Bruce's wounds gush, the origin of Hush, and Steph's bravado is crushed, all features of this twenty-sixth entry in DC's weekly Batman series. Batman's about as good at keeping track of Alfred as he is the evidence he gave Jason Bard to clear Jim Gordon, because damn, poor ol' Al ends this issue in some deep trouble. But Batman is a busy guy taking on the chaos all around the city thanks to Hush and Bard's machinations. Will Batman find his nemesis in time to stop him from his greater plan? And more importantly, is he even the grand mastermind behind this all?
I just cannot stand the distorted facial features of R.M. Guera's artwork. He has to be in the bottom three or four artists for this series, and it's pretty sad DC would put such hideous looking work on such a major property. I can understand everything having a weird, dreamlike quality in Bruce's flashbacks to Tommy Elliot's story (which wasn't rendered by Guera), but some of the expressions made, whether by Bruce, Tim, or Stephanie just look hilariously off, as if this artist has never heard of proportions or perspective before in his life. It just looks disgusting and is a huge distraction from the story. And for some reason, Alfred looks like he's eighty, ninety years old and thirty or forty pounds overweight. Learn to draw, you hack!
This is just... no part of this is... what am I even looking at here, Guera? Is that a face or an ass?
Well, at least he won't be doing the art for the next issue.
Most of the issue is dedicated to Hush, now that he's the major villain of the story, and we get some of his background story finally. It's a little different from his Pre-New 52 origin, but has some same basic elements. Here, though, it seems like an emphasis was put on Tommy wanting so badly to be Bruce. Originally, Thomas Elliot wanted to have Bruce's freedom, but he'd killed his father because he was a horrible, abusive drunk and his mother never stood up to the man, so he hoped to do them both at once. His mother survived the crash and smothered him well into his early 20s, until he finally snapped and killed her, too, also making it look an accident. He only became Hush when he realized that Bruce Wayne, who had inherited his parents' money at an early age was having the kind of life he wanted, and resented him because he'd have that life too if Bruce's father hadn't worked so hard and saved Mrs. Elliott from dying in the car accident.
He knew that Bruce was Batman because after having taken a dip in the restoring Lazarus Pit for his cancer, The Riddler came to an epiphany about who Batman must've been all along. The whole original Hush storyline was really masterminded by Riddler. After defeating Hush, Batman convinced the quizzical criminal that the more he revealed that secret the less it was worth, and so Riddler never told anyone else. In subsequent storylines, Hush just wanted bitter revenge for Bruce having lived a great adventurous life that Tommy didn't get to until he killed his mother. Pretty stupid reason, but he's crazy. Paul Dini mostly made it work in his Heart of Hush story where Hush did plastic surgery on himself to look like Bruce.
Here is this obsession with being like Bruce that drove young Tommy to killing his parents. He always wanted to be Bruce, claimed to be him to pick up women, was enraged when he was spurned by him. There's this sort of Talented Mr. Ripley/Single White Female thing going on here, but it covers the same basics of the character.
"What, me worry?"
Apparently Elliott's face looks like it did before Heart of Hush, however, and nobody seems to be able to recognize famous surgeon Thomas Elliott who law enforcement have probably already outed as Hush long ago thanks to Batman. He just has Alfred sent to the corrupted Arkham which is now run by the inmates. Some of them, anyway. Poor Al is going to have to deal with Joker's Daughter, who's wearing the face of the guy who as recent as a year or so ago kidnapped him, also while wearing that face... as a mask, as she is. Batman comics are weird. But the worst thing is that Joker's Daughter is a terrible, annoying character and we'll be feeling Alfred's pain seeing more of her.
"Is... is this Fat Camp?"
Stephanie was feeling so good about herself. She found out quite a bit of the C-list Villain Squad's plans, got her father arrested, stole Lock-Up's super key, and was poised to rub in her father's face her accomplishments. But that was a huge mistake, because somebody screwed with her phone and now she sent out a bounty on herself. Though I'm not sure how that worked. I mean, also, if she just changes costumes, his plan is kind of screwed, because the bounty is out on the purple-garbed, full face masked Spoiler, not on unmasked Stephanie Brown. And why should anyone even take the bounty seriously? But fine, I guess I'm being a little nitpicky. This will keep her busy for a while.
"Somebody leaked the nude photos I sent to my boyfriend! I am SUCH a sex crime victim, right?"
Next issue: Cat's Cradle!
- Penguin Truth
Story: Scott Snyder & James Tynion IV
Script: James Tynion IV
Consulting Writers: Raw Fawkes, Kyle Higgins, & Tim Seeley
Art: R.M. Guera
Flashback Art & Colors: Juan Ferreyra
Colors: Giulia Brusco
Lettering By: Steve Wands
Cover By: Jason Fabok & Brad Anderson
Editor: Chris Conroy
Asst. Editor: Matt Humphreys & Dave Wielgosz
Group Editor: Mark Doyle
Batman Created By Bob K--AHAHAHAHA, NO. Batman Created By Bill Finger