Hush makes his last stand against Batman deep down the sewers. It’s Bat vs Bandage, and as we’re only 34 issues into a 52-issue series, you’ll never guess who ends up victorious. Time for some parent issues to come to the fore! It’s Batman Eternal #34!
Writer: Kyle Higgins
Consulting Writers: Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Ray Fawkes and Tim Seeley
Artist: Alvaro Martinez
Inker: Raul Fernandez
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Steve Wands
Time to sort this Hush situation out, then. He’s been the main villain for the last several months, even though we already know there’s a bigger villain out there somewhere who is manipulating the strings. Arkham Asylum has been collapsed, Gotham is under Marshal Law with Jason Bard nominally in charge, Alfred got hit with fear toxin (although he recovered pretty quickly) and Catwoman has isolated herself from Batman. On the other hand, we do know that Carmine Falcone, Penguin, Mr Freeze, Clayface, Zzazz, The Architect, Professor Pyg and several other villains have all been apprehended already, so we don’t have to deal with them anymore. I think that’s the overview for how things have been going – on, and Bruce Wayne’s caches round Gotham have been compromised by Hush, so he and Julia Pennyworth are trying to shut them down.
Hush was waiting for her in one of those caches, however, and the issue kicks off with him gleefully trying to kill her. He tries to get a rise out of her by calling her another one of the Robins – albeit one without a mask on her face, which admittedly I’m surprised Batman didn’t issue. Cutbacks. She remains pretty calm about the whole thing though, probably because Hush never succeeds in anything, and calmly shoots him in the shoulder with a grappling gun. She then taunts him, so he shoots her right back. He then activates the explosives in the cache, shuts the door, and heads on out.
It explodes, and Alfred immediately notes the incident with dread, rerouting Batman across to go see. Landing the Batplane… somewhere (do they have a lot of landing pads round Gotham?) he races in, really worried, and finds a hole in the floor where Julia has cut herself through to the safety of the sewers. She’s bleeding out, but safe – always helpful to have acid packs on you, so you have to admire her preparation.
At Wayne Tower, Mayor Hady and Jason Bard round on Lucius Fox, demanding answers for the second explosion in two days. Hady – who, remember, is as corrupt as Bard – decides to force Fox’s hand, saying that Wayne Enterprises have shown that they can’t handle the situation and that the city will have to do it for them. Ominous.
Julia is asleep on the operating table, as it looks like Alfred had to perform surgery on his own daughter just a day after escaping a mental asylum for being injected in the brain with fear toxin. God, I’m glad Julia was unconscious whilst all that was happening, jeez. She has acid burns and a gunshot wound, and probably impact from hitting the floor too – meanwhile Bruce has been at his computer, checking Instagram or whatever. Alfred asks him to stop putting Julia in these situations, saying that she deserves better. Firstly: not sure Alfred should have to ask permission for this. Secondly: Batman’s response is “we all deserve better”, which is a bit rich coming from the millionaire who repeatedly makes teenagers and young adults dress up as birds and fight crime.
They’re interrupted as Hush deliberately sets off another cache – at the Martha Wayne Foundation Hospital – in an attempt to call Bruce out. It’s always this hospital, isn’t it? If I were ill in Gotham I would actively seek out black-market physicians because at least you know you won’t be part of some scheme by Hush or Ra’s Al Ghul or whatever.
Bruce races over through the sewers (hope he has good wellies) and arrives at the cache to find that Hush has taken all the weapons and stacked them together into a makeshift throne, which is a weird and uncomfortable way to pass the time whilst you wait for your nemesis to show up. He’s sat on, like, grenades and mortars and knives and stuff. Why does Batman have these when we know he’ll never use them? Hush activates a dead man’s trigger anyway, so all the weapons will explode if something goes wrong for him. He then takes off his overcoat to reveal that he’s wearing a bat-suit underneath it. Then he puts on a helmet as well… OVER his bandages. There’s no way he’ll be able to see in that thing.
The two of them charge at each other, Batman immediately getting the upper-hand because, well, he’s Batman. He smacks Hush around a whole bunch before Hush tries taunting him. That helps a little bit, but just as the fight starts turning Batman just headbutts him and that’s it. He stamps on the explosives and Hush is done with and over. There’s a quite nice scene here where Batman takes Tommy and drags him over to look at his reflection in the cracked mirror of the helmet. Batman finally takes the time to brag about having won and Hush having failed, which as we all know by now is setting himself up for trouble.
Sure enough, at that very moment Lucius Fox is giving a sad press statement announcing that Wayne Enterprises have been seized by the feds. i don’t know what that means, but I suppose it probably means Batman is going to run out of money soon or something like that? As Batman listens in on the cowl, he sees a note in Hush’s inside-pocket – the same one we’ve seen before that has a cordial invitation to the devastation of Gotham City. Confirmation that Hush isn’t running the show here, and that someone else is in charge! As the news comes in that Wayne Enterprises is no more, Hush gets in the last gloat of the issue. For a change, he gets away with it.
Finally a success for Hush!
18 issues to go!
Steve Morris runs this site! Having previously written for sites including The Beat, ComicsAlliance, CBR and The MNT, he can be found on Twitter here. He’s a bunny.
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