Sunday, November 16, 2008

Heart of Hush conclusion: Detective Comics 850

Detective Comics #850
Written by Paul Dini
Art by Dustin Nguyen, Justin Fridolfs, and John Kalizs
Cover by Dustin Nguyen
Edited by Mike Marts
Published by DC
Review by Lan Pitts

"Heart of Hush" concludes in this anniversary double-sized issue, which I cannot suggest enough you go out and buy for yourself. Since the "R.I.P." event started, I've started reading only the main "R.I.P."-related stories from the main two Batman books: "Batman" and "Detective Comics". However, I slowly became less interested in the main story and became entranced by what the Dini/Nguyen team-up was bringing to the table. Dini's story is completely separate from Grant Morrison's, and luckily he managed to take one of the lamest villains in the history of Batman, Hush, and turned him into a formidable adversary for the Batman. Despite the odds, the "Heart of Hush" arc developed into a well thought-out chapter in the life of Bruce Wayne.

The action begins immediately and almost never stops. Even Alfred all have a skirmish with Hush before the issue is over, and one last flashback seals Dini's deal on just how demented Dr. Tommy Elliot really is. Dini then took what should have been an obvious story point for any past scribe who tinkered with the Hush character, and played upon the doctor drawn to evil element in Tommy Elliot's life. He's an accomplished surgeon and that should've been a major plot point when he first arrived in Gotham, or even when he was given a second go around. The double sized issue helped out with the story; the flashbacks, the final battle inside the Batcave, everything. Without it, it probably wouldn't be as better in terms of pacing and what Dini provided. In terms of Hush himself, what Dini did here was prove to us that Dr. Thomas Elliot was not a murderer at first, but someone who had reasons. How his mother treated him was enough for me to say "no wonder he hated his family, look at them". Obvious, Elliot's mother was spoiled and sees things right if under her rules and influence. And if Elliot doesn't do at least one or two things right, she does something horrible that wasn't needed like take away his money. No mother does that, and I found myself liking Hush and understanding him, but only from those flashbacks.

With the pencils by Nguyen, inks by Dustin Fridolfs, and colors by John Kalisz this art continues to be a winning combination. Nguyen's costumed heroes and villains have never looked cooler, nor have his women ever looked so beautiful. And, as always, he's equally adept at staging dynamic action and calmer moments both quiet and creepy. Kalisz brings a perfect palette of colors to the mix, and he knows when to let loose and when to hold back. Nothing seems out place, and as I mentioned Dini's pacing before, everything meshes well together. I loved the cameos by Dr. Mid-Nite, Mr. Terrific and Zatanna. Even though Bruce considers himself a lone ranger, he knows his limits and knows when he needs help.

When writing this review, I tried my best to remain spoiler-free. There's an endearing scene between Bruce and Selina near the end that will please all the hopeless romantics, while still playing entirely true to their relationship and where they both are at this specific point in their lives. It's just beautifully constructed. The ending is almost Shakespearean and the issue had several moments where I found myself either laughing or wanting to jump and down. It's that good. The double-sized format really assisted and gave the proper length for such a worthy conclusion. Also to add: the scene in the Batcave gave several nods to Bat-fans: the good-ole Batboat, "Whirly-Bat", and the Batmobiles from the '40s, Burton era, B:TAS, as well as the "Tumbler".

Heart of Hush ends with something worthy of Hollywood and a Greek drama, and with that, I give you an Aristotle quote that seems quite fitting to the Batman universe: "Great men are always of a nature originally melancholy."

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