This week, I went back and read one of my favorite batman stories ever: HUSH. It is written by Jeph Loeb and the art is by Jim Lee. Loeb has written a number of amazing stories like BATMAN: DARK VICTORY and LONG HALLOWEEN. HUSH is Lee’s first work with DC and it was definitely a success. You can pick up the trades or the individual issues are Batman #608-619 in 2002-2003.
It starts out with a prologue by Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce Wayne/Batman’s butler that reads like an origin story. It quickly moves to the main story where Batman is trying to rescue a young kid who has been kidnapped by Killer Croc. When he finally subdues Croc, the money is stolen by Catwoman but she isn’t working alone.
While Batman is in pursuit, his bat rope is cut mid-air and he falls into crime alley. His body is badly injured and skull is fractured. He taps his fingers and through morse code, Batman suggests Alfred gets in tough with Bruce’s childhood friend and renowned surgeon Tommy Elliot to save his life.
That’s about as deep into the story as I should go because I could easily sit here and go over every single detail but I don’t want to ruin it for people who have not read it before. HUSH is one of the most complex stories with a hefty cast of characters from Batman/Bruce’s past. Loeb explored the long history that the Batman universe has to offer and it is packed with “wow” moments in every issue. That being said, you don’t need to be a Batman junkie like me to follow the story. I’m not saying that it spoon-feeds everything to you but there isn’t an assumption that you are well versed in the Bat. Loeb makes sure to explain the intricacies without derailing the story and I dig that.
The art is…just..wow. I have been a fan of Jim Lee since he hit the scene in Marvel’s X-men books and I was hooked. I even own the X-men series trading cards they released from the popular book. When I heard that he was going to do a story arc of Batman, I thought my head was going to explode. He puts so his much detail into his art and it does what good comic should do: bring the images to life. It isn’t just his Batman that I’m a fan of but almost all of his other characters as well. Of course being a Batman addict, I’m a big fan of his arch nemesis: The Joker. Lee’s Joker is as distorted as the character’s mind with a twisted face and pointy attributes.
So if you haven’t figured it out, I highly recommend getting out there and picking this up. It has superb wiring with excellent development for characters both the known and the obscure. Like I said, the artwork is detailed, sharp, clean and engaging. Lee’s Batman is now one of the fan favorite’s in both the costume and, specifically, the emblem. I can promise that this book will not disappoint. I have read HUSH countless times and I know I’ll read it again and again.