It’s almost funny when you think about it; one of the highest-selling Batman stories in years had one of the lamest villains of all. I’m referring to Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee’s run on “Batman” and how the mastermind behind it all, Hush, was so cliché that I quite vividly remember think there had to be a catch. Turns out, there wasn’t.
Clearly I’m not the only one who was more than a little disappointed when it came to Hush, because Paul Dini’s “Heart of Hush” seems determined to try and fix the character. So far? I’m actually a little interested in the character, which is impressive. In this second part of his five-act story, Dini focuses primarily on Hush’s childhood history, trying to establish how, even as a boy, Tommy Elliot was a twisted little monster. Showing him as the great manipulator in his early years makes him a little more interesting, certainly, and plays well into the present-day story where Hush’s exact plans are unclear but slowly starting to take shape.
(Before we go any further, though, people looking for a definitive tie-in to Grant Morrison’s “Batman R.I.P.” will be rather disappointed. Ignore that misleading logo at the top of the book and you’ll do much better.)
That said, though, the more interesting parts of this issue of “Detective Comics” were the non-Hush segments; Batman, Robin, and Nightwing fighting a new Wonderland Gang made me laugh when I realized it actually had a Walrus and Carpenter duo in the ranks, and Catwoman and Zatanna’s conversation over a game of three-card monte was the high point of the comic. I’ve heard speculation that with “Catwoman” cancelled we should expect a lot more of the character in “Detective Comics.” Based on this issue (as well as last month’s), I think that’s a good call.
With Dustin Nguyen’s handsome angular art being on a top-tier book like it belongs, the book is visually impressive, and he should always have John Kalisz color his art from now on. With the deep oranges and blues of the alley scene, the deep purple sky above Batman’s head as he apprehends Tweedledee and Tweedledum, and the golden palette from the flashbacks to Tommy and Bruce at camp, each page really sings with them collaborating.
And with any luck, by the end of Paul Dini’s story we’ll end up with the character of “Hush” being distinctly better. I’m down with that idea.