Friday, June 12, 2009

Summer Reading: Heart of Hush

Hey All! Summer is upon us and with it comes lots and lots of free time. You may be laying around the yard bored, or taking a long drive up North to meet some family. Either way Summer is a perfect time to go to your local comic shop or bookstore and pick up an awesome new book to read. Now you would be getting a book each week, but you’ll get one book this week, two next week, then one the following week as I have to make up for my computer crashing and not getting to post this last Friday. So sit back, relax and get ready for my first recommendation.

Today our first review is Batman: Heart of Hush.

Now usually I don’t mind getting a little spoilerific with my collection book reviews but since these are books you may not have read or heard about I will try not to spoil much.

Written by Paul Dini

Art by Dustin Nguyen

A story in the shadow of the R.I.P. event last year, Heart or Hush tells the return of the menace Hush. We see Catwoman and Batman as the two main characters alongside Hush as his origin is fleshed out more in short segments during each chapter. All the while Hush’ full evil plan involves taking Catwoman’s heart and hitting Batman at his heart with this.

What I loved most about this story was how it comes off as very simple and easy to read but at the same time has some very cool moments and nice twists and turns as far as how it all plays out. Dini is able to tell a very interesting and cool story without making it too wild or crazy where he would lose the reader in how crazy it gets.

Like most story arcs that are 5 or more issues the middle point does drag a bit. In the mid-point we have Scarecrow keeping Batman busy with a boy who is being powered by Venom. It was a fairly pointless and waste of time fight to fill in space. Though the follow up chapter where Batman interrogates Scarecrow in Arkham was incredible. What made it so great was at the very end, after nearly killing Scarecrow, the Joker compliments

Batman. It was just so awesome and fit Batman so well.

We see some other useless villain fights with the Wonderland Gang, one of the first villain groups of all time. Really though the star villain is of course Hush and he was great. Up to this storyline I’ve never really liked Hush. I thought he was just a stupid crazy guy with no real motivation to fight Batman other than his own delusion. Here it is fleshed out how psychologically twisted he became from his father’s beatings and lack of comfort from his mother. It’s a fairly twisted tale of a selfish young maniac and could halfway pass for a horror story.

Catwoman and Batman’s relationship is put under a microscope here and examined very well. We see that Catwoman, similar to Zatanna in a prior story, is feeling a jealousy of Batman’s lover at the time and her heart strings are being tugged on. We also see Batman come to the realization that no matter who it is he dates that Catwoman is his one true love. It was more of a sub-plot really but it fit nicely to the current event of Hush’ attack on Catwoman and made it even more powerful especially thanks to the final moment between them.

We got tons of great moments through the story and lots of great action and intrigue to make this one of the best recent Batman stories for me. It may not have been on the same epic level as R.I.P. but it didn’t need that to be a great story.

Dustin Nguyen’s artwork is a bit of a love/hate thing with the fans. I’ve seen people that either love his work or hate it, very few middle road people. I myself am a big fan of his work and think he’s an awesome artist that fits Batman very well. Sure his style is more animated but that doesn’t make it any less effective as he captures emotion very nicely and can definitely pull of some really great character work and awesome shots.

Normally at the end of these reviews I’d give a Score, but because these are all books you know I’m giving high recommendations at the end of each review I’ll just give it a simple.

Summer Reading Must Have

Check back Friday for the next Summer Reading Review.

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