Batman: Hush

Tell me Batman, you let one Robin die. Want to go for two?

Batman: Hush is a dark and captivating tale by writer Jeph Loeb and artist Jim Lee. Batman: Hush takes you from the darkest corners of the Dark Knight’s mind to the deepest depths of his soul as he faces his toughest challenge yet. When nothing is as it seems, who can you trust, and will you be able to live with the truth?

The Dark Knight was born of tragedy. The loss of Bruce Wayne’s parents forged an iron-hearted soul within him, one which sought to punish those who would bring tragedy to others, but this dark soul within Wayne was not invulnerable. It would be changed again by tragedy, on the day that both Bruce Wayne and Batman mourned the death of Jason Todd, the second Robin, a death in the family.

Years later, Batman flies through the night sky in pursuit of Catwoman, when a Batarang screams through the night and severs the only tether between the Dark Knight and the sky. He falls hundreds of feet into the maw of Gotham City. Battered, broken, and barely conscious, the Dark Knight is not without his protectors. He is safely returned to the Batcave and diagnosed with a near-fatal skull fracture. Aware of his condition, Batman taps the name “Thomas Elliot” in Morse Code.

Thomas Elliot, a brilliant surgeon and childhood friend of Bruce Wayne, brings him back from his near-death experience. And, for a while, everything appears to be normal. Even a long-desired romance begins to blossom between Batman and Catwoman, as secrets are shared and identities are revealed. In the midst of a romance that should have happened long ago, the Dark Knight is caught off guard by the actions and manipulations of a mysterious man who knows the Dark Knight’s most closely guarded secrets, a man known only as Hush. Batman’s quest for the identity of Hush will bring him to face all of his arch-nemeses, the diamond-crushing strength of Superman, and even the grave of a long-buried companion.

Batman: Hush is a dark, gripping, and powerful tale, written by Jeph Loeb and penciled by Jim Lee. Loeb’s captivating story takes the Dark Knight on a journey of discovery that leads him to face all of his fears and re-defines the depths of his soul, while Lee’s artwork brings the Dark Knight to life in a Noir-ish atmosphere with characterizations and emotions that practically tell the story for themselves.

The story and artwork of Batman: Hush combine to make a reading experience that feels more realistic than your average comic. The story is immersive, with enough detail and depth to make you feel as if you relate to each character and event in some way, and enough mystery and intrigue to captivate your attention throughout the entire novel.

Batman: Hush is a must-have for any fan of the Dark Knight. The Absolute Edition of Batman: Hush, released in October of 2005, features all twelve issues collected in one hardcover volume with oversized border-less pages and makes the perfect addition to any graphic novel collection.

This review was previously published on Splash Panel on September 1, 2006.

Kingdom Come

He had not turned his back on us. He stands in the sky … faith rewarded. He is returned … and – dear God. The threat of Armageddon hasn’t ended. It’s just begun …

Kingdom Come, a DC Elseworlds masterpiece by writer Mark Waid and artist Alex Ross, is the best graphic novel ever produced by a major comic publisher. A philosophical tale of Armageddon in the DC universe, Kingdom Come is filled with biblical parallels which cast our heroes and antiheroes into haunting roles that we are all too familiar with.

The world of Kingdom Come begins several years after the mainstream continuity of the DC universe. An aged and maddened Joker rampages through the Daily Planet, claiming the lives of ninety-two men and one woman. Magog, a modern-age antihero enraged by Superman’s inaction, arrives at the scene of the massacre and ends the Joker’s life in front of a stunned Superman. The resulting controversy leads the people of Metropolis to choose Magog as the man who would best safeguard their future. They choose the man who would kill over the man who wouldn’t, and this choice will cost them dearly.

Disheartened by the changing times, and unable to change with them, Superman made a decision to turn his back on humanity and live in exile in his Fortress of Solitude. Following Superman’s example, many of the Earth’s greatest heroes similarly retired into exile. In their absence, a new breed of antiheroes, inspired by Magog and completely devoid of any concern for human safety, emerged to conquer anyone who who would oppose their own definition of righteousness. These events set the stage for Kingdom Come.

Ten years later, a relentless attack by Magog and his Justice Battalion on a weary and beaten Parasite leads to a cataclysmic nuclear explosion which destroys the entire state of Kansas. In response to the catastrophe, the safe coexistence between humans and meta-humans is questioned by those with enough authority and firepower to end it, and a derelict hero returns to set right the wrongs that had been committed in his absence. The war has begun, and Armageddon is not far behind.

Kingdom Come‘s haunting and emotional story is told through the eyes of Norman McCay, a Pastor who begins to lose his faith and feels as if he has betrayed his congregation, as he can find nothing to comfort them in this time of crisis. He is guided through time and space by the Spector to bear witness to the events that will lead to Armageddon and to judge those responsible. The weight of this responsibility causes Norman to question the true meanings of humanity, faith, and evil.

Mark Waid’s story offers an imaginative look into the future of the DC universe and effortlessly blends it with the book of Revelation. Biblical scripture from Revelation, foretold by Norman McCay and his dying friend, Wesley Dodds (the former Sandman), is masterfully woven into the story and paints an eerie future for our childhood heroes.

Alex Ross adds his powerful imagination to the story by beautifully illustrating his vision of the future heroes. Ross is legendary for the quality of his artwork, his use of paints, his imaginative vision, and his attention to detail. Kingdom Come is his best work.

Alex Ross’ beautiful artwork fills all two-hundred and twelve pages of this novel, masterfully illustrating every emotion, every struggle, and every sacrifice, while Mark Waid’s story is gripping, passionate, and powerful.

Kingdom Come is a story about what it truly means to be human, and the sacrifices we make in order to achieve what is right. It can easily reach a common ground with any reader, and reach into the soul of even those who perceive themselves to be soul-less.

This review was previously published on Splash Panel on July 6, 2006.

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Batman 75th Anniversary (Part 2)

Following the first animated short from Batman’s 75th Anniversary, the second animated short features a much older Bruce Wayne and his younger protégé Terry McGinnis (from the Batman Beyond series) as they face off against a surprisingly nostalgic cast. Can you identify all of their assailants?

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Batman 75th Anniversary

Unlike my earlier post, where I was late for Superman’s 75th Anniversary, we are just in time for Batman’s 75th Anniversary. To celebrate, DC Entertainment produced Batman: Strange Days, an animated short featuring Bob Kane’s original Batman design.

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Valentine’s Day with Batman and Catwoman

Before you settle down to celebrate Valentine’s Day by binge-watching the second season of House of Cards, here’s a true love story featuring Batman and Catwoman with music by Lolita Ritmanis.