In which Selina makes an enemy

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It’s too bad DC didn’t take a long hard look at what Paul Dini was doing in the pages of Detective Comics and make the executive decision to turn his Heart of Hush story into the final Batman story.  Instead of a whacked out tale, Dini takes the legend of Batman and brings it back to the one thing that can save any hero, heal any wound, and thwart the worst of people – love.

DTC_Cv850.jpgLast we saw Selina, she was in an operating room with a hole in her chest, and her heart beat in a cryogenic chamber in Hush’s lair.  Poor Batman had been detained, and the revelation that Hush went through reconstructive surgery to look just like Bruce Wayne pushed everything into the Hellz Yeah category of reading.

These big plot points may seem way over the top, even for a comic book, but everything is explained in such a way to make it as believable as a mid-afternoon soap opera.  If anything, Dini set up an out for DC to use should the reader and fan backlash over the death of Batman cause the company too many problems, with a simple “Hey, it wasn’t Bruce Wayne that died, it was Tommy Elliot made to look like Bruce.  Ha-ha, aren’t we a clever company?”

The conclusion to the final chapter of The Heart of Hush has everything you expect to find in a Batman title; a huge fight between Hush and Batman, appearances by Nightwing and Robin, a life threatening situation, and that all important moment where hubris gets the better of the bad guy.  There’s even a great Alfred moment when we see him bring the famous giant dinosaur in the Batcave to life in an attempt to stop Elliot.

Intercut with the fight scene are flashbacks to how Hush was able to carve out Selina’s heart and keep it alive with the help of Mr. Freeze.  There’s no scientific explanation as to how it works, but Hush mentioning it is worthy of the Nobel Prize gives the reader pause to ponder what kind of good villains like Hush and Freeze could do if they worked on the side of Light.

Unfortunately, Hush has always been on the side of Dark as we get yet another flashback, where it is revealed how Tommy gained access to his vast family formula.  While readers have known he had a hand in killing his mother, this issue spells it out completely.  It even goes into detail on how Peyton Riley assisted, by running the family lawyer off the road and stealing the will that would have left Tommy penniless.

Yes, that’s right Peyton Riley – the current ventriloquist introduced by Paul Dini in this book makes an appearance.  Also making important cameos are Slam Bradley, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Barbara Gordon, Doctor Mid-Nite, Mr. Terrific, and – as this is a Paul Dini issue – Zatanna.  Much like his work on Batman: The Animated Series, Dini is able to bring themes, characters, and moments from his current run on the series full circle in this concluding chapter.

There were certainly moments in this series where I wondered if Selina was actually going to die.  It seemed fitting considering the canceling of her title and the upcoming big sleep moment for her lifelong love.  Seeing Batman win, and Selina saved makes you feel all gooey inside, and the very quiet moment between Bruce Wayne and Selina only drives home the theme of love conquers all – as if the real heart beating in a tank didn’t do that already.

We’ve already seen how vengeful Selina can be when scorned, and once she recovers, she uses her connections to make Hush penniless.  And not just, “you still have a couple hundred bucks” penniless, I mean penniless penniless.  In two months Dini is writing a two part Batman/Detective Comics crossover that features Catwoman and Hush, and I’m gonna bet payback is going to be a bitch.

I can’t let this review end without commenting on the Dustin Nguyen art.  MY GOD!  THE MAN IS A GENIUS!  Even if you don’t care for his art style, you can’t deny the man can draw a mean Batcave.  If you thought Jim Lee went over the top in drawing every Batmobile in All-Star Batman and Robin, wait until you see how Nguyen gives us a guided tour of the lair all while heroes and villain fight it out to the death.  These are pages that need to be looked at again and again to suss out all the hidden gems.

I was a little uncertain if Dini was going to be able to pull off a multi-issue arc of the length that his one has been.  He’s really good at the done in one, but here he proves he can tell a large story that is well worth sticking around to the end for.  With brilliant art by Nguyen, themes and characters that can’t or won’t die, Detective Comics #850 earns the highest praise we can give – 5 out of 5 Stars.

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41/41

The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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5 Comments

  1. OS Perry
    November 18, 2008 at 5:26 pm — Reply

    I’ve been collecting all the Dini Detective issues for quite a while now… for over a year at least… but not any other Bat titles. What issue is the big climax for Batman in? Is this issue it, or is it going to happen in another Bat title. I don’t want to miss out.

  2. Brother129
    November 18, 2008 at 7:01 pm — Reply

    I say again..the most CONSISTENT Batman book on the stands right now.

  3. eric
    November 19, 2008 at 12:17 am — Reply

    Paul Dini needs to stay right here in Batland and not have his claws in any other DC books. The other things he likes to get involved in turn to crap and chaos. Paul stay in the Batcave and never come out.

  4. November 19, 2008 at 4:35 pm — Reply

    This is the book that has kept me reading Batman while Grant frickin’ Morrison does everything he can to destroy not only Batman, but the entirety of DC Comics.

    This is what Batman should be. This is everything I love about the character, and everything that I love about all of his supporting cast rolled into one great big story that’s managed to tie together everything that Dini has done on Detective Comics into one beautiful package.

    And, in the months ahead, after Morrison has killed everything that I love about the Bat-universe (and, with it, most of what I love about the DC Universe entire), this is the series that I shall come back to, that I shall read and re-read, in the long and intervening months between Morrison’s idiocy and the time it takes Geoff Johns (or someone like him — most likely Dini) to come up with a plausible and interesting way to fix what Morrison has broken.

    Now, I’m off to pen a thank you note to Dini and to Dustin Nguyen for the work that they’ve done in providing me the balm to salve the wounds Morrison intends to inflict.

  5. william
    December 1, 2008 at 7:07 pm — Reply

    enjoyed the story more than the overhyped batman rip.

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