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CAMRC?: Hush, Hush. I thought I heard her calling my name now!

Batman Beyond: Hush Beyond
Written by Adam Beechen
Art by Ryan Benjamin
DC Comics
$14.99

When writer Jeph Loeb and artist Jim Lee introduced the character of Hush in 2002’s Batman: Hush, it seemed that the gauze-bandaged baddie would fit easily within pop culture’s most well-known rogues’ gallery. However, by the end of his introductory arc, Hush’s true identity would change hands at least three times (Tommy Elliot, Jason Todd, and, possibly, the Riddler), making for a somewhat continuity-fudging debut. Consequently, as each new writer struggled with the character, the origin of Hush became more tortuous (for the record, he is, apparently, Tommy Elliot). With Batman Beyond: Hush Beyond, another asterisk gets added to the villain’s Wiki and my eyes can’t stop glazing over.

It is important to point out that Hush Beyond officially marks the inclusion of Batman Beyond into the DC universe-proper. 

A popular animated series that ran from 1999 to 2002, Batman Beyond jumped ahead a few years and gave the viewer a (surprisingly fitting) cyberpunk-version of Gotham City’s future. With Batman in a sort of forced retirement, the cowl is passed on to Terry McGinnis, a mouthy 16-year-old looking to avenge the death of his father (seriously, one of these days, Batman and Wolverine are going to have to have an uncomfortable talk with Chris Hansen). 

Suffering a heart condition and supported by a cane, Batman/Bruce Wayne plays armchair superhero and mentor while McGinnis does all the heavy lifting. Obviously, Bruce’s inflexible attitude and Terry’s extreme excitability come into constant conflict, a fact that seems to be exploited by the return of Hush. 

After escaping imprisonment, this incarnation of Hush makes a beeline to any and all still-living Batman villains. Unfortunately for him (and the creative team), that hit list leaves Mad Hatter, some guy named “Armory,” Calendar Man, Killer Croc, and a futuristic Catwoman knock-off. 

In other words, the Batman baddies who are pretty low on the pay scale. While Hush’s need to kill Batman’s enemies has Terry and Bruce bringing up the rear, the involvement of the clone-loving Project Cadmus (super-sketchy government operation) is enough to raise their suspicion.

Writer Adam Beechen (Ben 10, Justice League Unlimited) reintroduces some wonderful narrative toys from Batman Beyond (the cartoon) within the pages of Hush Beyond. Particularly, a few passing references to “JLA Beyond” and Tim Drake as the Joker piqued my interest. Unfortunately, neither of these things has anything to do with the main plot involving Hush. Which brings me back to the character’s convoluted origin story from years ago. 

Clearly, someone at DC has a rubbery one for the character, but every time Tommy Elliot (or whoever) reveals his true face it continues to be met with my continued disappointment. Hush Beyond is no different. Making the same mistakes as other story arcs before his, Beechen tries to solidify the character by redefining his back story. 

This may have worked to his advantage if Jason Todd, Clayface, The Riddler, and Tommy Elliott hadn’t all gotten there before him.   

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