17 January 2012

Onscreen History of The Royal Flush Gang

Over the years, the Royal Flush Gang has proven a "royal pain" to the Justice League. First appearing in Justice League of America #43 as Clubs, the five-member gang's gimmick was a playing card theme with team members Ten, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace - though the suit and team powers changed depending on the incarnation. Over the years, the team has appropriately had affiliations with the Joker.

The first onscreen appearance of the gang occurred in 1985's The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians episode, The Wild Cards. Perhaps as an homage to the first comic team, this Royal Flush Gang used the clubs logo.

In this appearance, Ace recruited a team of four card thieves. In the end, (SPOILER ALERT) Ace was revealed as none other than the Joker himself.

The Royal Flush Gang next appeared (as Spades) in Batman Beyond's 1999 episode Dead Man's Hand and a pair of follow-ups. This team consisted of a family and their robot (Ace) who took over the family business from Queen's dad. 10 served as Batman Beyond's Catwomanesque bad girl temptation.

Once again under the leadership of the Joker, a Clubs gang appeared in the 2003 Wild Cards episode of Justice League. In a bit of stunt casting, the team was voiced by the main cast of Teen Titans.

Although the Justice League's Club themed gang disbanded after their defeat, a Spades team formed with the same reality bending Ace on the Justice League Unlimited episode Epilogue.

The members of this team were all visual homages. 10 was a reference to Bo Derick's role in the movie 10,

Jack referenced Samurai Jack,

Drag Queen

And a Humpty Dumpty / MODOKy King paid homage to Jack "the King" Kirby.

A Diamonds incarnation of the RF gang made their debut in 2009 on Batman: The Brave and the Bold's Return of the Fearsome Fangs.

This old west bandit gang (sans 10) got taken down by the combined efforts of Jonah Hex and a time traveling Batman.

Up next, the Royal Flush Gang will again trouble the League in the direct to video Justice League: Doom. Rather than finally giving a Hearts gang a chance, the 2012 team will once again don Spades.

And once again, the team will enlist the help of an outmatched android Ace.

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