Posted by Pete Albano - January 26, 2012 | Updated : February 8, 2012 | Updated : June 9, 2012
608 : The Ransom
609 : The Friend
610 : The Beast
611 : The City
612 : The Battle
613 : The Opera
614 : The Joke
615 : The Dead
616 : The Assassins
617 : The Grave
618 : The Game
619 : The End
It is the start of Hush. It is the start of Jim Lee drawing Batman. Doing the inking is Scott Williams. This is the same art team that did Wildcats.
For a substantial part of comic book lovers that first paragraph will do as a recommendation. Nothing more need be said.
For those new to comics or simply unfamiliar with Wildcats, Williams or Lee, I have the pleasure of trying to explain the unique power of Jim Lee's art.
Jim Lee makes every panel special - an event. One of the ways he does it is by flooding every single square centimeter with detail. Scan the pages of Batman 608 and look for whitespace and you'll look in vain. There is no whitespace; but while you search for it you're eyes snag on items of interest, here and there. You'll notice Lee gives Batman huge 35-inch biceps.
As large as Batman is, you'll notice Killer Croc is even bigger - a majestic hulk of a monster.
You'll thrill to seeing Batman chase down Catwoman, a breathtaking view of Gotham below them as they swing through the night.
And Catwoman, her face, perfect full red lips, haughty eyes just right for the scene.
Jim Lee does Batman. Don't miss it. It starts here in issue 608. Hush starts here.
This comic starts out with Batman entirely helpless and surrounded by street toughs who naturally want to see the man under the mask. It's both surprising and wonderful to see Batman's costume booby-trapped against such an eventuality.
Good start, but when Huntress finally appears the way she's drawn by Jim Lee simply takes my breath away. I keep looking between her and her incredible bike.
Also here, is the start of a trend that you'll be seeing throughout the whole Hush series : incredibly rendered Batmobiles. Yes, plural. Batman has the most incredible cars.
Also worth mentioning is Jim Lee's backgrounds. Pay attention to the panels showing the Gotham skyline.
Lee's attention to detail has this series deserving of the title 'Lush' not 'Hush'.
The Batmobile driving out of Arkham Asylum during a stormy night - you can't beat that kind if imagery.
Then, later on, we are given a close up of the car - exterior and interior. You're typical Ferrari simply looks pedestrian besides Batman's ride.
When the Batmobile blows a tire and goes for a somersault, Jim Lee doesn't just show the car crashing down on the pavement or flying through the air. He shows every stage of the cars descent in one panel. He is really pulling out all the stops on his art chores in Hush and I am loving it. You will too.
The issue ends with a kiss between Batman and Catwoman. It's a single page pinup shot, Gotham in the background. Flawless details. Perfect color balance. What a great way to end an issue.
Batman heads off to Metropolis which Jim Lee takes care to distinguish from Gotham visually. Jim Lee's Gotham is not exactly Gothic but its shadow-filled - it reminds me of the night. Metropolis by Jim Lee reminds me of the day. Lee uses fine lines and there is no darkness in Superman's town. The contrast drawn between the two cities is enthralling. And Batman's comments that he doesn't like Metropolis are amusing.
And yes, since we're in Metropolis, Superman is here, but Clark is eclipsed by the gorgeously drawn Lois Lane - I've never seen Lois this gorgeous. Also, surprise, surprise : Bruce Wayne owns the Daily Planet! Ha!
Don't' miss the flashback section when a young Bruce Wayne sees the golden age Green Lantern in battle with the Icicle. This is very nicely rendered, but then again, I have always been partial to Alan Scott and his magic ring.
Why is it so special when Batman punches Superman? It felt special in The Dark Knight Returns and it feels special here. This is pretty much the Superman issue of Hush. Lovers of the Man of Steel get a treat as Jim Lee draws him unleashing his heat vision, going through just anything, and just flying around.
As if the Superman-Batman fight isn't enough we also get Krypto the Superdog - last time I saw him was in the pages of Kingdom Come. I particularly love the panel when Krypto is trying to lick Catwoman.
At the start of the issue I couldn't stop staring at Selina who is shown out of her Catwoman costume and in a low cut dress.
But then Harley Quinn appeared and from then on my attention was on her, she is drop-dead gorgeous here. There is a two-page spread when she half turns as the Batman arrives; that's borderline erotica right there.
Also, in another panel, Harley and Catwoman go at it while jumping around behind a stage with all the lighting and ropes and stuff. Once again, Jim Lee shows his commitment to giving jaw-dropping art by drawing multiple Catwoman and Harley Quinn figures in acrobatic splendor.
For the first time in Hush, Jeph Loeb's story rises out from under Jim Lee's art to dominate an issue.
This issue is all about the Clown Prince of Crime himself, the Joker, and why after all these years of murder, why he's still alive. The one reasoning all this out for nearly the entire issue, is the Batman, who rightfully feels responsible for the endless carnage wrought by his arch-foe.
So the Batman has a great reason for sparing the Joker right? No, he doesn't. The Batman can't think of a single reason why the Joker should be allowed to live, therefore, in this issue Batman finally decides to kill the Joker. No kidding.
I just love Dick Grayson. Don't you? In fact, I like Dick Grayson more than I like Bruce Wayne. Even though Dick comes from tragedy like Bruce, he's less heavy about it - plus Chuck Dixon did all those great Nightwing issues and I'm a big Titan's fan. Suffice it to say, I like reading my Nightwing , that's why I'm very happy to note that issue 615 is the Nightwing issue.
Please do not miss the two page spread of the Batcave showing nearly every Batmobile ever made! They're not even parked, they're perched and suspended in high tech constructs that show them off beautifully. I was amazed by this kind of treatment when I saw it in Batman and Sons as drawn by Joe Kubert - that was great, and still is, but this Jim Lee presentation is amazing.
Later on, we see how proud Bruce is as he observes Dick in a fight. The Batman acknowledges that Nightwing is no longer a sidekick and can more than hold his own - although Dick should send Daredevil a royalty check for his billy club tactics; those are Matt Murdock originals Mr. Grayson.
As if this issue wasn't packed enough we end it with a Batman unmasking.
The only thing that impresses me about the kidnapping (by the Batman!) of Talia Head (Talia al Ghul) is the plane that Batman uses.
I wasn't that impressed with the Batman vs. Ras Al Ghul fight but when Lady Shiva appeared out of nowhere to take on Catwoman I was all attention. This is an incredible fight. Lady Shiva is a machine! We all know that Selina is no slouch but she is getting creamed in this fight. Shiva is described by Talia as her father's greatest assassin - I believe it.
And yes, we have the love triangle here : Talia - Bruce - Selina. Obviously, Batman likes dangerous women.
Tim is so young here I thought he was Damian.
Once again Jeph Loeb manages to hold my attention with the plot because of a very well-conceived explanation of the key differences of all three Robins : Dick, Jason and Tim. Observations coming from the Batman himself. Lots of delightful details on each Robin. Some tidbits: Dick is the most physically gifted, Jason the angriest, and Tim is the best detective. It's really not that simplistic; Bruce takes time to mull over the men who've served as Batman's partners over the years and its just a great read.
We find Selina in the Batcave here. She borrows one of Bruce's bikes - and what a bike! Just the latest of many gorgeous machines in Hush.
Catwoman/Huntress catfight in this issue - including another great double-page spread.
The story begins to move to a conclusion with this issue.
The mystery aspect of Hush goes into overdrive this issue as we have Batman doing battle with Jason Todd!
From the art front, Selina once again drawn beautifully - a panel showing her down on her haunches is particularly well done.
What with the return of Jason Todd, Batman is attacked psychologically as well as physically so the fight scene in this issue is particularly intense.
Oracle has been a presence in Hush since the very first issue but this time around Batman actually pays Barbara a visit in her clock tower aerie.
It is the last issue of a series that has me seeing the best Jim Lee art I've ever seen! Better than his X-Men issues and better than his WildC.A.T.S. issues. Heck, these are even better than his New 52 issues. This series is so deserving of the absolute edition that they gave it.
Since the beginning, Batman is being observed by a mysterious bandaged figure, obviously the mastermind. This issue is the big reveal. And yes, this mysterious figure is Hush.
Amazingly, this is the least exciting issue of the bunch. Not really anti-climactic, it feels more like an issue-long epilogue. I'd still pick it up because a lot of the loose ends are neatly taken cared of here; plus some tangents for future storylines and permanent changes because of the arc are established.
That's it for us and that's it for Hush. Get it? That's if for 'Hush', oh, nevermind.
A Batman Hush tribute :