- Hush, a highly underrated villain in Batman’s rogues’ gallery, earned the Caped Crusader’s begrudging respect through a brutal plot against him.
- Hush’s personal connection to Bruce Wayne, his childhood friend, gave him an edge over other villains and made him a fearsome enemy for Batman.
- Hush’s legacy continues in alternate versions, such as a clone of Dick Grayson in Batman Beyond, showing that he will always be a nightmare that Batman cannot outrun or outsmart.
Batman boasts some of the most iconic villains in comic book history, including the nihilistic Joker and the power-obsessed Ra’s al Ghul, but there is only one villain who shares a deeply personal connection with the Caped Crusader: Hush. One of Batman’s greatest, and most underrated foes, Hush earned the hero’s begrudging respect in a way few other enemies, if any, ever have.
Debuting in January 2003’s Batman #609 – written by Jeph Loeb, with art by Jim Lee, ink by Scott Williams, color by Alex Sinclair, and lettering by Richard Starkings – Hush was introduced as the central antagonist of a twelve-issue saga bearing his name. Pushing Batman to his limit as much as any long-standing member of his rogues’ gallery, Hush proved to be a more than capable adversary.
Hush Was A Force To Be Reckoned With
As first drawn by Jim Lee, Hush was a mysterious bandaged-up figure, who spoke in riddles and tormented Batman from the shadows. Introduced in Batman #609 first as his alter-ego, Bruce’s childhood friend, neurosurgeon, Tommy Elliot, it isn’t until much later in the arc that he is revealed to be under the bandages, having masterminded one of the most brutal plots against Batman in the character’s history. Before this revelation, Tommy’s seeming death at the Joker’s hands led Bruce to beat the Clown Prince of Crime nearly to death. Bruce always thought of Tommy like a brother, even in adulthood, but secretly, his friend was plotting against him for years.
Hush’s Legacy Continues Into the Far Future
Further storylines have continued to elaborate on Hush‘s backstory. A rich sociopath, Tommy tried to kill his own parents for their fortune, but Thomas Wayne saved his mother’s life in surgery, ruining his plans. Tommy swore vengeance on the Wayne family, plotting Bruce’s downfall for his father’s “sins” after his parents’ death. However, in an odd sense, it was this contempt for the Waynes that actually made Batman respect him. Hush became Batman’s fearsome enemy because of one key factor: his relationship with Bruce Wayne.
Rather than discovering Batman was billionaire Bruce Wayne, he discovered his old friend and target was Batman. This gave him an edge over other villains, and over Batman.
Hush‘s legacy as a villain is apparent in the introduction of an alternate version in 2010’s Batman Beyond #1, in the Hush Beyond arc. Though no longer Tommy Elliot under the bandages, the new Hush retained a crucial aspect of the character – his deep, personal connection to Bruce Wayne. This version was a clone of Dick Grayson, a creation of Amanda Waller, the culmination of her obsession with creating a better Batman through experimentation. The clone rejected his original programming after he was never given the role of Batman. Instead, the cloned Grayson became the second version of Batman’s most underrated foe.
In Batman Beyond, while facing the new Hush, the older Bruce recounts his battles with Hush from the past, recalling how close he and Tommy were as children. Even though Batman had every reason to hate Hush for his betrayals, there remained a part of him that always saw Tommy as his first true friend. Hush is a part of Batman, even more than Joker, because of their long history, predating either’s career as a masked hero or villain. Even after their violent conflicts, Batman still hoped that his friend could be saved. No matter the timeline, or the incarnation, Hush will always be the nightmare Batman seemingly couldn’t outrun or outsmart.