My Favorites: Comic Book Story Arc

May 5, 2017

Once upon a time I read a lot of comics. A lot of comics. Mostly DC, mostly Batman. Because Batman is the best. Go ahead and disagree, but you'll be wrong.

 

After a decade as a fangirl and the facepalm that was the New 52, I gradually fell away from my comic obsession. But I still and forever will have a soft spot for all things superhero, and sometimes I like to revisit my favorite story lines. Hush is right at the top.

 

This one has everything. Batman's being attacked by an unseen adversary, and in the process of solving the mystery, he comes face to face with his greatest failure, seemingly back from the dead to exact some revenge. The peripherals of this story are great, no doubt about that: villains in this story include Killer Croc, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, the Joker, Clayface, Harvey Dent, the Riddler, and, of course, the titular character Hush. We also get an epic throwdown with Superman and a tentative romantic relationship with Catwoman that fails because --big surprise-- Batman is too paranoid. But the best part of the story is the exploration of Batman's character, as revealed through his family.

 

The appeal of Batman for me has always been the psychology of his character. The dude's messed up. He watched his parents die, and now he dresses up like a bat and beats the shit out of bad guys. On the surface he's got all the things most people aspire to: power, good looks, and a boatload of money, yet he's still the kid watching his parents get gunned down in the street. Although he remains Gotham's most eligible bachelor, he has (perhaps unconsciously, and most certainly unintentionally) acquired a new family, and the ever-present threat of losing his family is the theme of this arc. We see it play out in the way he pushes Huntress away, even after she saves his life. We see it in his hesitancy to let Catwoman get close. We see it in his reflections on Dick Grayson, the first Robin, in the way he protects Tim Drake, the current (at the time) Robin, and in his reaction to the apparent return of the Robin he got killed. It's an excellent study of a fascinating character, and it's a heck of a story to boot. If you've ever even thought about reading a Batman comic, this is the one to pick up.

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