GRAPHIC NOVEL
Batman
Hush Returns

Author: A.J. Lieberman
Artists: Al Barrionuevo and Javier Pina
Titan Books
RRP 8.99
ISBN 1 84576 258 4
Available 24 March 2006


The crazed childhood friend of Bruce Wayne, known only as Hush, is planning a new assault on Gotham City - against the criminal fraternity as well as Batman himself. How do Riddler and Prometheus fit into his outlandish schemes? Meanwhile, Batman's archenemy the Joker is planning his revenge against a figure from his own shadowy past...

If, like me, you thought that the Hush storyline was dead and buried then you were sadly mistaken. Obviously realising that they were onto a bit of a winner with the character of Hush, DC has resurrected the character for another adventure.

This collection starts off with a rather pointless is he / isn't he still alive build up. The title, Hush Returns, sort of tips off even the most simple of readers to the fact that Hush is indeed alive after all. And you have to wonder why, having spent the time and energy to set up his return, the writers didn't actually do something with him. In all honesty, this is more a Joker tale than it is a Hush based romp.

Those that read and enjoyed Volumes One and Two of Hush (and who didn't?) may find this collection a little bit of a disappointment. Don't get me wrong, there is plenty here to applaud. But, I couldn't help feel that the writer, A.J. Lieberman, didn't really know what to do with Hush and spent most of the time drafting in other well known characters from the DC Universe to divert us from the fact he was struggling to tell another Hush story.

There are some nice touches in this collection. I loved the fact that the Joker's goons had similar make-up to Jack Nicholson's Joker in the 1989 Batman movie. And I also loved the way we get to see the Riddler's first dealings with the Joker. But, when I look back I really do have a problem trying to recall any notable Hush involvement - he was just there doing very little. But then, as everything that could have been told has already been done so in the two previous volumes, is it any wonder that he was just in the background kicking his heels.

If you are coming to this expecting a good, meaty Hush story, then you'll probably be disappointed. However, if you want a good, solid Batman tale, then this is pretty entertaining.

Darren Rea

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