As we move along this holiday season, we come to what is probably one of my favorite trades. My favorite Batman story, Hush. Now I'm in no way knocking seminal tales like The Killing Joke, The Long Halloween, Arkham Asylum, Year One or even the Dark Knight Returns. But for my money, Batman: Hush is everything a Batman story should be. A twelve-issue mystery that includes most of the Batman Family, Superman, and a slew of Batman villains. It is the only trade that I own multiple copies of because I had to have the Absolute Edition when it came out.
Hush takes place before the return of Jason Todd and starts with Batman rescuing a boy from the clutches of a modified Killer Croc. In the middle of it, Catwoman gets involved, trying to steal the ransom. After the boy is safe, Batman goes after Catwoman only to have his line cut by a bullet sending him plunging to the ground and receiving a head injury that only an old friend can fix. Tommy Elliot was Bruce's friend as a boy but the two drifted apart after the Waynes were murdered. Now he's back in Bruce's life just as a new foe comes to town. One who seems to be upgrading Batman's other villains.
Through the course of the series we get to see Robin, Nightwing, Oracle, Huntress, Talia, and Superman while we also get the villains of Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Joker, Clayface, Ra's al Ghul, Lady Shiva, Scarecrow, Riddler and more. It's the kind of Batman series that throws in everything yet stays focused on the overall mystery.
Jeph Loeb crafts a wonderful story that utilizes so much of the Batman Universe. Jim Lee's art may be some of his best. His tweaks on each character makes them his without taking anything away from them. When this was coming out in individual issues, it was the last time I remember checking the calendar for when a comic book was going to come out. Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill teased this as a possible animated film they would both be up for doing.
There are multiple versions of the trade… hardcovers that break it into two volumes, a larger trade that collects the whole thing and of course an Absolute Edition that is just gorgeous. This would be a great gift for fans of Batman regardless of whether they like the comics, the movies or the television series. Just writing this up makes me want to sit down and read it again.