REVIEW: ‘Tales From the Dark Multiverse: Batman Hush,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Tales From the Dark Multiverse: Batman Hush #1

Tales From the Dark Multiverse: Batman Hush #1 is published by DC Comics, written by Philip Kennedy Johnson, art by Sergio Davila and Dexter Soy, inks by Matt Santorelli, colors by Ivan Plascencia, and letters by Troy Peteri. As with other Tales From the Dark Multiverse titles, this one shows how a pivotal point in the DC Universe’s timeline could have gone horribly wrong. Though this story takes a vastly different approach than its predecessors.

All the previous entries I’ve read in DC’s Tales From the Dark Multiverse one-shots have followed a similar formula. Focus on a famous DC storyline and show what might have happened if something went drastically different. Whether it was Ted Kord not dying during Infinite Crisis or Louis Lane going mad and acquiring Kryptonian powers in The Death of Superman each story stared in the familiar and then spirals out of control. Not so with Tales From the Dark Multiverse: Batman Hush #1.

Rather than start with the classic Hush storyline and add a twist to it, writer Johnson instead takes readers back to that fateful night in crime alley. When Bruce’s parents are gunned down he is not alone this time. The Elliots, including childhood friend Tommy, are present for the horrific event. With their being witness to the grim spectacle they decide to take young Bruce into their care. This begins Bruce, and Gotham as a whole, down a very different path.

Fast forward to modern-day and Gotham is unrecognizable to what we know. And shockingly enough, it seems to be worse. Gotham has become an independent city-state that boosts pride in some of its fine founding fathers like Oswald Cobblepot. Tommy Elliot is a senator, CEO of Wayne Enterprises, and married to Tali al Ghul, while Bruce is nowhere in sight.

As Gotham seems to publicly prosper, they are celebrating the opening of a new skyscraper, the streets of Gotham are burning. Riots against social injustice, lead by several familiar faces reimagined, fill the streets. All the worst excesses of the rich over the poor seem to be on display here.

The story of Tales From the Dark Multiverse: Batman Hush #1 truly begins when Tommy has pulled away from the latest social gala due to a call from Dr. Crane. Bruce Wayne, a long time intimate of Arkham Asylum has died. With Wayne’s death, Tommy has full control of Wayne Enterprises. But, on his way back from the Asylum, he is attacked by a mysterious figure wrapped in bandages and bearing a similarity to a Caped Crusader this Gotham never got.

While the setup, as well as the story that follows it are interesting, they were decidedly not what I was expecting. While there are a few connections to the Hush storyline here, they mostly range from vague to coincidental in feeling. If the issue was titled something else, I wouldn’t guess it was supposed to be a twisted retelling of the original storyline. As a huge fan of that storyline, it was disappointing.

The art of Tales From the Dark Multiverse: Batman Hush #1 is great. The linework of Davila and Soy truly make this Gotham stand out. All the reimagined character designs are interesting, while still allowing each person to be instantly recognizable. The same quality of work can be found in the colors as well. Plascencia tops off the visual presentation with a fantastic range of color choices. Whether its a moment of glitz and glamor, all out action, or abject horror, the colors always reinforce the delivery of the images beautifully. Lastly, Peteri’s lettering here is delivering the energy the script calls for. With plenty of action, and intensity in some of its scenes Peteri puts the extra emphasis when needed to get that intensity into the lettering.

When all is said and done, Tales From the Dark Multiverse: Batman Hush #1 is an interesting take on an alternate Gotham. While it delivers a cool story, it was so far from what I came in expecting that it took me a moment to fully appreciate it. As long as you aren’t expecting a retelling of the original Hush story I think there is a lot to love here.

Tales From the Dark Multiverse: Batman Hush #1 is available now wherever comics are sold.

Tales From the Dark Multiverse: Batman Hush #1
4.5

TL;DR

Tales From the Dark Multiverse: Batman Hush #1 is an interesting take on an alternate Gotham. While it delivers a cool story, it was so far from what I came in expecting that it took me a moment to fully appreciate it. As long as you aren’t expecting a retelling of the original Hush story I think there is a lot to love here.