What I don’t like:
It’s ‘whodunnit’ style mystery is intriguing, but also slightly convoluted and very confusing at times. Several characters feel as though they were forced into the story, often because they just so happened to be there when the action takes place. Others not only didn’t need to be included, they shouldn’t have been. One in particular simply detracts from the story. (Slight Spoiler Warning)
Krypto the Super-dog makes a very short appearance, more of a cameo really which is the only reason why I can forgive it. This story has such a dark tone, and though he’s admittedly a fun character; Krypto is all but impossible to take seriously. A dog in a cape with the powers of Superman. Really?
Randomly throwing such a bright and ridiculous character into such a dark and serious story can really loosen a narrative’s grip on the reader, as well as shake their suspension of disbelief. Especially considering the fact that Krypto had absolutely no reason to be there, he served no purpose, he was not needed. Also, and this is another slight spoiler,…
Batman almost dies. I know I know, he almost dies all the time. It’s the way he almost dies that annoys me and many others. His line is cut as he’s grappling through the city, leaving him to free fall into a dank litter-and-criminal filled alley. How does the Caped Crusader escape from this perilous situation? Does he glide to safety? Does he shoot another line? Does Nightwing swoop in on a flying unicorn at the last second to save him? Or does he just pancake on the pavement (I assume after some useless flailing) literally cracking his head open and leaving him defenseless as several no name street thugs try to unmask and/or kill him? (Hint, it’s the last one.)
Little head scratching moments like these are sprinkled all throughout the story. For me personally, they’re few and far enough in-between that I can just ignore most of them, but for many others it was enough to say “I hate Hush.”
What I absolutely love:
Jim Lee. What can I say about Jim Lee? His artwork is utterly astounding to me and this is some of his best. Many of the most iconic scenes in recent Batman memory can be attributed to him, and several are from this very story. Speaking of story, the plot itself is excellent, especially if you’re reading it again because as I said; it’s a little hard to follow the first time around. A small collection of Batman’s most prominent villains are seemingly working together for an unknown criminal mastermind. Batman must figure out who this person is and bring them down, and the tension is really there as the body count starts to rise the longer it takes him to solve this mystery. A mystery which very nearly gets Batman killed and worse, unmasked. A mystery which sparks a hesitant but captivating romance between Batman and a certain thief, and not long after sparks an epic fight between Batman and a certain Man of Steel.
Bruce Wayne is tested, mind, body, and soul, and this causes him to almost reach his breaking point more than once. This is most prominent in one of my favorite scenes and certainly one of the most memorable in which Batman seems to snap, coming closer than ever to breaking his one rule.
Batman is arguably the greatest DC hero, and this is arguably one of his greatest stories. Not just because it’s an excellent story in and of itself, but because of everything it opened up in the future. My favorite resulting arc that started in the pages of Hush was the introduction, or rather reintroduction, of a particular young man who wears a Red Hood.