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Tuesday, March 18, 2014 

Jeph Loeb's Hush story in Batman was an early 2000s example of overrated eye candy

What Culture brought up a notorious case of overhyped, overrated stories at the dawn of the 21st century, the Hush storyline in Batman written by Jeph Loeb and illustrated by Jim Lee, in another example of squandering his talents on a pointless mishmash. They list at least 7 reasons why it's an overrated dud. For example:
If we go along with the idea that Hush is a book designed for new/young Batman readers as a self-contained introduction to the character (if we don’t, then Hush is simply the most pandering and least imaginative Batman book ever), it actually does a massive disservice to Batman himself.
Oh, it's not aimed at younger Bat-readers, you can be sure of that. With the gigantic list of familiar guest characters who turned up in the story - which lasted nearly a year - it's pretty apparent it was aimed squarely at the members of the shrunken fanbase who aren't asking for talented writing. I don't think DC wanted younger readers even at the time Zero Hour was published, no matter what they said in their defense.
Batman is the World’s Greatest Detective yet it takes him what feels like forever to figure out who Hush really is. Loeb writes him as a significantly dumber character, a long way from the World’s Greatest Detective he’s supposed to be, in order for him to tell his profoundly flawed story in its entirety.

In order words, Loeb writes Batman deliberately out of character because if Batman were behaving truly like Batman, he’d have figured all of this out long before the end and wouldn’t have spent a dozen issues and more to discover Hush’s identity.
Loeb proved himself an overrated writer with this story, who wasn't even trying to script a fun escapist tale, only a lot of hogwash relying largely on the presence of villains we already know like Killer Croc, Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, and superheroes like Superman. And if it were really intended to be a serious mystery, it would've been limited to just 3-4 issues rather than 12 or more. Speaking of "mystery", Loeb did a very horrible job with that too:
In a way, the answer as to who Hush is is already there in the first couple issues. The villain in a Batman story – when they’re not his usual rogues – is usually always the new character just introduced for that story, in this case Tommy Elliott, the heretofore unknown “childhood best friend” of Bruce Wayne.

A completely new character who’s really close to Bruce Wayne all of a sudden appears AND a mysterious new villain shows up – gee, you don’t think the two are connected in any way? The guy who’s getting tons of flashback pages, loads of scenes with Bruce – you mean, he’s probably the big bad? Well, that’s only been the formula of how these stories play out since forever!
There may have been a new character, but it's a failure nevertheless, because Loeb is simply not a talented writer, and makes it all too obvious from the get-go.
If Hush is designed for readers who don’t normally read Batman and just want to pick up a standalone book to read, it goes through the Batman catalogue trotting out his greatest hits for their benefit, but this still doesn’t excuse the flaws in the story. New Batman readers shouldn’t be condescended to: look, here’s Batman fighting Superman/Joker/whoever, that’s good right?! No, it’s shallow, rushed storytelling at best and tells you nothing at all about the character.
Exactly. Poison Ivy may have been the cause of Superman's temporary madness, turning against Batman, but that's still just a precursor to what we may end up seeing at the movies next year, in Batman vs. Superman: a clash between heroes, all for the sake of it.

Loeb went on to write the Superman/Batman ongoing series that reintroduced the Kryptonian take on Supergirl, along with the first few issues of that series too, and repeated his all-style-no-substance approach in those comics as well. A few years later, however, he left comics writing more for the TV industry, which is just as well. He may not be a big presence in comics anymore, and whatever sales draw he once had gradually diminished, but he was an early example of writers in the 21 century with no interest in meaty storytelling whose work ends up being a big waste of trees.

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Totally agree. A friend let me borrow Hush a few years back claiming it was "great;" I was much less than impressed. I like me some Jim Lee art, but this story was about as unimaginative as it gets.

I never got the hype, either. I think all those other villains were there, just for Jim Lee to draw them. But Riddler did get a fun comeuppence from that mess later on, right?

As for Hush, eh, it's hard to care for someone whose shtick is ripping off other villains. Hell, right before New 52, he got plastic surgery to pose as Bruce Wayne. Someone better tell Hush that Killer Moth already did that in the 50's-60's. Lame.

I second both Hube and Killer Moth. I never thought Hush was anything special, either, and never understood what made it so "great" or why it shows up in lists of "greatest Batman stories." Although I will say that I like Jim Lee's artwork.

I still haven't read Hush - it's taken me time to wade through the large Batman collection I've amassed - but I've heard differing opinions on it, so I'll form my own when I read it.

That said, even if he's done things that have annoyed comic readers in the past decade, never forget that he wrote Long Halloween, which was a genuinely good detective story.

See also: Scott Snyder's New 52 "Batman" title.

Loeb left comics for TV, where he managed to help make LOST's second season even more confusing, kill the successful HEROES series, and contribute to the vastly underwhelming AGENTS OF SHIELD.

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