get what he wants when he's sure they don't need the doctor anymore. Shortly after the gang leaves, Batman arrives through the window and confronts Corso, who refuses to explain his actions and in a surprise attack, he injects Batman with a powerful sedative.

In the morning, Batman wakes up to discover that the doctor and all his equipment are gone.

Angered over his failure, Terry goes to Max's apartment and complains to Max about his mistake. Max, however, points out that Dr. Corso could've easily killed Batman, but didn't. This is evidence that he may not be as bad as Terry first believed. Looking to test this theory and lure the doctor into a trap, Max makes a phone call.

Elsewhere, Corso angrily complains that he can no longer go back to his own home, but Bullwhip is unsympathetic. Corso gets a call and at first insists that he's taking a leave of absence, but after hearing about an emergency involving "both legs," he comes out of his "leave" and heads out to make a house-call, leaving Bullwhip suspicious.

Corso Explination

Corso explains everything to Batman.

At West End Inn, Corso makes his way to the address to see his patient, but finds to his dismay that he's been tricked. Batman confronts him, but the doctor starts to cry, saying "They're going to kill her". Corso explains that he is unwillingly working with the gang because they kidnapped his wife and hands his picture of April to Batman. Corso begins to narrate his life story to Batman...

Twenty years ago, Corso spent his life in which all he had was his work and helping other people. In the morning, he meets his new nurse, April who offered him a bowl of cereal for breakfast. He was charmed by her appearance and her cheery outlook on life.
Within a couple of weeks, Corso gave April to clean the graduated cylinder and noticed the ring which the Corso put it in. Realizing that he was going to propose to her, she rushed to him and kissed him on the floor, viciously accepted.
Six months ago, Corso met Harold (Bullwhip), who had been a patient at that time and suggested that Corso could create weaponized prosthetics, thereby making people into powerful cyborgs and unstoppable thieves. Offhandedly, Harold suggested a partnership, which would be monetarily profitable. However, Corso wasn't interested as he already had everything he wanted.
A week later, Corso came back home late from an emergency call and calling April out, only to see that someone broke into his home. Alarmed, he went to his laboratory to find April, only to discover Harold and his gang of thugs are present here. He was restrained by Harold's gang and begins to question Harold about April's whereabouts. Harold hands his phone over to doctor to hear April's voice through the phone, but quickly snatched it. Harold blackmailed Corso into enhancing them with bionic weapons in exchange for the promise of doctor's wife's safety and eventual return to him. Feeling he had no choice, Corso agreed in handshake.

Examining a photograph of April under a full moon, Batman muses about the song "April Moon." The doctor confirms that "April Moon" was the couple's song. Batman understands Corso's motives but is still angry about what he has done. Corso, however, explains that he built fail-safe devices into the gang's servomotors. Corso intends to activate the devices once he gets April back and thereby destroy the gang. All the same, Corso refuses to tell Batman how to activate the fail-safes, fearing Batman would risk April's life with a rescue attempt. Before Batman can further interrogate Corso, the gang arrives. Corso immediately tells the gang that Batman has ambushed him, and the gang prepares to attack Batman.

Working together, the gang overpowers Batman, who narrowly escapes the encounter by using a smoke bomb.

The gang departs for their hideout with Batman in pursuit. Bruce tells Terry that he found out about the cut-off circuits and that they're voice activated. Unfortunately, Bruce doesn't know the password. However, Bruce does suggest that the "fail-safe" is an uncommon word or phrase and that is likely significant to the doctor.

Batman reaches the gang and prepares to confront them in their hideout, but discovers that Corso followed him as he suspected Batman's strategy. The doctor still won't tell Batman the secret word. Immediately after, however, they're both surprised to see that April is with the gang, but she's not a hostage, she's there willingly. After receiving a jewel from Bullwhip, April coldly laughs that the doctor could never afford to give her such luxuries. Worse still, he sees April kiss Bullwhip.

Corso cries out while Batman tries to prevent his outburst from alerting the gang. As they struggle, Batman is unable to stop the heartbroken doctor from knocking over some garbage cans. The gang hears the commotion and ventures outside to investigate. Batman pushes the doctor down a cellar to hide him. The gang spots Batman and attacks. Once again, the gang has an advantage in spite of a few setbacks and after they stun him, Kneejerk prepares to decapitate him. However, Batman thinks back to the picture he was shown of April in front of the moon. Realizing the password, Batman whispers out "April Moon". The fail-safe switches activate and Kneejerk's servomotors completely self-destruct, which Batman repeats with Knux and Terrapin in turn. Three of the gang members are rendered helpless, but Bullwhip sees what's going on and retreats into the shadows before Batman can focus on him.

Later at Wayne Manor, Terry tells Bruce about the incident and explains that Bullwhip, April, and Corso have all disappeared. Bruce assures Terry that they'll be back. However, when Bruce learns that Bullwhip doesn't know Corso was present and saw April kissing him, to Terry's surprise he theorizes that Bullwhip actually may not be coming back after all...

Corso Final Operation

"No holding back..."

In Corso's new clinic, Bullwhip is on the operating table, assuring Corso that he'll have his wife back after he performs one last "upgrade" to make Bullwhip stronger than ever. On the surface, Corso appears to accept this bargain. Bullwhip instructs Corso not to "hold back" when working on him. Corso dons his surgical gear and puts Bullwhip under anesthesia. The last thing Bullwhip sees before losing consciousness is a drill moving closer to his face as the doctor ominously says, "I understand. No holding back...".

Background information[]

Home video releases[]

Production notes[]

  • James Tucker received story credit for this episode, and he mentioned some of his ideas during the initial scripting of the episode. "One idea was for a cybernetic doctor who takes kids and modifies them and then hires them out as supervillains. It was kind of a jab at the William Morris Agency. Another one that showed up in [the episode] was one for a Shriek story, where the idea was that the story would lead you to think that Shriek is manipulating this woman, but it turns out that she's actually manipulating him. That idea showed up with the doctor's girlfriend."[1]

Production inconsistencies[]

  • The jewelry deposit the gang robs has gibberish on its facade: "Gotili vtv jewielry mlatitit"; it was likely supposed to say "Gotham City Jewelry Planet".
  • In the flashback scene when Bullwhip's gang initially blackmails Dr. Corso, Kneejerk already has gaps in his forearms where his saws would protrude from (though they vanish in one shot).
    • Also, during the flashback sequence Bullwhip's right wrist appears normal after Dr. Corso finishes his wrist replacement. But then in the next scene where Bullwhip's gang confronts Dr. Corso, Bullwhip already has the metallic rings around his wrists which unleash his whips. Then in the shot where Bullwhip takes out his phone, the metal rings disappear, only to return in the next shot.
  • When the gang leaves the West End Inn after the fight with Batman, it's misspelled "West Eni Dnn". The next shot, it's normal again.
  • Knux's weapons are originally flat pistons and later appear as metal fists in the final fight scene. Then they become pistons again when Terrapin headbutts Batman and Knux clobbers Batman. They remain pistons when Kneejerk volunteers to finish off Batman. A moment later after Kneejerk's defeat, Knux has the fists again.

Trivia[]

  • The "old song" mentioned by Batman is Sam Brown's 1990 song "April Moon".
  • Of the gang, only Bullwhip is named in the episode. The other members of his gang never use a name but are named in the credits.
  • The episode's final scene, as well as Bruce's comment, heavily implies that Corso (rather gruesomely) murders Bullwhip during what was to be his ultimate enhancement surgery.

Cast[]

Actor Role
Will Friedle Terry McGinnis/Batman
Kevin Conroy Bruce Wayne
Ed Begley, Jr. Dr. Peter Corso
Jason Nash Harold/Bullwhip
Ethan Embry Terrapin
Johnny Galecki Knux
Eric Michael Cole Kneejerk
Cree Summer Maxine Gibson
Daphne Zuniga April Corso

Quotes[]

Terry: That's the best you can do?
Bruce: I'm only human.
Terry: I keep forgetting.

Dr. Corso: Flaky Flakes? They're for children aren't they?
April: I have a feeling you've never tried them, even when you were a child yourself.
Dr. Corso: It's that obvious, huh?

Bullwhip: Don't just repair me. Make me stronger, less vulnerable too. And don't hold back, understand?
Dr. Corso: (Coldly.) I understand. No holding back.

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