Retro Review: Batman: Hush

“Batman: Hush”
Writer: Jeph Loeb
Artists: Jim Lee and Scott Williams
Color Artist: Alex Sinclair 
Letterer: Richard Starkings
Review by James Attias

How does one begin talking about their favorite Batman story? Dear reader, put yourself in my shoes, because mine is Batman: Hush!

For many, this story is a high point from two of comics’ all-time greats. After they both made a name for themselves individually, it was natural that Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee would want to create something extraordinary together.

In all my years as a Batman fan, I’ve frequently come across the theory that a Batman story can’t be great unless it features the Joker as the main antagonist. I disagree. While there are many iconic Joker stories, and I’m sure there will be many more, what makes “Hush” stand out is that it’s not [spoiler] the Joker behind it all. Don’t worry though, the clown prince of crime still plays an important role!

Batman: Hush is a mystery tale featuring a new villain who’s plaguing Batman’s existence, and manipulating his enemies, like chess pieces on a path of destruction. 

The art in this book showcases Jim Lee at his finest. He’s learned from all of his past work and has drawn an absolute masterpiece. The legendary characters (Batman, Superman, Nightwing, and almost all of Batman’s rogues) all look iconic! These are images that have been printed as posters and t-shirts for years since, and the water-color flashbacks make this book feel special. Let’s not forget the immaculate ink work of Scott Williams, long time Jim Lee collaborator. 

The Art Of Hush

The Jeph Loeb Batman “whodunnits” have always ranked amongst the caped crusader’s best stories, with The Long Halloween and Dark Victory being arguably two of the best Batman tales of the last 30 years. Accompanied by the art of Tim Sale, those stories were amazing. but when you pair a mystery writer like Loeb with a powerhouse like Lee, then you’ve got a new dynamic duo on your hands.

I first read this book as a young man, and the number of red herrings swimming around in this story knocked me for a loop! It took me reading it again (and again) to notice all of the subtle callbacks and the clues in the dialogue, and it honestly still blows me away.

The Mystery Of Hush

As I mentioned earlier, the Jeph Loeb Batman mysteries are a big part of the Dark Knight’s canon. This story takes all of Loeb’s previous work in that genre, and makes them feel like a 35-minute episode of Columbo! Clues, false and true, are everywhere, and there are “could it be?” moments littered throughout. The only way to truly comprehend the level of mystery and thrill in this story is to read it! The list of suspects as to who Hush could be and how he pulled off his insane revenge plan only grows as the story progresses. In other words, even when it’s revealed who Hush actually is, the question still rises… are you sure?

Since reading Batman: Hush, I’ve been patiently waiting for another Batman story to surpass it; because can you even imagine how good that story would have to be? Back during my time working in a comic book shop, there was no easier sell than “Arguably the greatest Batman story of all time,” and this could be just that. 

Conclusion

Even my lovely wife agreed to have some dialogue from this book s part of our wedding vows (she’s a keeper). Batman: Hush is everything a reader could want; a mystery, love story, and thriller, that contains exceptional writing, and extraordinary art.

For this particular reviewer, Hush will always sit atop the throne of important, and brilliant Batman stories.

Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment 


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