When we discuss Batman storylines, Hush has to be up there with the best of them. The original story arc was written by Jeph Loeb and ran from December 2002 to November 2003. The artwork by Jim Lee is phenomenal and Hush features some absolutely great moments. It’s also kind of dodgy in its own way but not everything can be perfect? Whatever you might think about it, Hush made sense for an adaptation because it was already so cinematic in scope. The artwork was already begging to be shown on the big screen and the story includes so many well-known faces. So, it makes sense that this year Hush was finally going to be adapted as one of DC’s straight-to-video animated features. And, after listening to the Empire podcast discussion about Batman and Superman in the movies, I was feeling a bit inspired. I don’t tend to give DC the same attention that I give Marvel. So, despite the fact that I’ve got my copy of Endgame calling to me to watch it over and over again, I sat down to celebrate its rivals.
The Hush storyline sees Gotham’s Dark Knight getting stalked by a mysterious figure. New villain Hush is out to get Batman and he’s going to get as many of Batman’s foes as possible to help him. In a story that sees Batman fighting against a close friend, getting close to a sometime enemy, and losing someone from his past, Hush has a great deal going on. There are so many familiar faces returning for cameos and a few red herrings. Especially if you’re familiar with the original story arc. It does take a few sidesteps from the original comic but it manages to stay pretty faithful. Although, it has left many fans outraged as the final twist has been altered. But, let’s not worry about that.
To kick us off, Batman must rescue a child who has been kidnapped by Bane. Whilst he saves the child, the ransom money is stolen by Catwoman. Trying to chase her, Batman is sabotaged and falls from the roof, fracturing his skull. Thankfully, Alfred and Nightwing manage to stage a car crash and get Bruce Wayne to hospital. Magically healed by his childhood friend and brain surgeon, Thomas Elliot, Batman is soon back on the case. After encountering Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Clayface, and the Riddler, Batman realises that they are all being manipulated by someone. The unknown Hush. When Hush makes it clear he has a personal vendetta against both Batman and Bruce Wayne, the race to unmask him gets more fraught.
I haven’t really seen many of these DC animated films so I feel like there’s a lot that I’m missing in terms of continuity. However, it’s not as if it was ever going to hard to catch-up. I guess my biggest gripe is Rainn Wilson playing Lex Luthor. Maybe it has worked better in previous films but I just didn’t get it for the character. His voice is too recognisable and kind of snivvly. It’s not how I imagine Lex. He just doesn’t live up. Just like the animation. I guess the film was never really going to compare to original artwork so maybe I’m judging harshly. It does get the dark tone of the original but I guess it feels a bit basic.
What Hush does is a great job of recreating the key moments of the original story and, unlike most of the fans, I didn’t mind the changes to the story. Really, it just made things a bit neater. It got rid of several unnecessary aspects and just got straight to the point. Of course, one of the biggest storylines of Hush is the growing romance between Selina Kyle/Catwoman and Bruce Wayne/Batman. I included the slashes not because I think you’re all idiots but because we have a silly love square (?) on our hands. Selina goes on a date with Bruce after locking lips with Batman. Regardless, the Dark Knight finally gets a bit of romance and we see scenes from the original comic recreated on-screen. It’s a refreshingly familiar sight and I’m sure fans of the comic will approve.
It also helps that voice actors Jason O’Mara and Jennifer Morrison have great chemistry. Both of them are great choices for their characters. Batman is a hard character to play because he’s so fucking intense and egotistical. But O’Mara brings a touch of humanity to the role. And Jennifer Morrison manages to be as seductive and cunning as we want Selina to be whilst also giving her some heart. In fact, most of the actors are well suited to their roles and those returning feel comfortable in their roles. It’s all pretty good. They certainly bring something to the characters.
As a whole, Hush is a good adaptation of a much-loved story arc. Yes, it changes things but that should only irritate the purists. It’s a decent adaptation that will entertain. Will it completely change your world? Doubtful. But, if you like this kind of thing Hush is a great way to spend time with Gotham’s first detective.