“Hush, little baby, don’t say a word.
Mama’s going to buy you a mockingbird, And if that mockingbird don’t sing,
Mama’s going to buy you a diamond ring…”
The title comes from the fact that this story arc provides the Batman Universe with one of the most menacing, underrated and psychotic of rouges present in the Batman’s rogue gallery. There is a recurring theme of ‘friendship’ being played around in the background, either in a mocking manner or simply in a tone as per the point of the story’s status, that lays down the groundwork for the big climax that defines and at the same re-defines Hush – making it a must-read for all who are interested in the escapades of the Caped Crusader. Each issue is a build-up, a well-planned construction being carried out to the point where it all comes together eventually! Moreover, it contains the big guns that have influenced the Batman legacy – Poison Ivy, Killer Croc, Superman, Catwoman, Huntress, Joker, Harley Quinn and the list goes on. The writers of this tale went all Marvel and held nothing back as they shaped up one of the rightly emotionally-wrenched storyline. Not to forget, Jim Lee’s pencil work. Now that is something which will make you stare at each image a little longer than you should.
There is a moment when despite everything that has been taking place in Batman’s life and his subsequent face-offs with his rotten clients, if meting out justice is indeed considered a business, the paranoia that is so well accounted for with the Caped Crusader surfaces as his desire to be with Catwoman is overpowered by his urge to make sure that she can be trusted. In fact, he goes ahead to tell her his true identity and yet continues to be suspicious. This is a reflection of the man, the boy, who grew up with a vengeance, an ideal but never managed to completely do away with what made him human and the related emotions that follow. The reunion with his long forgotten friend – the esteemed surgeon Dr. Thomas Elliot who had saved his life in the initial stages of the story - was rather short-lived as he is believed or made to appear to have been killed by the Joker. This sent the Batman into a frenzy where some of the most iconic moments involving the Joker is recounted. From the crippling of Barbara Gordon, the killing of James Gordon’s first wife to the death of the second Robin – Jason Todd, a flash-flood of events that shaped the Batman legacy sprang forth. It engineered one of those moments in DC history when Batman came scarily close to killing the Clown Prince of Crime, had it not been for James Gordon himself. The amount of seriousness combined with the dark sense of the setting gave the readers a feeling into the doubt and guilt that Batman processed each day. A personal, guillotine where he beheaded himself mentally and morally each day in his own isolation!
"What is a friend? A soul dwelling in two bodies."
After a struggle that shall remain memorable given that it highlighted the moral dilemma that Batman had always tussled with regarding the loss of Todd where he enlists the reasons as to why he always had a Robin around and particularly, the traits that made each Robin different and unique, it was to be revealed that the Caped Crusader was only being played with the inclusion of Clayface. It only boiled down from there to the climax as the actual mastermind, the real culprit was unveiled. Dr. Thomas Elliot, nicknamed the Hush. Bruce Wayne’s childhood friend and all the loose ends were eventually tied. The Riddler, the one villain, who had been discarded earlier in one of the many subplots was a major focal point as the Batman walks in and asks him “Why did you do it, Nigma?” and he simply shrugged, only to be outwitted by the Detective. Thus, the Hush storyline combined many aspects of the Dark Knight’s legacy to create a piece, so brilliant, that it gave the DC continuity the HUSH.
The obsession for being similar to Bruce Wayne and the ruthlessness of most psychopaths, combined with the ingenious skills of a master surgeon. That is a combination which continues to make the Batman’s life miserable in the DC realm and not to forget the fact that he was his childhood friend. The series also reveals the fears, uncertainties and yearnings of a man who has given his life to an ideal.
As they say, the spoilt child might keep asking for more but the one who spoilt himself to indulge others wants in his own strange manner.