Tales from the Dark Multiverse: Batman Hush #1 – Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Writer; Dexter Soy, Sergio Davila/Matt Santorelli, Artists; Ivan Plascencia, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: Tales from the Dark Multiverse, the series of alternate reality one-shots as classic DC stories are reinvented with darker endings, returns for a new wave—and first up is the best-seller Batman arc by Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee. But this one doesn’t feel like it continues from the actual story—its point of divergence is much earlier, and the events that spin out of it bear little resemblance to the original story. That’s not a complaint, as this story feels pretty original and creates a disturbing new take on Gotham. It all starts with a world where the Elliott family witnessed the Wayne murders and took in Bruce after his parents’ death—but Bruce was going down a dark path, and his new family couldn’t help him.
In the new world, Thomas Elliott is a powerful Senator seemingly dating Talia Al Ghul and is a major power player in a Gotham that seems to be an autonomous city-state. As the issue goes on we find out that he’s far from the only villain in a position of power. Lincoln March is President, Detective Flass is head of the city’s paramilitary police, Jason Todd is a powerful tech executive—and Dr. Crane is the head of Arkham, where Elliott gets called for the news that Bruce Wayne has died after being in a catatonic state for years. We were told that Bruce went insane, but that’s far from the truth—their conversation indicates that Bruce was put into a catatonic state by the two criminals so Thomas could steal Wayne Enterprises. Not a surprising turn for them.
But like most villains, Thomas winds up being haunted by spectres of his past, as a twisted and violent Batman wrapped in bandages and calling himself Arkham’s Devin begins stalking him. The design of this character by Dexter Soy is great, but his identity is never really in doubt. This issue packs a lot of characters in, including Dick Grayson as a powerful Talon and Barbara Gordon as a rebel Oracle leading the resistance in Gotham, but it feels like a snapshot of a fascinating universe that could sustain its own miniseries. Some of these Dark Multiverse one-shots feel like they could use a lot more, and others felt like they didn’t need to exist at all. This is one of the former, and it ends on a good note with a suitably twisted ending, but I can’t help but feel like there’s a lot more to see.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.