Batman: Hush

Hush stars Killer Croc, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, the Joker, the Riddler, Scarecrow, Ra’s al Ghul, Clayface, at least two Robins, Superman, Catwoman, Oracle, ex-Commissioner Gordon, Harvey Dent (aka Two Face), the Huntress & Krypto, the Hound of Krypton. The plot is very simple. Batman’s foes attack him in new, unexpected ways–Killer Croc turns to kidnapping, Poison Ivy uses her wiles to gain herself a Man of Steel for a suitor, Harley Quinn develops a fondness for opera–which leads Batman to suspect the existence of a shadowy mastermind lurking in the shadows: Hush.

Batman is right, of course. Hush, a mysterious bandaged figure with a fondness for trenchcoats, wastes no time in making his presence felt. He cuts Batman’s batrope, causing him to take a header into Crime Alley; he gives Poison Ivy the Kryptonite Lipstick that enables her to seduce Superman; he frames the Joker for the shooting of Batman’s boyhood friend, which causes the Dark Knight to almost cross the edge.

I’m going to be honest: Hush has almost no plot. The driving force of this 13-issue storyline is a riddle–who is Hush? And you know what? It works. Hush’s identity was one of the most hotly debated topics in comics last year and I must confess, in the interest of full disclosure, that my own guess was totally off the mark. Despite that, I will highly recommend Hush anyway.

Jim Lee’s artwork is great, of course. Jeph Loeb, the writer, takes full advantage of Batman’s Rogue Gallery, which is one of the three best in comics (the other two being Flash and Spider Man’s). However, I think the best reason to read this series is Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman, who is portrayed as a strong, funny, attractive woman.

Yes, it’s true: Batman gets a girlfriend, and he even tells her his secret identity. While it’s true that these characters have a history–in pre-Crisis days, the Batman of Earth 2 married Selina Kyle–putting Batman in a semi-realistic relationship (all they do is kiss) is a huge step forward for his character. It’s a shame that it ends.

Batman: Hush
ISBN: 9781401223175
By Jeph Loeb
Art by Jim Lee
DC Comics 2009 (one volume edition)

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