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
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.
As yet, no one knows who cut the batline.
Batman is surrounded by thugs and he is unable to move. Oracle notices this and contacts the closest vigilante to Batman's location. 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. This whole scene is witnesses from afar by a mysterious man whose face is covered in bandages.
Elsewhere, Poison Ivy takes the money-filled attaché case that she received from Catwoman and gives half of the money 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.
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 still looking for Croc 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.
Later, Batman scours the streets of Gotham in the Batmobile looking for signs of Croc when a shot is fired, and the Batmobile blows a wheel sending the car into a crash. The Batmobile's tires are specially treated and should not blow out under any circumstances.
Meanwhile, Killer Croc traces the money trail back to Catwoman who looking for clues in Poison Ivy's greenhouse apartment. Croc breaks through the greenhouse windows and attacks her. Batman arrives and tries to tell Croc that they are 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 man watches everything that is happening.
Some nights later, Catwoman tells Batman that she has found Poison Ivy moved to Metropolis and she wants to track Ivy down to her safe-house there. Catwoman thanks Batman for saving her and she demonstrates her gratitude by kissing him. Feeling the solitude in his life, Batman kisses Catwoman back and they share a passionate moment.
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.
Bruce visits his newspaper the Daily Planet under the guise of checking in on his investment. But what he really needs to do is to check upon Oracle's investigations. Lois Lane flirts with Bruce but before she learns anything from him, Perry White takes Bruce away. However, Bruce's thoughts are actually on the kiss he shared with Catwoman the prior evening.
At night, he drops by the Lexcorp offices as Batman and speaks with CEO Talia al Ghul, who calls herself 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 by Catwoman, who 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. However, 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 underwater system of Metropolis to escape from Superman, who is mind-controlled by Poison Ivy. After a while, they arrive at the main electric relay point and Batman removes the Kryptonite Ring from his utility belt in preparation for dealing with Superman. Catwoman leaves the battlefield and goes to the surface to start the next step on their plan. Superman smashes through the wall, and the ultimate fight begins.
After a while, Batman baits Superman into following him topside. On the top of one of the neighboring skyscrapers, Catwoman has Lois Lane hostage and she drops her from the top of the building. The shock of seeing Lois in danger breaks Ivy's hold on Superman and he flies up and catches her.
After having recovered control over himself, Superman can't tell where Poison Ivy is hiding. However, Batman takes one of Ivy's leaves and he has an idea.
Sometime later, 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. Batman's idea of using Krypto's keen smell senses to track Ivy from just her scent on the leaves, worked perfectly.
Moments later, Superman asks Batman why did Catwoman picked Lois, and Batman assures him that it was all on her own and that he didn't revealed his secret to her. Superman is thankful for the help Batman provided and they shake hands as true friends. However, from a building not far away from them, the mysterious man with bandages on his head, watches the scene and laughs in a maniacal way.
A few days later, Bruce Wayne goes to the Gotham City Opera House along with Tommy Elliot, Selina Kyle and Leslie Thompkins. Starting the opera, the main potagonist starts performing 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 and moves away to change 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. On her way outside the Opera House, Harley is intercepted by Thomas Elliot, who wants back his pendant. Harley outruns him and Thomas follows her outside the building. 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 to sneak up behind him with her signature mallet, 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, telling Batman to calm down and think it through. Gordon is horrified as he realizes Batman already has thought it through. He coaxes Batman away from the Joker, reminding him that he is about to cross a line that can never be forgiven, and that if Batman becomes a killer, Gordon will lead the hunt for Batman himself. Shocked that the only other man who could want the Joker dead more than Batman himself wants him to live, Batman calms down, and the Joker keeps repeating that he is innocent.
From a rooftop high above, the man whose face is covered in bandages 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.
Later, funeral services are held for Doctor Thomas Elliot. Bruce speaks during the service and recites one of his favorite poems.
Back in the batcave, Bruce revisits 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. The Riddler tries to flee, but Batman easily captures him. Investigating the scene for further evidence, Batman is surprised to find ash from a Lazarus Pit near the wreckage of the armored car.
Some time later, the mysterious man whose face is covered in bandages, approaches Joker's cell in Arkham. He tells Joker that he is his attorney and that he would work to see him out by the law. Joker wonders who is this man, and as he starts removing the bandages, the man reveals his true identity: Harvey Dent. His face has been completely healed of the gruesome scarring that earned him the sobriquet, Two-Face.
At the same time, Batman meets Catwoman at the Gotham City Zoo. Taking her into his confidence, he removes his cowl, revealing the face of Bruce Wayne and sharing his secret with her.
Some time later, Batman kidnaps Talia Head as she travels out of Metropolis and takes her back to Gotham expecting that Ra's al Ghul will come to him after such an insult to him and his daughter.
Returning to Gotham, Batman leaves Talia in the care of Catwoman. The message is quickly received as Batman soon finds a scimitar sticking out from a computer terminal in the Batcave. Batman quickly deciphers the context of Ra's "message", but is confused to learn that he is being summoned to North Africa.
Later, Harvey Dent sneaks into the home of former police commissioner James Gordon. He tells Jim that Batman will need their 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. Ra's is not responsible for the recent attacks on Batman. In fact, he wants Batman's opponent equally dead, for the person recently used and defiled one of the last Lazarus Pits.
Back in Gotham City, Lady Shiva 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.
Batman returns to find Catwoman has been healed by Talia. Talia says that Catwoman would have died if she had not returned, but decided to come back for Batman's sake. Talia kisses Batman and warns him that his mysterious opponent knows about his affection towards Catwoman and will use it against him. She asks Batman if Catwoman is worth the risk, and he silently answers yes.
Some time later, Batman and Catwoman are in the Batcave going through all of the computer equipment. Suddenly, Robin drops down from the ceiling and criticizes Batman for letting her in on his secret identity. Catwoman and Robin briefly clash, but Batman breaks it up. Frustrated, Catwoman borrows a Batcycle and speeds off into the night.
In the streets of Gotham, Catwoman encounters Huntress, who 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 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 the man whose face is covered in bandages standing before him. He 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 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 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 and technician, Harold Allnut.
Few days later, Batman drives out to the Gotham City Bridge where he secretly meets with Harold. He 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, and the man in bandages standing over them with his guns still smoldering. Batman still has no idea who he truly is, but despite that he launches into him with a flurry of blows. The mysterious man 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, Elliot wants revenge on Wayne because Dr. Thomas Wayne 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 and Harvey shoots Hush two times in the chest causing him to fall backwards into the bay. Gordon is forced to arrest Dent.
Over the next two weeks, Batman systematically figures out Elliot's plan from the beginning. As he explains to Superman, Elliot had been planning the attacks for over a year, and had the chips Harold placed in the Batcomputer leave subliminal messages showing Thomas Elliot's image, which is why Batman thought of him after the Batline was cut. Superman has already done several sweeps of the river, but never found Elliot's body. Knowing that his enemy was Elliot, Batman deduces that he placed some sort of tracker on his head during the surgery, and asks Superman to burn it out with his heat vision. Reluctantly, Superman complies.
Although Elliot seems to be gone, Batman still has to figure out who the true mastermind of this entire affair is. Who told Elliot 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 the Lazarus Pits to save his life. In his temporary insanity caused by the pit, Riddler realized that Bruce Wayne was Batman. 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 Elliot (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. Riddler also tells Batman that he created the character Hush; Elliot's identity under the bandages. Batman, however, pulls a trump card on the Riddler: his obsession with riddles will prevent him from revealing Batman's identity, and Batman warns him that if he tries something like this again, he'll turn him over to Ra's al Ghul. Batman also asks the location of Jason's body, but the Riddler doesn't really know it, which angers the dark knight, causing him to punch Riddler and knocking him out.
After conferring with the Riddler, Batman buries Harold on a hill near Wayne Manor, having forgiven his betrayal, where he meets up with Catwoman. Catwoman tries to comfort Batman, but he has still too many doubts about his trust in other people. She approaches him, expecting to kiss him and mutters the word "hush", which makes Batman lose control and faith in her. Batman thinks that she might have been part of it all and he grabs her arms with excessive strength. Catwoman steps back, realizing that their relationship is over and before leaving him alone, she tells him that someday he must learn to trust people for who they are. Batman thinks of her last message, but in the end he stays near Harold's tombstone.
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.
- Batman #608 -- Part 1: The Ransom
- Batman #609 -- Part 2: The Friend
- Batman #610 -- Part 3: The Beast
- Batman #611 -- Part 4: The City
- Batman #612 -- Part 5: The Battle
- Batman #613 -- Part 6: The Opera
- Batman #614 -- Part 7: The Joker
- Batman #615 -- Part 8: The Dead
- Batman #616 -- Part 9: The Assassins
- Batman #617 -- Part 10: The Grave
- Batman #618 -- Part 11: The Game
- Batman #619 -- Part 12: The End
- The entire storyline features a special thanks to Mark Chiarello on the credits boxes of every issue.
- Hush Recommended Reading
Links and References
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