Was it DC’s intent in the early 2000’s to make Batman the most whiny, childish character of all time?
I had heard about this comic long before I read it. Written by Jeph Loeb (of The Long Halloween fame), I had high hopes that this comic would be as equally epic and well-crafted as its predecessor.
What I got instead was a bunch of flashbacks and inner confusion that felt more akin to a young adult novel than a Batman comic.
The story emphasizes Loeb’s interest in a number of Batman villains, with Killer Croc, Catwoman, and Poison Ivy all gracing its pages. Batman rescues a boy that Croc has kidnapped, only to find that Catwoman has stolen the paid ransom. As he tracks her, he learns that Catwoman (who as of late has been trying to stay on the right side of the law) was only acting under Poison Ivy’s control.
We learn all of this within the first two issues. Yeah…it’s a lot.
While this happens, Batman and Catwoman have a brief chase which ends in a passionate embrace on the rooftops of Gotham.
We get a lovely splash page as a result, which is all pretty typical for just about any comic in which Batman and Catwoman meet.
Batman acts as though this is the first time he has ever kissed Selina Kyle. He spends the rest of this trade brooding over the implications of such an act, and pondering whether or not he could let her in to his secret life.
Batman, you’ve kissed Catwoman more times that I can count. This is not new, even within the many revisions to continuity that have occurred up until this point. Why are you acting like a love-struck teenager who just had his first kiss??
This random emphasis on a single kiss drew me out of the main part of the story, and left me feeling like I was reading a cheesy teen romance. Not exactly what a Batman comic generally strives to go for.
The story picks up a little bit towards the end of the trade, as Poison Ivy gains control over Superman, and plans to use him to stop Batman.
The battle between the two heroes was entertaining to read, especially the implication that Superman, although under Ivy’s control, is still able to pull his punches a bit because deep down he’s a good person. This scene alone was almost enough to save the comic.
This is only the first of two volumes in the Hush storyline, and I’m still not fully sure what the main plot is. There’s someone lurking in the shadows seemingly controlling the other villains, but he’s yet to do anything but stand on rooftops and wax philosophically while he watches the action unfold from a distance. Given that the story is half over, I would have expected a bit more focus. As it stands, Batman comes across as far too childish to draw me in, and while I like seeing multiple villains working together, it just wasn’t enough to carry the story.
I can’t blame Jeph Loeb for this new characterization of Batman, as it’s a plot point that seems to have been brewing for some time now. I just hope it’s a characterization that is either explained or written out at some point, because whiny, per-pubescent Batman is not my favorite thing. Batman’s supposed to be dark and brooding, not emo. Writers, please revise accordingly.