The New Batman Adventures – “The Ultimate Thrill”

the ultimate thrillEpisode Number:  11 (96)

Original Air Date:  September 14, 1998

Directed by:  Dan Riba

Written by:  Hilary J. Bader

First Appearance:  Roxy Rocket

Episode 11 brings us to the second season premiere of The New Batman Adventures. Even though the first season contained 13 episodes, this one was held back. My guess is Warner ordered the full series right away and just elected to air them in whatever order they were received or whatever made the most sense. As for why this one was given the prestigious spot of season premiere, that I cannot say. I can see why maybe the network wanted to juggle the order of these episodes some as this one is yet another Batman/Batgirl pairing meaning Robin and Nightwing have been MIA for quite a few weeks now. That part I get, but I’m surprised the network would go with a debuting villain for the season premiere. Maybe they thought highly of Roxy Rocket – who knows?

Roxy Rocket is a villain that was sort-of made for television. I say sort of because she was actually first created for the Batman Adventures comic, which was a tie-in with the animated series. Bruce Timm and Paul Dini apparently saw something in the character that made them want to bring her to television, though not enough to actually write the episode themselves. I don’t mind the new blood, but Roxy is a bit of an odd one. Her look would have fit in quite well with the dark-deco look of the prior series, but in this more modern one she looks out of place. She reminds me of The Rocketeer, just minus the helmet. And instead of a jetpack, she straddles a big old rocket. Yes, there’s going to be some suggestive elements to this character making Roxy Rocket possibly our horniest villain yet, not that there’s stiff competition for that title (pun, intended).

roxys getaway

Roxy is a villain who is all about taking risks.

The episode begins aboard a zeppelin, once again, something that would have fit with the style of the previous series, but not so much with this one. This is some kind of luxury airship full of wealthy party-goers, and Roxy Rocket (Charity James) is here to rob them. She’s holding up the patrons and collecting valuables. She’s in a rather jovial mood as she doesn’t even get upset when one woman can’t get her ring off, though Roxy claims it’s a fake. She snags a large, red, brooch off another woman then takes off by simply jumping out of the zeppelin.

As she falls through Gotham’s eerie red sky, a police helicopter spies her. Apparently they either know about the robbery, or they’ve been tracking her for awhile. They basically decide to wait for her to go splat, but Roxy has other ideas. Activating a beacon on her watch causes her rocket to show just as she disappears below the tallest buildings. As she jets off in celebratory fashion, one of the cops opens fire from the helicopter (this seems really reckless on his part). Roxy returns fire with some kind of gas canister gun which goes through the windshield taking out the helicopter.

roxy meets batman

That’s a pretty solid way to introduce yourself to Batman.

The problem of the police may be solved, but another has just arrived in the form of the Batwing. Batman is behind the controls and Roxy seems positively delighted by this turn of events. As she makes quips and zips about, she remarks old Batman doesn’t have the right tools for the job. They play a little game of chicken in a tunnel, and Batman is the one who blinks. His Batwing has sustained some significant damage, and this allows Roxy to get away calling out to him, “Thanks for the first date. I’ll call ya!”

As Batman maneuvers the plane out to sea, Alfred pops up on the radio. Batman lets him know the wing is badly damaged and he doesn’t know if he can keep the thing airborne. He flies it toward a cliffside, which just so happens to be where the entrance to the Batcave is. He’s able to steer the Batwing into the tight opening and we get a little look at how this thing is setup. Like an aircraft carrier, a series of cables are used to slow the Batwing down and bring it to a stop. Once it does stop, Alfred is there to remark he’s taking the costs for repairs to the plane out of Bruce’s allowance. Batman is not amused.

sleuthing in the batcave

Alfred and Batgirl will take whatever screen time they can get in this one.

Batman then turns to his computer to give us the rundown on just who Roxy Rocket is. It turns out she used to be a stuntwoman by the name of Roxanne Sutton. When the stunts got too dangerous, no one would insure her putting an end to that career. Roxy then did what any sane person would do and turned to a life of crime to get her rocks off. Batgirl is here as well to give her two cents and even make a playful remark towards Batman’s way about Roxy now getting a taste for him, which he doesn’t appear to appreciate. Batman remarks she’ll need a fence to unload her stolen goods, which lends nicely into the next scene.

penguins play

Penguin likes Roxy for the goods she brings him, but he’d also like to wet his beak in another manner.

Roxy’s fence turns out to be an old friend:  The Penguin (Paul Williams). It would seem Penguin’s new business isn’t as straight as it seems. He’s shown having a little meeting with Roxy and remarking on her newfound stardom. Penguin pays for the goods Roxy just knocked off, and she in turn asks if he wants to go double or nothing by drawing cards. She tries instigating him into doing so, but Penguin clarifies he does not take unnecessary risks. This in turn prompts him to warn her about her risk-taking ways for he’s not about to risk his business on someone who attracts too much attention from Batman. Roxy insists Batman is worth the thrill. When Penguin tries to suggest maybe she try and get the attention of a “bird of prey,” she shoots him down causing him to wrinkle his nose at her as she departs.

roxy steals from wayne

Roxy is a stranger to subtlety.

At Wayne Enterprises, Bruce and Lucius Fox (Mel Winkler) are unveiling for the board members some new artwork the company purchased. I have no idea why Wayne Enterprises is buying art, but it serves its purpose in a moment. As Bruce questions the lax security, Fox assures him no one can get in which means that someone is about to burst in. Roxy comes flying through the glass window, and I mean through, and she’s after the artwork. She grabs it and is delighted that it’s small enough to fit in her saddle bag. She doesn’t intend to just rip off some art though as she puts some cartridge into the end of her gun that has a Batman logo on it. When she fires it into the sky it explodes in a pattern of lights resembling the Batman signal, and sure enough here comes Batman. Bruce has either gotten really bold at this quick change thing, or Dick is impersonating him again (see The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne), for him to get there so fast. And since his plane is messed up, he’s got a fancy new jetpack to show off.

batman in pursuit

Batman with yet another toy to show off.

Roxy leads Batman on a chase throughout Gotham with a large part of it taking place in a tunnel once again, only this time amongst automobile traffic. She pulls a Maverick move out of her bag of tricks by hitting the brakes causing Batman to sail right past her and into a Farmer Brown truck (that will pay off slightly in a future episode). Roxy once more gains the upper hand, but Batman is able to hit her rocket with a Batarang causing it to short out. She dumps it in an unfinished building and flees to the top of the steel beams. Batman soon joins her and suggests she give up. She responds by tossing the artwork which was remarkably spared being damaged during her crash. Batman is forced to jump after it (maybe he had yet to insure it) leaving him hanging from one of the beams. Roxy blows him a kiss and presses a button on her wrist-thingy once again which causes her rocket to explode. Using the explosion as cover, she jumps from the building to land on an oversized balloon below to once again make her escape.

With Batman foiled once again, he’s in need of some good news and he gets it. Batgirl calls him on his cell, apparently, to tell him she’s figured out who Roxy’s fence is:  The Penguin. This leads us back to Penguin’s club where he’s none too pleased with Roxy and her reckless ways. Roxy doesn’t see the harm in having some fun, but Penguin makes it clear he considers her a loose end at this point. Deciding she isn’t worth the trouble, he pulls his umbrella on her. Normally, such an action wouldn’t seem all that threatening, but considering this is The Penguin an umbrella takes on a whole other meaning. As he prepares to off her, she tries reasoning with him and even resorts to a, “but I thought you liked me.” Penguin does, but he’s a pretty cold and ruthless business man. Before he can shoot her though, she kicks the umbrella out of his hands and flips over a railing into the sealion pool behind her.

penguin mad

He may look harmless, but Penguin isn’t really someone you want to piss off.

Roxy darts across floating chunks of ice avoiding Penguin’s fire. She eventually falls into the water and the sealions pounce. Penguin lowers his head remarking his way would have been much cleaner, but then Roxy emerges once again now riding a sealion as if it was her rocket. She manages to reach a glacier where she takes cover as Penguin’s umbrella is apparently switched to fully automatic mode. Having spent all of his ammo in a futile attempt to kill Roxy, Penguin can only watch as she uses a grappling hook to swing over the water and to the ceiling narrating her own escape. As Roxy vanishes, Penguin orders his minions (all women who look like Playboy Mansion rejects) to go after her and kill her, though in his usual poetic way.

penguins gun

Penguin with an actual gun? This feels wrong.

Penguin is shown freshening up in his penthouse. He’s in his robe and apparently ready to retire for the evening, but a shadowy figure lurks behind him. Batman makes his presence known and demands to know where Roxy Rocket is. Penguin back peddles towards his umbrella canister as Batman produces a ring. It’s one of the items Roxy stole from the zeppelin earlier and he found it in Penguin’s coat. As Penguin questions whether or not Batman is in possession of a search warrant, he steps on a lever on the umbrella canister and up pops….a machine gun? It would seem Penguin isn’t always in the mood for theatrics, as he catches the gun and opens fire on Batman. He only manages to lay waste to his beautiful furniture as Batman takes him out for some fresh air. Dangling him over the balcony, Penguin can only smile sheepishly as Batman suggests they have a little talk.

At an airplane hangar, three of Penguin’s girls are shown snooping around. Roxy is inside the hangar and she has several extra rockets in there. As the trio sneak around, Roxy pops out of the hangar to take one out. She plays with them a bit before knocking the other two into a biplane. She hits the lever on it and it takes off down the runway as Batman arrives in the Batmobile. He ignores the plane as it crashes into a water tower and we see the two occupants in a pool of water coughing, so apparently they’re fine.

Batman heads off into the hangar after Roxy and comes face to face with the front end of her rocket. He ducks out of the way as she blasts off through the hangar door to apparent freedom. Or so she thinks. Batman hops on one of her other rockets and takes off after her. This is actually a pretty risky maneuver since we know Roxy can control her rockets via her wrist device. Luckily for Batman, she apparently doesn’t feel like causing it to self-destruct with him on it. This is, after all, a game to her as she calls back to him “I love a man with staying power!” Yup, things are about to get a little blue.

roxy vs batman

So it’s come to this, Batman and Roxy face to face on a speeding death trap.

Roxy leads Batman on a chase into a canyon area. Remarking it’s “the third act climax,” she shoots Batman’s rocket down forcing him from it. He uses his grapple gun to get ahold of her rocket, which causes her to take him on a trip through some trees. Roxy thinks she lost him, but Batman pulls himself up and onto her rocket. She seems impressed as she tosses her jacket in his face. Turning around so that they’re face to face, Roxy explains the game to come. They’re now over water, and she tells Batman he can jump into it and maybe get off without injury. Or, he can stay on and smash into the canyon up ahead. When Batman remarks she will too, she confirms that’s the game as the two prepare to play another game of chicken.

Batman stares at her and crosses his arms, while Roxy smiles back. Eventually, she starts to grow concerned as Batman remains stoic. Roxy then shyly turns to press something on her control panel, but Batman grabs her wrist. Taunting her about seeking the ultimate thrill, Roxy at first appears worried. Then her smile returns and she gives him an “Oh baby!” As the rocket gets closer to annihilation, Batman grabs her and she starts wailing “Yes! Yes!” like that infamous scene from When Harry Met Sally. Batman pulls her off the rocket and to safety as it crashes while Roxy apparently enjoys herself. As the two fall towards the ground, she confesses she always knew it would end this way, and seems really content. When Batman pulls a parachute, she looks sad. As they land, she remarks they’ll live to play another day, but is then dismayed when Batman slaps some cuffs on her. He lets her know she lost, and this one ends somewhat abruptly right there.

roxys o

What I assume to be Roxy’s “O” face.

“The Ultimate Thrill” is certainly a cheeky one. Roxy Rocket is almost too much as the thrill-seeking villain of the hour. She’s rather one note, which I supposes makes her a decent one-off kind of villain. The show definitely pushed some boundaries as far as standards and practices go. While some of the suggestive language would fly over the head of younger viewers, there were probably a few parents who overheard Roxy’s climax and went to check on what their kids were watching. It certainly caught me by surprise the first time I saw this one, but voice actor Charity James seemed to have fun with it.

Batgirl was in this one, but only barely. This ended up being pretty much a Batman solo adventure. Combine that with the old school aesthetics of Roxy’s costume and the zeppelin scene and this one has a nice Batman: The Animated Series feel to it. I prefer my Batman solo, so this isn’t a problem in my book, but other viewers might be disappointed at the lack of heroes in it.

Roxy Rocket is indeed a one and done villain for this show. There’s enough to her personality that it wouldn’t have bothered me if she showed up again. And unlike the new take on Catwoman, Roxy actually does possess a certain amount of sex appeal to go along with her flirtatious attitude. Maybe it’s the bulky costume, but she doesn’t look like a kid with a giant head as so many of Gotham’s females do in this show. She does reappear in an episode of Superman called “Knight Time,” which actually aired about a month after this episode. Maybe that’s why this one was held over until season two so it could air closer to that episode. It was also nice to see Penguin wetting his beak, once again. His business is apparently fine at the end of this one, aside from being in need of some repairs, and we’ll hear from him again.


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