Batman: Hush is a twelve-part Batman storyline written by Jeph Loeb and illustrated by Jim Lee. It's published in the Batman series, following the conclusion to Ed Brubaker's long-term Fugitive saga and followed by Brian Azzarello's Broken City storyline. This storyline introduces the villain Hush, who makes his next appearance in A.J. Lieberman's Hush Returns.
A physically altered Killer Croc kidnaps Edward Lamont IV, heir to the Lamont Chemical fortune. He is holding him for a ten million dollar ransom. Batman tracks the boy down and rescues him and gets into a fight with Croc. Batman defeats Croc by using a hyper-sonic device that sends Croc reeling over with pain. During the fight however, Catwoman arrives and sneaks off with the ransom money.
Batman takes off swinging after Catwoman. He's hot on her tail, but Catwoman leaps from rooftop to rooftop always two steps ahead of him. As Batman closes in for the capture, something cuts through his batline. He falls all the way to the street below and is knocked unconscious. The fall, and his recent battle with Croc severely injures him.
Catwoman meanwhile meets up with Poison Ivy and hands her the ten million. Something is definitely odd here, as Catwoman appears to be submissive to Poison Ivy's charms.
As yet, no one knows who cut the batline.
Huntress screeches to a halt with her motorcycle in the middle of Park Row. Deploying her battle staff, she launches into the thugs surrounding Batman’s body. While beating her opponents back, she maintains radio communication with Oracle, who in turn uses remote control to bring the Batmobile to their location. Huntress loads Batman’s unconscious body into the empty vehicle, whereupon it returns to the Batcave.
Elsewhere, Poison Ivy takes the money-filled attaché case that she received from Catwoman and gives it to a shadowy figure at an undisclosed location.
At the Batcave, Alfred Pennyworth labors around the clock to save Bruce's life, but there is little even his impressive skills can accomplish. Bruce is suffering from a severe skull fracture. Though barely conscious, Bruce manages to tap out the name "Thomas Elliot" in Morse code. Thomas Elliot is a brilliant neurosurgeon and a childhood friend of Bruce Wayne.
Alfred takes Bruce to Gotham City Hospital and Dr. Elliot manages to save his life. During the operation, Bruce dreams of his childhood. He recalls playing games of strategy with young Tommy Elliot, and remarking at Tommy’s keen analytical mind.
Alfred has Nightwing wreck one of Bruce’s sports cars, and stages the story that Bruce injured himself while racing throughout the neighborhood of Bristol. The operation proves successful, and Bruce is released.
Later, Bruce dons the guise of Batman and visits Killer Croc at Arkham Asylum. He wants to know what Croc wanted the ten million dollars for, but Croc refuses to cooperate. More mutated than ever, Croc flies into a rage and smashes through the glass panels of his cell.
Killer Croc has been taken to Arkham Asylum. Batman visits his electro-cell and tries to figure out who put Croc up to kidnapping the Lamont boy. Further, he needs to determine what happened to the ransom money. Croc is more beastly than ever and he refuses to say anything. He breaks free of the electro-cell and attacks Batman. He easily mangles Batman and the guards and makes his escape.
Amanda Waller of the Office of Meta-Human Affairs arrives and tells Batman that he has until midnight to find and stop Croc or else her people are moving in. Batman and Waller do not have a good working relationship with each other.
That evening, Dr. Thomas Elliot visits Wayne Manor. Bruce is down in the Batcave and instructs Alfred to tell Thomas that he isn't home. Alfred hasn't seen Thomas since he was a child, and recalls the night that Thomas’ father died in an auto accident when he was very young.
That evening, Batman scours the streets of Gotham in the Batmobile looking for signs of Croc. A shot is fired, and the Batmobile blows a wheel sending the car into a crash. The Batmobile tires are specially treated and should not blow out under any circumstances.
Killer Croc meanwhile traces the money trail back to Catwoman who has been spending time in Poison Ivy’s greenhouse apartment. He breaks through the greenhouse windows and attacks her. Batman arrives and tries to convince Croc that he is being manipulated. Croc reveals that he wanted the ransom money to fix his current physical condition. But before Batman can get even further with him, Waller’s people arrive in helicopters and spring electrical nets on top of Killer Croc. They swoop him up and take off with him. From across the street, the mysterious Hush watches everything that is transpiring.
Catwoman thanks Batman for saving her and tells him that she was manipulated by Poison Ivy. She plans on tracking Ivy down to her safe-house in Metropolis. Batman and Catwoman share a passionate kiss.
Bruce Wayne flies to Metropolis. He needs to find Poison Ivy in order to discover her involvement in the Edward Lamont ransom case. As he disembarks from the plane, he recalls the first time he came to Metropolis.
As young children, Bruce Wayne and Thomas Elliot witnessed a fight between the original Green Lantern and the first Icicle. They disobeyed Thomas Wayne's instructions to remain by the limousine.
Bruce visits his newspaper the Daily Planet under the guise of checking in on his investment. But what he really needs to do is talk to star reporter, Clark Kent (Or rather, his alias, Superman). Bruce flirts with Lois Lane and chats with Perry White for a bit – but his thoughts are actually on the kiss he shared with Catwoman the prior evening.
He then visits the Lexcorp offices as Batman and speaks with CEO Talia Head. He inquires about a dangerous chemical compound that Lexcorp dabbles in – a compound developed by Lamont Chemicals. Before Talia can speak at length however, Batman is called away as he discovers that Catwoman is in town as well and hot on the trail of Poison Ivy.
Catwoman breaks into Poison Ivy's headquarters and pretends that she is still under her thrall. But Poison Ivy instantly recognizes the deception and the two begin fighting. Batman arrives seconds behind Catwoman and saves her from being strangled by one of Ivy's sentient vines. But Poison Ivy has another notorious personage under her thrall – Superman. As the top of Ivy's greenhouse collapses, Superman is seen hovering, ready to protect her.
Batman and Catwoman retreat to the lower levels of Poison Ivy's penthouse. Batman removes a Kryptonite ring from his utility belt in preparation for dealing with Superman. Superman smashes through the wall, and Batman immediately takes the offensive, battering him with a flurry of blows, while the Kryptonite in his hand steadily weakens Superman. Although he is under Poison Ivy’s control, there is still a part of Superman's true intellect that keeps him from using his full strength against the Dark Knight.
Batman baits Superman into following him topside. On the top of one of the neighboring skyscrapers, Catwoman has Lois Lane hostage. Batman draws Superman's attention to them, just as Catwoman drops Lois from the top of the building. If need be, Batman knows that Catwoman can reach Lois in time, but fortunately, she doesn’t have to. The shock of seeing Lois in danger breaks Ivy’s hold on Superman and he flies up and catches her.
Superman, Batman and Catwoman go to Poison Ivy's penthouse to confront her. Ivy attempts to escape, but Krypto is present to block her path. Catwoman lays her out with one solid punch to the jaw.
Bruce Wayne goes to the Gotham City Opera House along with Tommy Elliot, Selina Kyle and Leslie Thompkins. During the opera, the main actor begins acting strangely until it is revealed to actually be Harley Quinn in disguise. Harley's masked henchmen take control of the orchestra pit and begin spraying the room with gunfire. Bruce, Selina and Tommy all move to conduct crowd control. Harley tries to steal a pendant from around Tommy's neck – an important heirloom he had since he was a child.
Bruce quickly ducks away to turn into Batman. He is surprised to see Harley acting in such a violent fashion – a fashion that is quite uncharacteristic of her. While Batman intercepts Harley, Selina changes into Catwoman. Catwoman and Harley bounce all across the stage trying to catch each other, but ultimately Harley shoots Catwoman. Batman races to Catwoman’s side as Harley makes her escape.
Catwoman's wound is superficial and she chastises Batman for letting Harley get away. Batman runs outside, but the villain is nowhere to be found. Suddenly he hears a gun shot coming from a nearby alley. Running towards the sound of the gun he finds the Joker standing over the bleeding body of his friend Tommy Elliot.
Batman flies into a rage and begins pummeling the Joker. The Joker keeps muttering the word, "Stop", but Batman isn't listening to him. Harley Quinn tries sneaking up behind him with a giant hammer, but Batman sidesteps the blow, and Harley accidentally smashes the Joker's arm with the hammer. Batman gives Harley a kick to the gut to get her out of the way, then continues to beat on the Joker. Images of Barbara Gordon, Jason Todd and Sarah Essen flash through his mind – all victims of the Joker.
Catwoman, slowed by the bullet lodged in her shoulder, attempts to restrain Batman with her whip. She recognizes the look in the Dark Knight's eyes, and realizes that he plans on killing the Joker. Batman swings about punching Catwoman in her wounded shoulder. The shock from the pain causes her to slump over.
As Batman continues to wail on the Joker, former police commissioner James Gordon shows up behind him. He draws his weapon and fires two warning shots. He coaxes Batman away from the Joker, reminding him that he is about to cross a line that can never be forgiven. Batman calms down, and the Joker is taken away.
From a rooftop high above, Hush witnesses the event while flipping a scarred silver dollar in his hand. Talking to himself, he admits that the Joker was actually innocent in the death of Tommy Elliot.
Funeral services are held for Doctor Thomas Elliot. Attending are Dick Grayson, Tim Drake, Selina Kyle and Leslie Thompkins. Bruce Wayne speaks during the service, reciting one of his favorite poems.
Later, Bruce is back in the Batcave, pouring over all of the evidence associated to Tommy's murder. He deduces that the Joker is actually innocent, and that someone went out of their way to make Batman believe him guilty. Nightwing drops by and shows concern over Bruce's wellbeing. He knows that Bruce has been seeing Selina, and encourages him to reveal his secret identity to her.
Before long, Oracle radios Batman and Nightwing, informing them that the Riddler has just hijacked an armored car. The two heroes set aside their investigation to quickly nab him. Racing through the streets of Gotham in the Batmobile, they use the vehicle's battering ram feature to force the armored car off the road. The Riddler tries to flee, but Batman easily nabs him. Investigating the scene for further evidence, Batman is surprised to find ash from a Lazarus Pit near the wreckage of the armored car.
Elsewhere, Harvey Dent, garbed in a trench coat and bandages springs the Joker out of Arkham Asylum. Removing the bandages, he reveals that his face has been completely healed of the gruesome scarring that earned him the sobriquet, Two-Face.
Later, Batman meets Catwoman at the Gotham City Zoo. Taking her into his confidence, he removes his cowl, revealing the face of Bruce Wayne.
Batman rappels down from the Batplane and boards the company jetliner, Lexcorp-One. Once inside, he kidnaps Talia Head and brings her back to Gotham. He leaves Talia in the care of Catwoman, and hopes that news of her abduction will send a message to her father, Ra's al Ghul. The message is quickly received as Batman soon finds a scimitar sticking out from a computer terminal in the Batcave. Deciphering the context of Ra's "message", he learns that he is being summoned to North Africa.
Elsewhere, Harvey Dent sneaks into the home of former police commissioner James Gordon. He tells Jim that the Batman will need his help in resolving the current string of crimes. He also tells Gordon that the gun used to kill Tommy Elliot was Jim's old service pistol.
Batman arrives in Africa and meets with Ra's. The two engage in a sword fight, and Batman surprises Ra’s by running him through. With Ra's incapacitated, Batman begins questioning him.
Back in Gotham City, Lady Shiva (under orders from Ra's) breaks into Catwoman's penthouse to rescue Talia. She gets into a fight with Catwoman, and easily takes her out. To her surprise however, Talia turns the tables on her, smashing a chair across the back of Shiva's head. At that moment, Batman returns to find Catwoman and Lady Shiva lying on the floor unconscious. Talia kisses Batman and warns him that his mysterious opponent knows about his affection towards Catwoman and will use it against him.
Batman and Catwoman are in the Batcave going through all of the computer equipment. Batman realizes that there was a double meaning behind Ra's placement of a sword in the computers, and he needs to determine what message Ra's was trying to send him.
Suddenly, Robin drops down from the ceiling and criticizes Batman for letting Catwoman in on his secret identity. Catwoman and Robin briefly clash, but Batman breaks it up. Frustrated, Catwoman borrows a bat-cycle and speeds off into the night. Tim's behavior towards Catwoman was a staged act to determine whether Catwoman was worthy of Bruce's trust.
In the streets of Gotham, Catwoman encounters the Huntress. The Huntress is acting very strangely and the two get into a brawl. It soon becomes apparent that the Huntress is under the thrall of the Scarecrow’s fear toxin. Batman arrives on the scene and fights the Scarecrow. Their fight takes them to a small private cemetery. Batman beats the Scarecrow up, and demands to know who has been manipulating so many of Gotham’s criminal minds.
Suddenly, a Batarang flies from out of nowhere, nicking the Scarecrow's face. Batman wheels around and sees Hush standing before him. Hush has captured Robin and currently holds his unconscious body by the scruff of the neck. He removes the bandages from his face revealing himself as Jason Todd – the second Robin who died years ago.
Jason Todd is ready to slit Robin’s throat, and accuses him of being a "pretender" to the role. Catwoman arrives and dives down on top of him, freeing Robin from Jason's grip. With the Boy Wonder out of danger, Batman takes the opportunity to engage Jason directly. Batman stabs him in the leg with a Batarang, then delivers a crushing punch to the solar plexus. The two continue to trade blows, until Jason takes to higher ground. Jason confesses to cutting the batline, which caused the Dark Knight to plummet nearly to his death in Crime Alley. Batman begins to suspect that this may not actually be Jason Todd. After several more minutes of intense fighting, Batman wins out over him. Jason's features dissolve into a river of clay that slips through Batman's fingers. Jason was actually Clayface in disguise.
More frustrated than ever, Batman goes to Oracle's Clock Tower in the hopes of finally solving the answer to all of the mysteries that had been plaguing him of late. Oracle shows him the electronic relay device that Batman had discovered in the cave. This device was used to learn all of Batman's secrets, including his relationship with Catwoman. Batman learns that the person responsible for installing the device was his old friend, Harold Allnut.
Batman drives out to the Gotham City Bridge where he secretly meets with Harold. Harold is now standing upright and can speak. He confesses to planting the monitoring device, and explains that the man who hired him healed his physical deformities and even enabled him to speak. Harold is remorseful for betraying Bruce, and apologizes. Just as he is ready to reveal the name of the man who hired him, a shot rings out and Harold falls over, dead. Batman spins around to find Hush standing before him.
Batman cradles the dead body of Harold, his former aide. Hush is standing over them, his guns still smoldering. Batman still has no idea who Hush truly is. He launches into him with a flurry of blows, but Hush keeps a safe distance from him. Hush finally reveals himself to be Tommy Elliot. Batman had believed that the Joker had previously killed Tommy, but that turned out to merely be Clayface in disguise. As Hush, Tommy wants revenge on the Wayne family. Dr. Thomas Wayne had saved the life of his mother after a staged car accident. Elliot wanted his parents to die so that he could collect the inheritance. Jim Gordon and Harvey Dent arrive to give Batman back-up. Harvey shoots Hush two times in the chest, and Hush falls backwards into the bay. Gordon is forced to arrest Dent.
Although Hush seems to be gone, Batman still has to figure out who the true mastermind of this entire affair is. Who told Hush that Batman was secretly Bruce Wayne? The trail leads Batman to Arkham Asylum. He finds that it has been the Riddler pulling the strings the whole time. The Riddler had been dying of terminal cancer and had used one of Ra's al Ghul's Lazarus Pits to save his life. Healed from the illness, he decided that he wanted to make it big in Gotham. He was tired of being just another crook with a gimmick. So he hooked up with Thomas Eliot (whom he met while researching his illness) and the two decided to play the ultimate Riddle against Batman using all of Gotham's super-villains as pawns. Batman knows that the Riddler is aware of his true identity but he has enough leverage on him to keep him quiet.
After conferring with the Riddler, Batman meets back up with Catwoman. Catwoman knows that it is impossible for her to continue a romance with Batman. He simply won't allow himself to fall in love. She walks away from him.
Two major plot elements from the storyline were later retconned in other Batman storylines. In Batman Annual Vol 1 25, it was revealed that Batman was actually fighting the real Jason Todd in the graveyard, who later switched places with Clayface. Also, following the events of Infinite Crisis, it was revealed that the Riddler had spent a year in a coma and lost all memory of ever knowing that Batman was Bruce Wayne.
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Items: None known.
Vehicles: None known.
Weapons: None known.
- No special notes.
- No trivia.
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