"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.
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.
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.
Meanwhile, Terry takes 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. Corso. After taking a look at the servomotor Bruce's suspicions are confirmed and Terry believes that "the good doctor isn't so good any more". Bruce mentions that there's something strange about the circuitry and sends Terry after the doctor.
Dr. Corso finishes up his work 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 and confronts the Doctor. Dr. Corso refuses to explain his actions and in a surprise attack, injects Batman with a powerful sedative. Batman wakes up in the morning to discover that the doctor and all his equipment are missing.
Angered over his failure, Terry goes to Max and complains 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, Dr. Corso angrily complains that he can no longer go back to his own home but Bullwhip is unsympathetic. The doctor 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. Bullwhip is suspicious.
Dr. Corso makes his way to the address to see to 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". Dr. Corso explains that he is unwillingly working with the gang because they kidnapped his wife. He tells Batman that he spent twenty years of his life in which all he had was his work and helping other people. That changed when he met his new nurse, April. He was charmed by her appearance and her cheery outlook on life. Within a couple of weeks, he decided to propose marriage and she readily agreed. However, all that changed when he met Harold (Bullwhip). Harold had been a patient and suggested that the Doctor could create weaponized prosthetics, thereby making people into powerful cyborgs and unstoppable thieves. Offhandedly, Harold suggested a partnership, which would be monetarily profitable. However, Dr. Corso wasn't interested as he already had everything he wanted. Not willing to take "no" for an answer, Harold kidnapped April and summoned his gang of thugs. Harold blackmailed the Doctor into enhancing them with bionic weapons. Feeling he had no choice, Dr. Corso agreed in return for the promise of April's safety and eventual return to him. 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 the Doctor's motives, but is still angry about what he has done. Dr. Corso, however, explains that he built fail-safe devices into the gang's servomotors. The Doctor intends to activate the devices once he gets April back and thereby destroy the gang. All the same, the Doctor 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 Dr. Corso, the gang arrives. Dr. Corso immediately tells the gang that Batman has kidnapped him, and so the gang attacks 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 Dr. Corso followed him. The doctor still won't tell Batman the secret word. Soon after, however, the doctor sees that April is with the gang, but she's not a hostage, she's there willingly. Worse still, he sees April kiss Bullwhip after receiving a jewel from him. April coldly laughs that the doctor could never afford to give her such luxuries.
Dr. 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 crates. 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 nearly kills Batman. However, Batman thinks back to his conversation with Dr. Corso and remembers the picture he was showed with April in front of the moon. Realizing the password, Batman whispers out "April Moon". The fail-safe switches activate and the servomotors completely self-destruct. Three of the gang members are rendered helpless and defeated but Bullwhip sees what's going on and retreats into the shadows before Batman can activate his fail-safe.
Later, Terry tells Bruce about the incident and explains that Bullwhip, April and Dr. Corso all disappeared. Bruce assures Terry that they'll be back because "they always come back". However, when Bruce learns that Bullwhip doesn't know Dr. Corso saw April kissing him, he theorizes that Bullwhip may not be coming back after all.
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 bit moving closer to his face as the doctor ominously says "I understand. No holding back...".
Home video releases
- The jewelry deposit the gang robs has gibberish on its facade: "Gotili vtv jewielry mlatitit"; it was supposed to say "Gotham City Jewelry Planet" or something of the like.
- 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.
- 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.
- Strangely, 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.
- The fate of April remains unknown, though the episode's final scene, as well as Bruce's comment, implies that Corso (rather gruesomely) murders Bullwhip during what was to be his ultimate enhancement surgery.
- This is the second episode since "The Last Resort" in which Batman does not use any Batarangs.
|Will Friedle||Terry McGinnis / Batman|
|Kevin Conroy||Bruce Wayne|
|Cree Summer||Maxine Gibson|
|Ed Begley, Jr.||Dr. Peter Corso|
|Daphne Zuniga||April Corso|
|Eric Michael Cole||Kneejerk|
Bullwhip: Don't just repair me. Make me stronger, less vulnerable too. And don't hold back understand?