Saturday, 15 June 2013

Hush: You’ll Want to Pay Attention to This

A Review By: Amelia 

Ever find yourself needing a Batman story with more than a handful of villains? Batman has the most wonderfully weird, extensively varied gallery of rogues that the comic book world has ever seen, and will ever see, and yet comic book writers and movie producers ever only seem to choose a few at a time. Well, the graphic novel Hush puts an end to these woes!

Hush was a month-by-month story arc that went from 2002 to 2003 and was later published as a complete graphic novel in 2009. The creators of Hush are Jeph Loeb, an American award-winning comic book writer, Jim Lee a Korean-American comic book artist, and Scott Williams, an American comic book penciller/inker. The three of them collaborated super-secretly for over a year on this Batman project and the result is a fantastic and original tale of sabotage, seduction, and more classic Batman villains than you can count on two hands. 

The story depicts a mysterious stalker, head wrapped in bandages, called Hush, who seems intent on sabotaging Batman from afar. His intricate plan left little to none of the actual dirty work to him but he instead involved many Gotham super villains. The Man of Steel, a non-disfigured Harvey Dent, a good (well, mostly good) Catwoman, and even a back-from-the-grave Jason Todd all make appearances in the madness of Hush’s plan.

The comic begins with Killer Croc kidnapping a small child for ransom: hugely out of character for the lumbering brute, and this highly suspect act already has Batman’s mind whirling about what has got him so out of character; but Croc is soon the least of Batman’s worries as the villains appear fast and hard. This being said, the elaborate plan that Hush has devised can, at times, build the plot to quickly or just be downright confusing. Most notable is when Ra's al ghul and his daughter suddenly become mixed into it, not as main villains that Batman must defeat but as part of Batman’s own plan to draw out Hush. 

A sample of the beautiful art
The art in Hush is a very realistic style. The colours are vibrant and the shadows dark and lurking. Facial expressions and body language convey a lot of the emotion, which is on par with Batman who usually plays the strong silent type. The landscapes of Gotham are particularly lovely in Hush. Gotham is a dirty, dank, and dark city but a good artist can still find ways to make it lovely: the brick work is intricate, the crowd scenes are full and pulsing with life, the city line of Gotham is gorgeous in the moonlight. Lee and Williams found the beauty within Gotham and showed it over and over again in the comic’s three hundred pages.

Hush is a really great graphic novel. There’s an appearance from nearly every one of Batman’s rogues and they all work and play off of one another–one villain’s plot leading straight into the arms of another one’s more elaborate plot, and it makes it such an interesting, surprising story. The art is phenomenal with brilliant colours and amazing details and, well, just everything about this comic is fantastic.

My final thought is that every Batman fan should, at one point, read Hush. If every there was a more complex Batman story than Hush, I can’t think of it. It sends you from one waiting villain to another at a relentless pace that is often not found with such beautiful artwork and complex storytelling. Now hush, dear comic book readers, because Hush is something you’ll want to pay attention to.

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