Hush Featured Batwoman

In addition to being the villain of Warner Bros’ latest direct to video animated feature, Hush has recently been revealed as one of the villains of the upcoming BATWOMAN Season 1. While the show will boast several Bat-villains, Hush seems poised to get the full origin roll out.

So, with all this attention, who is Hush? Is he worth the hubbub? Let’s take us a look so you can judge for yourself.

Hush vapes
Hush in his signature “grinding my teeth whilst posing with two guns” look. (Courtesy of DC Comics)

A Blockbuster on the Page

Late in 2002, writer Jeph Loeb and artist Jim Lee seized the reins of the monthly BATMAN series to tell a single story called “Hush.” Loeb had gained considerable cache amongst a wide swath of Bat-fans after his work with Tim Sale on THE LONG HALLOWEEN, its sequel DARK VICTORY, and its spiritual prequel: the BATMAN: HAUNTED KNIGHT trilogy. Jim Lee had largely moved on to a front-office position within DC but remained a wildly popular artist.

Conceived from the start as a pseudo-kitchen sink story, HUSH promised to give fans all their favorite heroes, villains, and moments — yes even a Superman-Batman throwdown — in the midst of a signature Loeb style mystery. And at the center of that mystery? The villain Hush, a new creation set to be the early 2000’s first great new Bat-villain.

On a purely hype and sales basis, it worked. Loeb’s twelve-issue run demanded attention and fans were powerless to resist. And it delivered what it promised: a four-color bacchanalia of greatest hits presented with Loeb’s distinct narration-heavy approach to the Dark Knight and Lee’s glorious return to Big Two ongoing work.

Critically HUSH’s reception was more mixed, particularly when it came to Hush himself. While his identity was intended to be a mystery, most fans guessed it out of the gate, and no amount of redirection or red herrings made them feel otherwise. Regardless of the mystery, however, Hush just never seemed to spark as much excitement as the writers hoped. Fans, it seemed, were hyped for the book, but never the titular antagonist.

Bruce v Tommy
Even while they’re fighting, Batman can’t stop reminding Hush how much better the Waynes were as parents. (Courtesy of DC Comics)

Hush Isn’t Going Anywhere, And You’re Gonna Love Him

While Hush the villain may not have matched the heat generated by HUSH the storyline, he nonetheless excited creators at DC Comics. As a result, he hardly got a moment’s rest after his introduction.

Between the end of HUSH in 2003 and the launch of the New 52, the mummy bandaged baddie popped up like a bad penny. He was either the lead or prominent supporting antagonist in 8 multi-issue storylines in 7 years. By contrast, the Joker — long considered the king of overexposure — “only” appeared in 5 storylines during the same period.

Now, about eight years removed from Hush’s dominant era, Hush has been integrated into Rogue’s Gallery and largely appeared in supporting roles within the comics. It remains to be seen if the recent animated movie and his role in BATWOMAN will lead to a resurgence.

Tommy Elliot, Batwoman
For some reason, Jim Lee decided to dress and style Tommy like he was my dad in the mid-80s. (Courtesy of DC Comics)

Meet Bruce Wayne’s Closest Friend You’ve Never Heard of Who Surely Isn’t Hush

Moving away from the real-world origins of Hush, we now dive into the DC Universe. As HUSH opens, we meet, for the first time in Batman history, Thomas “Tommy” Elliot. Tommy and Bruce Wayne grew up with one another and became friends. Back in the day, Bruce lived that carefree life while Tommy obsessed over plans and strategy.

Pain and tragedy would bond the two further. Tommy’s father died in a car accident and, while Bruce’s father was able to save Tommy’s mother, the matriarch would require constant care from her son for a long time. Years later, of course, the Waynes would be killed in Crime Alley.

What Bruce did not know — and readers wouldn’t learn for several issues — was that Tommy sabotaged his parents’ car in the hopes of killing them both and gaining his inheritance. Enraged at the Waynes’ “interference,” he developed a secret hatred of the family, particularly Bruce, for years. Eventually, Tommy would finish the job he started when his mom, after making a full recovery from her accident and cancer, attempted to disown him for dating a girl she did not approve. In order to stop that from happening, he smothered her, broke off the relationship anyway, and skipped town.

Hush gunning again
See! Dude’s gonna need a mouthpiece unless he wants to pay for a whole set of veneers in a year or so. (Courtesy of DC Comics)

A Mirror, Darkly

Tommy, subsequently, toured the world, much like his frenemy Bruce. Unlike Bruce, however, he decided to specialize and pursued a medical degree. He attended Harvard Medical and became a world-renowned surgeon.

In his travels, he encountered The Riddler, who had recently “discovered” that Bruce Wayne and Batman were one and the same. When Tommy paid him unseemly amounts of money for the secret, the duo realized they both had a reason to destroy Wayne and set about creating a plan to return Tommy to Gotham, creating the Hush persona.

Despite significant amounts of preparation and money to throw at the problem, Batman still managed to outlast and survive Hush’s assault. Although Elliot managed to keep his identity a secret throughout the storyline, Batman leaves their confrontation reasonably sure his childhood friend has turned heel. Subsequent storylines would remove any doubt.

Hush Falling
Batman’s got Hush trippin’, stumblin’, flippin’, fumblin’/ Clumsy ’cause he’s fallin’ in love (in love) . (Courtesy of DC Comics)

How Does Hush Relate to Batwoman

Ah, yes, to borrow a phrase, therein lies the rub because, honestly, they do not have much connection.

The current version of Batwoman being adapted by the CW was first created in 2006, some four years after Hush first hit the scene. While Hush had a history of taking members of the “Bat-family” — he literally stole Catwoman’s heart, tangled with Red Robin, and attempted to watch wits with Nightwing — he never really came up against Batwoman. Their comic book history is just this side of nonexistent.

However, Kane also happens to be Bruce Wayne’s cousin and, if the trailers are accurate, aware of his Bat-antics. With very few tweaks, it would be easy to say that she also knew Tommy when they were younger. Moreover, if she’s aware of her cousin being Batman, Kate might also recognize similarities between Bruce and Tommy’s biographies. With pattern recognition, she may deduce that he is someone worth keeping under surveillance. It’s not the deepest connection for sure, but it should be enough to get the job done.

Batwoman cape
Batwoman gets so much needed stretches in before she takes on Hush in Season 1 of her new show. (Courtesy of The CW)

Hush, Hush, I Thought I Heard You Turning on The CW Now

While Tommy never evolved into the A-lister we all hoped for back in late 2002, becoming a Batwoman antagonist might be a welcome development. Free from facing off against an almost literal facsimile — Tommy, at one point, gave himself plastic surgery to look like Bruce — this might give Hush space to blossom.

It also creates an interesting dynamic for Batwoman. By adopting her cousin’s imagery to fight crime, she has literally has put herself in his shadow. Fighting Hush, in a Jungian sense, allows Kate to literalize her battle in a way that differentiates from Bruce. She has no need or reason to fight Bruce, they’re on the same side. To fully come into her own, however, she also cannot cling to his shadow. Hush allows her to do that physically and metaphorically without risking her relationship with her cousin.

Finally, Hush is horrible when it comes to women. He hated and murdered his own mother. The woman he ostensibly did it to be with, he immediately abandoned. Evidently, he only used her to kill his mother’s attorney to ensure the plan’s success. Of all the people close to Batman, he chose only Catwoman to grievously injure.

Much of Batwoman’s story pulls energy from issues of sex, gender, and sexuality. Hush, again, gives that quest a physical form. He’s the Misogynist Mummy. He’s the Bandaged Bigot. Done right, that’s kind of perfect for the news series.

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