Batman’s Mysterious Foe | Batman: Hush

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Batman: Hush is one of the great detective stories of the 2000s in Batman media.  With amazing art from Jim Lee and the exquisite writing from Jeph Loeb, there is no doubt that this was one for the books.  Hush is one of Batman’s most notorious villains from this comic as he/she is among the biggest mysteries surrounding this novel.  In a tainted Gotham where Batman has fought for years on end as he unfolds the mystery of a new criminal in town, Hush.   Batman’s backstory is also explored through his relations with Thomas Elliot, a surgeon coming from a wealthy family and one of Bruce’s closest friends.  The rogue’s gallery is also showcased in this book with Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Killer Croc, Clayface, Harley Quinn, and Joker all making an appearance in some way.  Catwoman has an interesting relationship as an antihero while being a love interest for Batman that grows quickly from one section to the next.  The biggest problem with Hush is how incredibly simple it is as a Batman story and not delivering as much character development, leaving many people, including myself, feeling unsatisfied.  With an incredible plot and fascinating standpoint in comic media, Batman: Hush is one that many people will have a fun time reading as it keeps you hooked and wanting more.  Jim Lee and Jeph Loeb are a fantastic duo for Lee’s vibrant drawings and Loeb’s incredible storytelling that can impact the reader and leave their minds blown.

BEHIND THE AUTHORS

Jim Lee is an inker, penciler, and writer for many comics.  He started his career at Princeton University majoring in medicine.  During this, Lee refounded his love of drawing in his fine arts course and put his medical career on hold for a career in the comic industry.  One of his first most notable works was Alpha Flight #51, 55-64 (Marvel, 1987-88) in which he worked for one of the bigger companies in hope of finding a career for himself.  He then did Punisher: War Journal #1-12 (Marvel, 1988-89), Uncanny X-Men #248, 256-258, 267-277 (Marvel, 1990-91)., X-Men #1-11 (Marvel, 1991-92), WildC.A.T.s #1-13 (Image/Wildstorm, 1992-94), Fantastic Four (Heroes Reborn) #1-13 (Marvel, 1996-97), Divine Right #1-12 (Image/Wildstorm, 1997-99), Batman # 608-619 (DC Comics, 2002-2003) , and Batman: Hush (2002).  Post-Hush he did Superman #204-215 (DC Comics, 2004-2005), All-Star Batman and Robin #1-present (DC Comics, 2005-present),  The New 52 (2011), and For Tomorrow (2004).  He is most known for his work on the X-Men with his very famous artwork with a bold, vibrant, and simplistic design.  Many people think of him as the DC version of Stan Lee which is very ironic as they have the same last name.  He, along with Todd Mcfarlane, founded Image Comics in 1992 and is currently the third-largest comic publishing company in the world.  Sadly he retired as their publisher in 1998 and sold WildStorm to DC.  This leads him to continue working on his work with DC Comics.  He is currently the Chief Creative Officer of DC and as well as their publisher.  He has won awards like the Harvey Special Award for New Talent in 1990, the Inkpot Award in 1992, and the Wizard Fan Award in 1996, 2002, and 2003.  He is amazing at illustrating in a clear and distinct tone without getting you distracted in the panels, and with help like Jeph Loeb, they are unstoppable.

Jeph Loeb is one of the most influential people in comic culture as he has done many things in media like writing many popular films, Award-Winning Graphic Novels, and is now Head of Television at Marvel.  He graduated from Columbia University with a bachelor’s degree in Arts and a master’s degree in filmmaking.  Jeph Loeb started his comic career with Challengers of the Unknown (1991), Age of the Apocalypse (1995-1996), Batman Haunted Knight (1996), and Batman the Long Halloween (1996), Batman Dark Victory (1999-2000), Our Worlds at War (2001), and Batman Hush (2002). Post-Hush he did Daredevil: Yellow (2002), Spiderman: Blue (2003), Hulk: Gray (2004), Fallen Son: Death of Captain America (2007), Superman Emperor Joker (2007), Superman/Batman (2014), and Supergirl (2016).  Jeph Loeb was also an admired filmmaker writing the Teen Wolf series starring Michael J. Fox and Commando starring Arnold Swartzinegger while also writing some of Smallville.  Jeph Loeb currently works in many forms of media from film and the peculiar comic book industry.  Jeph Loeb has a vast skill set at his disposal and is truly inspiring for being such an intriguing writer that truly keeps you wanting more of his work.

Scott Williams is Jim Lee’s secret weapon as one of the most distinct inkers for his works; one of his most notable is Batman: Hush.  He did Wildcats and the Uncanny X Men (1993) with Jim Lee.  Notable works after Hush include All-Star Batman and Robin (2005-2008), Justice League Vol.1 (2013), Batman Vs Superman: The Greatest Battles (2015), Superman Unchained (2015), Suicide Squad Vol. 1 (2017), and Batman: The Bat and the Cat (2020).  All of these authors have done incredible work by themselves but combined they are truly a force to be reckoned with, and this can’t be shown better than their work on Batman: Hush (2002).

SYNOPSIS

If you want the full experience of this book I suggest you buy the graphic novel and read it, If however, you don’t have the time for that this is an alternate option.

The “Hush” story arc starts with Batman rescuing a boy kidnapped by Killer Croc, The ransom money supposedly used to succeed in this operation has been stolen by Catwoman.  As Batman is on his chase for Catwoman his rope is cut, leading to him falling onto the pavement and is rendered unconscious.  Batman orders Alfred to get one of his childhood best friend’s Thomas Elliot, a world-renowned surgeon, to help him recover.  During his recovery, Bruce learns that Catwoman was deceived by Poison Ivy to give her the ransom money.  Batman rescues Cat and thus a relationship sprouts between the two, because of this interaction Bruce reveals his identity to Catwoman.  Bruce and Selina track Poison Ivy’s trail to Metropolis where they team up with Superman to defeat her.  Suddenly, Poison Ivy uses a kryptonite poison to take control of Superman and sends him to defeat the Caped Crusader.  Batman stalls Superman with his ludicrous plans as Catwoman captures Lois Lane and pushes her off a skyscraper, snapping Superman back into his senses and saving Lois.  The Duo captured Poison Ivy and put her behind bars. 

In the next section of the novel, Bruce and Selina attend an opera that is quickly disturbed by Harley Quinn who plans to rob the theater.  In the exhilarating chase, Thomas Elliot is supposedly shot by the Joker.  Batman nearly beats the Joker to death before former police commissioner Jim Gordon stops him from doing the unthinkable.  Nightwing returns to Gotham City to console Bruce during Elliot’s funeral where Bruce explains how he believes there is some mastermind behind these treacherous acts as his rogue’s gallery has been acting bizarre.  We then learn of a bandaged face villain appearing throughout the comic referred to as Hush, the main villain of this story.  Soon after these events, Nightwing and Batman foil an armed car robbery by the Riddler, where Batman seeks out evidence that Ra’s al Ghul is somewhat involved in this grand scheme orchestrated by Hush.  He encounters Ra’s where he learns that someone from Batman’s past has been resurrected by one of the Lazarus Pits.  He returns to Gotham where he finds that the current Robin, Tim Drake, has been captured by the late Jason Todd, presumed dead after the events of the A Death in the Family storyline.  After fighting Jason, due to Batman’s detective skills, realizes that it is Clayface mimicking the perished Robin who is then believed to be dead throughout the novel. 

Batman later detects some sort of device implanted into the Bat-computer that led Bruce to seek Thomas’s help in the first place.  Batman confronts Harold, his engineer about this contraption where he confesses that someone treated his disfigured face from the events of No Man’s Land in exchange for planting the device.  Before Harold could tell Hush’s real identity he was assassinated.  Thomas Elliot is then identified as the assassin and presumed as the man known as Hush.  In the early half of this book, the Thomas Elliot that was shot by the Joker was Clayface disguised as him to leave no suspicion of him being one of the suspects.  In a very intriguing fight scene with all the pieces coming together, Hush finally gains the upper hand in the conclusion until Jim Gordon appears in front of Hush with Harvey Dent.  Harvey Dent shoots Hush in the chest 2 times being dumped into the ocean by the impact.  Harvey is then revealed to be the one attempting to kill Elliot in the early half of the book.  Harvey is arrested for his crimes but Bruce takes it as a sign of friendship and sacrifice from the once pure lawyer.  

The Dark Knight after this interrogates Riddler and figures out that he was the mastermind behind the plot.  The Riddler used the Lazurus pit to cure himself of cancer while during that time discovering Batman’s true identity.  From the Riddler’s miraculous recovery, Elliot was intrigued by the cure but later partnered up with the Riddler to take down the Bat.  Batman convinces Riddler not to tell anyone his secret identity as “a riddle that everyone knows the answer to is worthless.” He right hooks the Riddler before leaving the confrontation.  Batman meets up with Catwoman at the end of the novel at a graveyard where he continues to mistrust her and thinks of her still as a criminal.  Catwoman leaves him at the graveyard stating to him that before they can engage in a relationship he has to learn to trust her, where Batman conjectures at the end of the novel that “someday” he will be able to be with Catwoman, but not today.

MY THOUGHTS AND CONCLUSION

Batman Hush is a very articulate novel getting its point across in another one of Batman’s Greatest Detective stories with the running conundrum of who is Hush?  The book plays with this idea while also hinting very heavily that its Thomas Elliot by just taking him out of the blue and calling him one of Bruce’s closest friends.  This has been done many times before and ruins the element of the surprise of who this mystery man really is.  I enjoyed however the relationships all the characters had in this novel with Batman and Superman’s heroism shining through their interactions.  The use of not only Batman’s rogues’ gallery but also his sidekicks was a nice touch to represent a much more modernized and experienced Batman.  My favorite part in this book however was the art and the story arc surrounding Harvey Dent.  Jim Lee’s art is so bold and vibrant that its just candy to the eyes.  The Harvey Dent arc surrounds a recovered Two-Face that betrays Hush for the greater good, this almost feels like a spiritual threequel of Batman: The Long Halloween which I did a deep dive on the link below.  Batman Hush is an outstanding novel with wondrous visuals and a story that keeps you wanting more, although there is some problems here and there book always pushes through and deserves to be one of the best Batman comics in the early 2000s.  I give Batman: Hush a 8/10.

WORKS CITED

“Jim Lee.” Image Comics Database, 2020, imagecomics.fandom.com/wiki/Jim_Lee. Accessed 4 Oct. 2020.

‌PeoplePill. “People Pill.” PeoplePill, PeoplePill, 2010, peoplepill.com/people/jeph-loeb/. Accessed 6 Sept. 2020.

‌“Jeph Loeb (Person) – Comic Vine.” Comic Vine, Comic Vine, 2010, comicvine.gamespot.com/jeph-loeb/4040-40472/. Accessed 6 Sept. 2020.

PeoplePill. “People Pill.” PeoplePill, PeoplePill, 2012, peoplepill.com/people/scott-williams-1/. Accessed 5 Oct. 2020.

“Batman: Hush.” Batman Wiki, 2020, batman.fandom.com/wiki/Batman:_Hush. Accessed 8 Oct. 2020.

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