Yesterday I tweeted “currently wondering how many more times batman can have a double: hush, cacophony (of silence) and joker.” That was just before I read Paul Dini‘s Batman: Heart of Hush (which I picked up from the “sadly defunct as a shop but going mail order” Escape Comics). Hush originally appeared as a creation by Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee in 2002/3, part of which explored the relationship between Batman and Catwoman. Dini takes this in his book and explores it far more deeply whilst exploring his background and former friendship with Bruce Wayne in greater depth.
In Batman: Arkham Asylum (Grant Morrison and Dave McKean), the Joker uses the asylum as Batman’s psychological state. Morrison effectively makes Batman tear himself apart and explore himself. Its an uncomfortable but exhilarating read, not only for the text but the way that McKean’s illustrations break the standard blocky presentation on the page.
In Heart of Hush, Dini sets up the premise of what Batman could have been if he’s been spoilt in the same way that Thomas Elliot (Hush) is and if he did not have the same crusading direction. He shows how their parallel lives take turns from chices made and accepting the consequences of actions, something that Elliot cannot do. Wayne, despite his other failings, does accept his decisions but Hush demonstrates something that he cannot do – admit his feelings for Catwoman to her. It is only the moment of near loss that Wayne admits to Selina Kyle what Batman and Catwoman have always known – that they love each other. Whether it goes anywhere is a different matter entirely though.
Elliot acts as the darker mirror to the principled Wayne, like the Joker acts as a reflection of Batman. Something to mull over in greater depth at some point methinks.