We made it, friends. It’s the weekend—the perfect time for a quick escape from life and the weekly grind. But you don’t need to leave your home to escape. Not when there are comics that can be read or downloaded with a few flicks of your fingers. Open up a good graphic novel and you can escape into an entirely different world, full of phenomenal sights and peopled with some of the most remarkable characters that you’ll ever come across.
Speaking of sights, they don’t get more spectacular than those brought to life by Jim Lee. This year, Batman: Hush celebrates its 20th anniversary. Written by Jeph Loeb and penciled by Lee, in what was his first substantial DC comics project, Hush remains one of the most influential and defining Dark Knight stories ever written. If you’ve never read it—or haven’t read it in years—this is the perfect weekend to dive in. The twelve-issue story, which initially ran in Batman #608-#619, is a great crash course into the world of Batman comics if you’re new to them or a perfect reminder of what we love about them if you’re a longtime reader.
Someone is pulling the strings in Gotham City, striking at the Dark Knight from a distance. Batman discovers than an unseen foe is manipulating his enemies, leveling them up. To make matters worse, the mysterious villain Hush seems to know the Dark Knight’s secret identity and is striking at both Batman and Bruce Wayne with surgical precision. Can Batman unmask this foe before his life completely unravels?
Let’s Talk Talent
Loeb (who is also known for writing the equally iconic Batman: The Long Halloween) proves that he’s one of the greatest Batman storytellers of the 21st century. In addition to functioning as a gripping mystery, Batman: Hush does an incredible job at getting in the Dark Knight’s head with entertaining bits of internal narration. Loeb has a good voice for Batman and he certainly knows how to tell a solid mystery.
Obviously, Lee is a pretty big deal at DC (he’s the company’s Publisher and Chief Creative Officer, for those of you unaware). Lee’s take on Batman and his world in Hush quickly became the industry standard and his art from the book has been regularly used on licensed DC products. In fact, chances are you’re already familiar with some of Hush’s most recognizable images, even if you’ve never read it. The reasons for this are clear. Assisted by his regular collaborators Scott Williams and Alex Sinclair, this is Jim Lee working at the top of his game, producing dynamic layouts, rendering tense action sequences and storyboarding emotional scenes. The Dark Knight, his allies and his enemies have never looked better.
A Few Reasons to Read
- If you love mysteries, then Batman: Hush is the perfect page-turner. It will capture your attention from the first page to the last. You’ll enjoy gathering clues alongside the Dark Knight as you eliminate suspects, run into red herrings and gather new pieces of evidence. Can you solve the case before the Dark Knight?
- Are you a Batman and Catwoman shipper? If you aren’t, then this storyline might convert you. The relationship between Batman and Catwoman takes center stage in this story, with some of the best character work ever produced for the now beloved comic book couple. In fact, this story set the tone for Bruce and Selina’s relationship for the next decade, making it an important touchstone in the Bat and Cat saga.
- Batman: Hush is a great comic for new readers. This storyline features most of the Dark Knight’s most important allies and enemies, and it explains some of his key relationships and rivalries. Maybe you saw and loved The Batman or Batman: The Animated Series but felt intimidated by the hero’s comics in the past. If you’re one of those fans, let Batman: Hush be your gateway into the Dark Knight’s comic universe.
- If you’re a fan of Jason Todd, then this comic has a moment that you’ll really love. I won’t spoil how, but this story sets the stage for his return as Red Hood.
- In addition to everything else I’ve mentioned, Batman: Hush also contains one of the most intense Batman and Superman fights you’ll ever see. It comes about when Poison Ivy takes control of the Man of Steel, which means Superman isn’t pulling any punches this time around.
Why It’s Worth Your Time
Batman: Hush may be celebrating its 20th anniversary, but the story feels timeless. The high stakes, giant layouts and thrilling action give this comic saga the feel of a summer blockbuster movie, yet it remains a mystery tale at its core. The story is also the perfect entry point into Batman’s world thanks to the way it introduces and explains its most essential elements. Even if you aren’t a new fan, there is a lot here to enjoy and unpack. In fact, Batman: Hush benefits from multiple rereads, as you’ll constantly find yourself picking up on new clues, nuances and things you missed the first time around. Plus, that Jim Lee artwork is breathtaking and looking at it never gets old…even after a decade or two.
Batman: Hush 20th Anniversary Edition, a spectacular new deluxe hardcover compiling the entire storyline along with an all-new five page story from the original creative team, will be available in bookstores, comic shops and digital retailers on October 18th. You can also read Batman: Hush in full right now on DC UNIVERSE INFINITE.
Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about TV, movies and comics for DCComics.com, is a regular contributor to the Couch Club and writes our monthly Batman column, "Gotham Gazette." Follow him on Twitter at @TBUJosh.
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this feature are solely those of Joshua Lapin-Bertone and do not necessarily reflect those of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros.