Thursday, December 3, 2015

Book Review: Batman: Hush by Jeph Loeb et. al.

Batman: Hush written by Jeph Loeb, penciled by Jim Lee, and colored by Scott Williams

Batman faces two great challenges in this graphic novel spanning issues 608 to 619, published in 2003. His first challenge is solving a string of crimes committed by many of his classic villains. All of those villains are acting a bit out of character. Killer Croc kidnaps someone for the ransom, a crime that's way above his IQ. Harley Quinn robs Gothamites at the opera with guns blazing, which isn't really her M.O. either. Could someone be orchestrating everything behind the scenes, and is that someone an old enemy or a new one? There's a figure swathed in bandages that keeps appearing, seemingly the mastermind of what's going on.

His other challenge is his growing relationship with Selena Kyle, a.k.a. Catwoman. Selena has been seeing Bruce Wayne off and on; Catwoman has been on the side of good and been a bit smitten with Batman off and on. He knows Selena is Catwoman but she doesn't know Bruce is Batman. Just how close should he let himself get with her? And is this whole romance another piece in the puzzle orchestrated by the criminal mastermind?

This book does a great job looking at the various villains and allies of Batman in a new light. The book also takes into account a lot of Batman's canonical stories (Barbara Gordon is in her wheelchair as Oracle; Dick Grayson is Nightwing; Jason Todd is dead; Jim Gordon is retired, Lex Luthor is president of the United States) and blends them in as part of the bigger picture of Batman dealing with his life and his history.

I did feel like the identity of the villainous mastermind was a little too obvious throughout the book until the nice twist at the end. A bit of disappointment was turned on its head, making a satisfying conclusion to a great big Batman story arc.

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