(Originally posted at Attentiondeficitdisorderly Too Flat.)
Warning: Spoilers ahead, provided that, semantically speaking, one can spoil something that's already rotten. (There's spoilers for New X-Men, Daredevil and Wolverine: Origin mixed in there too.)
The big event of mainstream comics 2003, the number-one best-selling book month after month, the title that's supposed to be DC's entree into the battle for superhero supremacy unilaterally initiated by the New Marvel regime of Joe Quesada and Bill Jemas (with hires like Grant Morrison, Mark Millar, Brian Michael Bendis and J. Michael Straczynski riding shotgun) has come to an end. And it sucked.
As a matter of fact, the conclusion of "Hush," the 12-part storyline written by Jeph Loeb and illustrated by Jim Lee in Batman's eponymous flagship monthly title, was offensively bad. It was much, much, so much worse than even I thought it would be.
I suppose that saying this is akin to saying I was shocked--shocked--to discover, upon watching MTV's reality series Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica, that pop sensation Jessica Simpson maybe has had a somewhat sheltered life and also is maybe not too bright,. But I am a superhero comics fan, and as such have a capacity for willful self-delusion rivalled only by Scientologists and Boston Red Sox fans who think it's "their year." The conclusion of "Hush" was like Bucky Dent and Bill Buckner rolled into one, if, that is, Bucky Dent and Bill Buckner were dressed up in spandex and then had the bottoms of their shoes drawn in awe-inspiring detail.
"Hush" concerned Batman's attempts to determine the identity of a mysterious new foe, the mastermind behind a serious of surprisingly sophisticated attacks by the vigilante's rogues gallery. In the first few issues, Batman balanced this detective work with the pressing need to become reacquainted with a childhood friend who apparently played such an important role in young Batman's life that decade upon decade of Batman writers felt unequal to the task of portraying this relationship, because "Hush" marked this character's first appearance.
Ladies and gentlemen of the Batman-buying public, if you think this random-ass character, who appeared in Batman's life at exactly the same time as the mysterious villain and wore exactly the same trenchcoat as the mysterious villain and made a big point of using the word "hush" which is the name of the mysterious villain, is in fact that very same mysterious villain--you'd be wrong!